Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 89, Issue 12, pp 1245–1261 | Cite as

GOCE gradiometry data processing using the Rosborough approach

  • Khosro Ghobadi-Far
  • Mohammad Ali Sharifi
  • Nico Sneeuw
Original Article


The Rosborough approach was developed in the 1980s for the modeling of orbit perturbations of altimeter satellites. It is a formalism that is rooted in the so-called time-wise approach, in which gravitational functionals are described as an along-orbit time series. Nevertheless, through a transformation of the orbital variables, the along-orbit functional can be mapped back onto the sphere. As such, the Rosborough formulation is a so-called space-wise approach at the same time. Both the conventional time-wise and the space-wise approaches have been improved and optimized over the past decade. When we explore the utility of the Rosborough approach in this contribution, we do not expect improved solutions for this particular GOCE-based case study. However, we aim to show the special characteristics of the Rosborough approach for processing the GOCE gradiometry data. In particular, we show that this approach can successfully deal with the problems that come with real data like bandwidth limitation and mispointing. Based on the first 71 days of the GOCE gravity gradients, we obtain solutions up till spherical harmonic degree 200. Compared to a high-quality gradiometric-only time-wise model, our solution shows a similar performance with just 8 cm geoid RMS difference in the relevant bandwidth. Moreover, relative contributions from the individual components are provided for the geographically mean gravity gradient components \(T_{xx}\), \(T_{yy}\) and \(T_{zz}\), and for the geographically variable gravity gradient components \(T_{xx}\) and \(T_{yy}\). It is shown that the spatially variable components provide a direct access to understanding the mapping of time-variable error effects on the sphere. For instance, the known geomagnetic equator effect comes out clearly in the variable components of gravity gradients, as do track-specific errors. In conclusion, it is demonstrated that the Rosborough approach is a complementary method to the conventional approaches for GOCE data processing.


Rosborough representation Gravity field recovery GOCE Ascending and descending tracks Spatially mean and variable parts 



Jan Martin Brockmann is gratefully acknowledged for providing the gradiometric-only time-wise model based on the GOCE reprocessed EGG_NOM_2 data. Some of the figures of the paper were produced using the Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) (Wessel and Smith 1998). The authors would like to thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments which led to a clearer presentation of our work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khosro Ghobadi-Far
    • 1
  • Mohammad Ali Sharifi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nico Sneeuw
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Surveying and Geomatics EngineeringUniversity College of Engineering, University of TehranTehranIran
  2. 2.Research Institute of Geoinformation Technology (RIGT)University College of Engineering, University of TehranTehranIran
  3. 3.Institute of GeodesyUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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