Time variations in the Earth's gravity field



At the present time, the causes and consequences of changes in the Earth's gravity field due to geophysical and meteorological phenomena are not well understood. The Earth's gravity field represents the complicated distribution of all of the matter that makes up our planet. Its variations are caused by the motions of the solid Earth interacting with the gravitational attraction of the Sun and the Moon (tides) and with the Earth's atmosphere, oceans, polar ice caps and groundwater due to changing weather patterns. These variations influence the rotation of the Earth, alter the orbits of Earth satellites, cause sea level fluctuations, and indirectly affect the global climate pattern.