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Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 76, Issue 8, pp 462–474 | Cite as

Assessment of three numerical solution strategies for gravity field recovery from GOCE satellite gravity gradiometry implemented on a parallel platform

  • R. Pail
  • G. Plank

Abstract.

 The recovery of a full set of gravity field parameters from satellite gravity gradiometry (SGG) is a huge numerical and computational task. In practice, parallel computing has to be applied to estimate the more than 90 000 harmonic coefficients parameterizing the Earth's gravity field up to a maximum spherical harmonic degree of 300. Three independent solution strategies (preconditioned conjugate gradient method, semi-analytic approach, and distributed non-approximative adjustment), which are based on different concepts, are assessed and compared both theoretically and on the basis of a realistic-as-possible numerical simulation regarding the accuracy of the results, as well as the computational effort. Special concern is given to the correct treatment of the coloured noise characteristics of the gradiometer. The numerical simulations show that the three methods deliver nearly identical results—even in the case of large data gaps in the observation time series. The newly proposed distributed non-approximative adjustment approach, which is the only one of the three methods that solves the inverse problem in a strict sense, also turns out to be a feasible method for practical applications.

Keywords: Spherical harmonics – Satellite gravity gradiometry – Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer – Parallel computing – Beowulf cluster 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Pail
    • 1
  • G. Plank
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Theoretical Geodesy, Institute of Geodesy, Graz University of Technology, Steyrergasse 30, A-8010 Graz, Austria e-mail: pail@geomatics.tu-graz.ac.at, plank@geomatics.tu-graz.ac.at; Tel.: +43-316-873-6359; Fax: +43-316-873-6845AT

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