Modeling Earth's Global Gravity Field with 100-Meter Resolution

Saturday, 14 February 2015: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room LL20B (San Jose Convention Center)
Christian Hirt, Western Australian Center for Geodesy, Perth, Australia
With the European Space Agency’s GOCE satellite mission, much progress has been made in high-resolution mapping of Earth’s global gravity field. While GOCE has detected many new features of the gravity field and delivered gravity maps with unprecedented 70-km resolution, satellite missions generally cannot sense small-scale gravity signals, associated, for example, with mountains and valleys. However, knowledge of these small-scale gravity signatures is also required for a range of scientific and engineering disciplines that rely on greater accuracy.

A new gravity modeling initiative of Curtin University (Perth, Australia) and the Technical University of Munich (Germany) addresses this issue, with the goal of refining GOCE gravity field maps with terrestrial gravity information globally to ultra-fine, 100-meter spatial resolution where data permits. This is the first-ever effort to create local-resolution gravity field maps with global coverage. The initiative will create a composite model incorporating the latest GOCE satellite and terrestrial gravity data, high-resolution topography, and mass-density models to yield a new zero surface for topographic mapping worldwide and achieve 100-meter resolution for all land areas of our planet. This hundred-fold improvement promises benefits in areas ranging from climate change studies to surveying.