Solid Earth

Solid Earth

Goddard Space Flight Center airborne campaigns are highlighted in a recent Capital Weather Gang article in The Washington Post. The article describes the novel coronavirus's impact on scientific research and field campaigns.

Since the 1960s, scientists from NASA and NOAA, using a combination of satellite, aircraft and balloon measurements, have worked together to study the ozone layer, which acts like a sunscreen for Earth, blocking harmful ultraviolet rays emitted by the Sun.

After nearly two decades, the Sun has set for NASA’s SOlar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE), a mission that continued and advanced the agency’s 40-year record of measuring solar irradiance and studying its influence on Earth’s climate.

Science Highlights

Pervasive ice sheet mass loss reflects competing ocean and atmosphere processes

GEDI Mission Early Success

Model Planetary Boundary Layer Heights and Ground-Based, Airborne, and Satellite Lidar Data Provide New Insight on Air Quality


Modeling and Dynamics

Over the last decade NASA launched a series of satellites that offer an unparalleled view of Earth from space. That series, known collectively as NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS), has provided striking new insights into many aspects of Earth, including its clouds, oceans, vegetation, ice, and atmosphere. However, as the EOS satellites age, a new generation of Earth-observing satellites are poised to take over.

Field Campaigns

Space Missions


The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) is a joint partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States and Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR) in Germany [Tapley et al., 2004].

Research Areas

Over its 40-year history of development and operation, the space geodetic technique called very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) has provided an unprecedented record of the motions of the solid Earth.

Since launch in 2002, data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) have provided a synoptic view of mass change associated seismic cycle and other processes [Figure 1}.  As part of the GRACE and now the GRACE-FO science teams,  we have studied the long-wavelength gravity signal associated with varied earthquakes, including the great subduction zone earthquakes (e.g. Sumatra, 2004; Maule, Chile, 2010, and Tohuku, Japan, 2011), as well as strike-slip and normal faulting events that also produce discernible gravity changes (e.g. 2012 Indian Ocean earthquakes, Han et al., 2015).

Earth possesses a strong magnetic field that is originated from the Earth’s fluid outer core (the intrinsic field). This field accounts for more than 95% of the magnetic energy of the observed geomagnetic field at the Earth’s surface. Its temporal and spatial variations hold some of the key knowledge of Earth’s deep interior properties, of interactions and responses between the fluid core and the solid Earth, and of the Earth system evolution history.


Data Files

For more than four decades, satellite laser ranging (SLR) measurements have been monitoring changes in Earth’s dynamic oblateness, C20, which is the largest component of Earth’s time-variable gravity field. The launch of GRACE in 2002, and subsequent launch of GRACE-FO in 2018, has revolutionized the ability to track mass fluxes at a spatial resolution of 300-500 km. Early in the mission, however, GRACE-derived estimates of C20 were deemed unreliable, as evidenced by a non-geophysical 161-day periodic signal and trend estimates that differed significantly from those determined with SLR. Throughout the mission, SLR-derived C20 estimates have been used to replace the values obtained with GRACE.


Over its 40-year history of development and operation, the space geodetic technique called very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) has provided an unprecedented record of the motions of the solid Earth. VLBI is unique in its ability to define an inertial reference frame and to measure the Earth's orientation in this frame. 



​SWATOnline is a web application developed for hydroclimatic application to leverage data sharing capabilities employing current web technologies.  The SWATOnline web app can be duplicated, installed, and hosted anywhere.  The work presented in this web app represents an effort to lower technical barriers for the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model through using open source web development, web services, and cloud storage technologies.