Studia Geophysica et Geodaetica

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 441–462 | Cite as

GOCE Data Processing: The Spherical Cap Regularization Approach

  • B. Metzler
  • R. Pail


Due to the sun-synchronous orbit of the satellite gravity gradiometry mission GOCE, the measurements will not be globally available. As a consequence, using a set of base functions with global support such as spherical harmonics, the matrix of normal equations tends to be ill-conditioned, leading to weakly determined low-order spherical harmonic coefficients. The corresponding geopotential strongly oscillates at the poles.

Considering the special configuration of the GOCE mission, in order to stabilize the normal equations matrix, the Spherical Cap Regularization Approach (SCRA) has been developed. In this approach the geopotential function at the poles is predescribed by an analytical continuous function, which is defined solely in the spatially restricted polar regions. This function could either be based on an existing gravity field model or, alternatively, a low-degree gravity field solution which is adjusted from GOCE observations. Consequently the inversion process is stabilized.

The feasibility of the SCRA is evaluated based on a numerical closed-loop simulation, using a realistic GOCE mission scenario. Compared with standard methods such as Kaula and Tikhonov regularization, the SCRA shows a considerably improved performance.


regularization spherical harmonics gravity gradiometry GOCE 


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Copyright information

© StudiaGeo s.r.o. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Metzler
    • 1
  • R. Pail
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Navigation and Satellite GeodesyGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria

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