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Accuracy of the International Terrestrial Reference Frame origin and Earth expansion


These file attachments have been under embargo and were made available to the public after the embargo was lifted on 8 January 2012.

Author: Wu, X. · Collilieux, X. · Altamimi, Z. · Vermeersen, L.L.A. · Gross, R.S. · Fukumori, I.
Faculty:Aerospace Engineering
Department:Space Engineering
Type:Article/Letter to the Editor
Embargo lifted:2012-01-08
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Source:Geophysical Research Letters, 38, 2011
Identifier: doi:10.1029/2011GL047450
ISSN: 0094-8276
Keywords: geocenter motion · solid Earth expansion · terrestrial reference frames
Rights: (c) 2011 The Author(s) · American Geophysical Union


The International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF) is a fundamental datum for high‐precision orbit tracking, navigation, and global change monitoring. Accurately realizing and maintaining ITRF origin at the mean Earth system center of mass (CM) is critical to surface and spacecraft based geodetic measurements including those of sea level rise and its sources. Although ITRF combines data from satellite laser ranging (SLR), Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), Global Positioning System (GPS), and Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS), its origin is currently realized by the single technique of SLR. Consequently, it is difficult to independently evaluate the origin accuracy. Also, whether the solid Earth is expanding or shrinking has attracted persistent attention. The expansion rate, if any, has not been accurately determined before, due to insufficient data coverage on the Earth's surface and the presence of other geophysical processes. Here, we use multiple precise geodetic data sets and a simultaneous global estimation platform to determine that the ITRF2008 origin is consistent with the mean CM at the level of 0.5 mm yr−1, and the mean radius of the Earth is not changing to within 1σ measurement uncertainty of 0.2 mm yr−1.

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