Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 88, Issue 9, pp 821–838 | Cite as

Regional geoid of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica, from heterogeneous ground-based gravity data

  • Joachim SchwabeEmail author
  • Mirko Scheinert
Original Article


We present a geoid solution for the Weddell Sea and adjacent continental Antarctic regions. There, a refined geoid is of interest, especially for oceanographic and glaciological applications. For example, to investigate the Weddell Gyre as a part of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and, thus, of the global ocean circulation, the mean dynamic topography (MDT) is needed. These days, the marine gravity field can be inferred with high and homogeneous resolution from altimetric height profiles of the mean sea surface. However, in areas permanently covered by sea ice as well as in coastal regions, satellite altimetry features deficiencies. Focussing on the Weddell Sea, these aspects are investigated in detail. In these areas, ground-based data that have not been used for geoid computation so far provide additional information in comparison with the existing high-resolution global gravity field models such as EGM2008. The geoid computation is based on the remove–compute–restore approach making use of least-squares collocation. The residual geoid with respect to a release 4 GOCE model adds up to two meters and more in the near-coastal and continental areas of the Weddell Sea region, also in comparison with EGM2008. Consequently, the thus refined geoid serves to compute new estimates of the regional MDT and geostrophic currents.


Regional geoid Heterogeneous gravity data Least-squares collocation Marine gravity Radar altimetry  Mean dynamic topography Geostrophic velocities 



We would like to thank all colleagues who supported the work within the IAG Commission 2.4f ”Gravity and Geoid in Antarctica” (AntGG), especially G. Leichenkov (VNIOOkeangeologia, St. Petersburg, Russia), W. Jokat (AWI Bremerhaven, Germany) and F. Ferraccioli (BAS, Cambridge, UK). Ch. Tscherning and R. Forsberg (Denmark) are greatly acknowledged for providing the GRAVSOFT package.

Figures were generated using the Generic Mapping Tools (Wessel and Smith 1998). Attribution for coastline data: SCAR Antarctic Digital Database

The MDT CNES-CLS09 was produced by CLS Space Oceanography Division and distributed by Aviso, with support from CNES ( Attribution for SIO/NOAA gravity anomalies and all derived material herein: “Data: SIO, NOAA, NGA” The work is partly supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the priority program SPP 1257 “Mass transport and mass distribution in the system Earth,” project SCHE 1426/6, as part of the joint project GEOTOP. All colleagues from Munich and Bremerhaven are thanked for the fruitful cooperation within this project. Finally, the authors greatly acknowledge the valuable comments of Editor-in-Chief R. Klees, handling editor P. Ditmar and three anonymous reviewers who helped to improve the paper considerably.

Supplementary material

190_2014_724_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 3330 KB)


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Planetare GeodäsieTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany

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