IERS Message No. 21: IERS/GGFC Special Bureau for Loading

central_bureau at central_bureau at
Tue Jan 29 09:00:40 UTC 2002

IERS Message No. 21                                        January 29, 2002

IERS/GGFC Special Bureau for Loading established

On February 1, 2002, the Special Bureau for Loading (SBL) will be
established by IERS under its Global Geophysical Fluids Center (GGFC),
joining the seven existing Special Bureaus of GGFC. SBL is to promote,
stimulate and coordinate work and progress towards a service providing
information on Earth surface deformation and gravity variations due to
surface mass loading. The SBL will provide in near real-time a
consistent global solution data set describing at least the surface
deformation, gravity signal and geocenter variations due to the various
surface loading processes (beginning with atmospheric pressure and
eventually including reliable models of non-tidal ocean loading and
continental water mass variations) in reference frames relevant for
direct comparison with geodetic observing techniques. For the special
case of ocean tidal loading, the existing classical products will also
be made available through the SBL.

The SBL is co-chaired by T. van Dam (European Center for Geodynamics
and Seismology, Luxembourg; <tvd at>) and H.-P. Plag (Norwegian
Mapping Authority; <plag at>). Its members include: G. Blewitt
(U. Nevada), J.-P. Boy (NASA Goddard), O. Francis (European Center for
Geodynamics and Seismology), P. Gegout (U. Strasbourg), H. Kierulf
(Norwegian Mapping Authority), T. Sato (Japan National Astronomical
Observatory), H.G. Scherneck (Onsala Space Observatory), and J. Wahr
(U. Colorado). To maintain a close tie with the present efforts being
undertaken at IERS, Ex-officio members of the SBL also include the
chairs of the existing Special Bureaus of GGFC: B. Chao, V. Dehant, R.
Gross, R. Ray, D. Salstein, M. Watkins and C. Wilson (see
<>). The SBL will have its first
workshop March 4-5, 2002, in Luxembourg to establish the scientific
priorities and to work out an operational schedule. We plan to begin
operational production of atmospheric derived loading effects by
January 1, 2003.

Dr. Benjamin Fong Chao
Head, Space Geodesy Branch, Code 926
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, USA

phone: 301-614-6104, fax: 301-614-6099
e-mail: chao at

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