Improved accuracy of GRACE gravity solutions through empirical orthogonal function filtering of spherical harmonics

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Abstract

[1] One of the major problems one has to deal with when working with Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data is the increasing error spectrum at higher degrees in the provided Stokes coefficients, appearing as unphysical North-South striping patterns in the maps of equivalent water height (EWH). This phenomenon is commonly suppressed by application of a Gaussian smoothing filter, which unfortunately causes loss of signal and leakage between basins. In this paper we show how a significant amount of the striping can be removed by making use of the temporal characteristics of the error spectrum. The Stokes coefficients are decomposed using empirical orthogonal function analysis and the individual modes are tested for temporal noisiness. After filtering, maps of EWH are largely free of striping. Tests on simulated EWH estimates show that our filtering technique has a marginal effect on the predicted geophysical signal.

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