Combination Strategy for the Geocentric Realization of Regional Epoch Reference Frames

A. Kehm, L. Sánchez, M. Bloßfeld, M. Seitz, H. Drewes, D. Angermann, F. Seitz

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2 Scopus citations


For high-resolution regional geodetic applications, the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF) is complemented by regional densifications. These are realized either as multi-year solutions related to a tectonic plate (e.g., EUREF for Europe) or as epoch reference frames (ERFs) to capture nonlinear geophysical station motions caused by, for example, earthquakes or non-tidal loading (e.g., SIRGAS for Latin America). These Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)-only based regional reference frames have in common that their geodetic datum is aligned with the ITRF datum at a specific epoch. The consequence is that their origin represents the Earth's center of figure and does not coincide with the instantaneous center of mass. Here, we present studies on a direct geocentric realization of regional ERFs. We propose to realize the geodetic datum for each epoch by combining global GNSS, Satellite Laser Ranging, and Very Long Baseline Interferometry networks via measured local ties at co-located sites. A uniformly distributed global GNSS network is used to realize the orientation via a no-net-rotation constraint with respect to the ITRF and is densified by the stations of the regional subnetwork. The developed combination and filtering strategy aims to guarantee a stable datum realization for each epoch-wise solution. Validating our results against global reference frames and geophysical loading models relating to the Earth's centers of mass and figure, we show that the realized displacement time series are geocentric and reflect seasonal geophysical processes. As the approach does not need to rely on co-location sites in the region of interest, it is conceptually transferable to other regions on the globe.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021JB023880
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • epoch reference frames
  • geodetic datum
  • regional reference frames


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