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Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 82, Issue 10, pp 613–635 | Cite as

Far-zone effects for different topographic-compensation models based on a spherical harmonic expansion of the topography

  • A. A. MakhloofEmail author
  • K. H. Ilk
Original Article

Abstract

The determination of the gravimetric geoid is based on the magnitude of gravity observed at the surface of the Earth or at airborne altitude. To apply the Stokes’s or Hotine’s formulae at the geoid, the potential outside the geoid must be harmonic and the observed gravity must be reduced to the geoid. For this reason, the topographic (and atmospheric) masses outside the geoid must be “condensed” or “shifted” inside the geoid so that the disturbing gravity potential T fulfills Laplace’s equation everywhere outside the geoid. The gravitational effects of the topographic-compensation masses can also be used to subtract these high-frequent gravity signals from the airborne observations and to simplify the downward continuation procedures. The effects of the topographic-compensation masses can be calculated by numerical integration based on a digital terrain model or by representing the topographic masses by a spherical harmonic expansion. To reduce the computation time in the former case, the integration over the Earth can be divided into two parts: a spherical cap around the computation point, called the near zone, and the rest of the world, called the far zone. The latter one can be also represented by a global spherical harmonic expansion. This can be performed by a Molodenskii-type spectral approach. This article extends the original approach derived in Novák et al. (J Geod 75(9–10):491–504, 2001), which is restricted to determine the far-zone effects for Helmert’s second method of condensation for ground gravimetry. Here formulae for the far-zone effects of the global topography on gravity and geoidal heights for Helmert’s first method of condensation as well as for the Airy-Heiskanen model are presented and some improvements given. Furthermore, this approach is generalized for determining the far-zone effects at aeroplane altitudes. Numerical results for a part of the Canadian Rocky Mountains are presented to illustrate the size and distributions of these effects.

Keywords

Gravimetric geoid Topographical/terrain effect Compensation reduction Far-zone contribution 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Theoretical GeodesyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

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