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Recent advances are shedding new light on the causes of variations in the Earth's gravitational field. In particular, the atmosphere is now known to be a major player generating those variations. Governed by Newton's gravitational law, temporal variations of the Earth's gravitational field are caused by a variety of complex phenomena including luni-solar tides, atmospheric and oceanic mass redistribution, variations in groundwater storage and snow cover/ice thickness, earthquakes, post-glacial rebound in the Earth's mantle, long-term mantle convection and core activities, and other geophysical phenomena. Understanding these variations can aid in the analysis and monitoring of global climatic and geophysical change, Earth's rotation, and sea level change.