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for a regional gravity recovery

MOHAMMAD A. SHARIFI1, MOHSEN ROMESHKANI1 AND ROBERT TENZER2,3*

Tehran, Iran

2 The Key Laboratory of Geospace Environment and Geodesy, Wuhan University, Wuhan,

China (rtenzer@sgg.whu.edu.cn)

3 New Technologies for the Information Society (NTIS), University of West Bohemia,

306 14 Plzeň, Czech Republic (tenzer@kma.zcu.cz)

* Corresponding author

Received: April 28, 2016; Revised: July 11, 2016; Accepted: August 30, 2016

ABSTRACT

A regional recovery of the Earth’s gravity field from satellite observables has become

particularly important in various geoscience studies in order to better localize stochastic

properties of observed data, while allowing the inversion of a large amount of data,

collected with a high spatial resolution only over the area of interest. One way of doing

this is to use observables, which have a more localized support. As acquired in recent

studies related to a regional inversion of the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean

Circulation Explorer (GOCE) data, the satellite gravity-gradient observables have a more

localized support than the gravity observations. Following this principle, we compare

here the performance of the second- and third-order derivatives of the gravitational

potential in context of a regional gravity modeling, namely estimating the gravity

anomalies. A functional relation between these two types of observables and the gravity

anomalies is formulated by means of the extended Stokes’ integral formula (or more

explicitly its second- and third-order derivatives) while the inverse solution is carried out

by applying a least-squares technique and the ill-posed inverse problem is stabilized by

applying Tikhonov’s regularization. Our results reveal that the third-order radial

derivatives of the gravitational potential are the most suitable among investigated input

data types for a regional gravity recovery, because these observables preserve more

information on a higher-frequency part of the gravitational spectrum compared to the

vertical gravitational gradients. We also demonstrate that the higher-order horizontal

derivatives of the gravitational potential do not necessary improve the results. We explain

this by the fact that most of the gravity signal is comprised in its radial component, while

the horizontal components are considerably less sensitive to spatial variations of the

gravity field.

gravitational curvature

© 2017 Inst. Geophys. CAS, Prague

M.A. Sharifi et al.

1. INTRODUCTION

Since the gravity-gradient observations have more pronounced regional support than

the gravity observations, many of recent studies have focused on a regional gravity

recovery from processing the satellite gravity-gradiometry (SGG) data, provided by the

Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) (European Space

Agency, 1999; Albertella et al., 2002), while reducing significantly a spatial coverage of

data used for the inversion, otherwise required in global applications. For this purpose,

various discrete and stochastic approaches have been developed and applied based on

utilizing a discretized parameterization of the gravity field, such as the integral

transformation or the radial basis function approach, instead of using a spherical harmonic

representation of the global gravitational field. Furthermore, regional inversions allow

a detailed and accurate modeling of the gravity field based on representing more

realistically stochastic properties of data within a particular study area. Meanwhile, the

distant-zone contribution could be treated by using, for instance, the a priori global

gravitational model (GGM) in order to suppress truncation errors (i.e., the distant-zone

contribution).

Among functional models, the second-order partial derivatives of the extended Stokes’

integral formula are often used to define a functional relation between the gravity

anomalies and the GOCE gravity gradients. For the gravity-gradient inversion, these

integral equations are discretized and parameterized. A regional recovery of (unknown

and sought) gravity anomalies from the (observed) GOCE gravity gradients is then done

by solving the system of observation equations. Alternatively, a stochastic model is

applied to invert a large number of the GOCE observations onto a relatively low number

of values which are used to parameterize the regional gravity field to the extent limited by

a real spatial resolution of the GOCE observations, which is about 6080 km at the

equator (in terms of a half-wavelength). A regional gravity-gradient inversion is generally

an ill-posed problem, meaning that the noise in GOCE data could propagate as a signal

into estimated parameters. To stabilize the solution, regularization schemes are applied.

Among numerous studies addressing methods for the SGG data inversion we could

mention works of Krarup (1969), Reed (1973), Zielinski (1975), Rummel (1976), Krarup

and Tscherning (1984), Tscherning (1988,1989,1990), Rummel et al. (1989), Arabelos

and Tscherning (1993, 1995, 1999), Visser (1992), Xu (1992, 1998, 2009), Eshagh (2008),

Janák et al. (2009), Yildiz (2012), Shen et al. (2012), Tscherning and Herceg (2015) and

Pitoňák et al. (2016).

A least-squares collocation technique requires the a priori information about unknown

parameters in forming the respective covariance function, while such information is not

required when using the integral approach, which is typically solved by applying a least-

squares technique. Invalidity of this function leads to incorrect results (cf. Moritz, 1980).

On the contrary, the main problem of applying the integral approach is a spatial truncation

error that affects the results (Eshagh, 2011). Xu (1992, 1998, 2009), Kotsakis (2007),

Janák et al. (2014) and Eshagh (2009) used an indirect solution of the second-order

derivative of the extended Stokes’ formula to recover gravity anomalies. Eshagh (2010b)

applied a stochastic modification of the integral formula for this purpose. He

demonstrated that the best solution is attained by applying a biased least-squares

modification. Eshagh (2011) developed the integral approach and presented combinations

On inversion of the second- and third-order gravitational tensors …

of the SGG components for recovering the geoid surface (i.e., the potential field).

Romeshkani (2011) and Eshagh and Romeshkani (2011) used the extended Stokes’

integral formula for a validation of the horizontal-horizontal and vertical-horizontal

components of SGG data based on solving a least-squares modification. Later, Eshagh

and Romeshkani (2013) investigated the errors in gravity anomalies estimated from SGG

data based on applying the integral approach and the variance component estimation

(VCE) technique. Romeshkani and Eshagh (2015) used deterministic modifications of the

integral approach to validate SGG data. The radial basis functions were used for a

regional gravity modeling from SGG data, for instance, by Eicker et al. (2005, 2014a,b)

and Naeimi et al. (2015). It is worth mentioning that the second-order derivatives of the

potential could also be facilitated in magnetic field applications (e.g., Kotsiaros and

Olsen, 2012, 2014).

Until recently, the observables have been restricted mainly to the first- and second-

order derivatives of the gravity potential, measuring only the gravity and gravity

gradients. Some authors, however, focused on improving the accuracy and resolution of

regional gravity modeling, while localizing inverse solutions. One way to achieve this is

to observe higher than the second-order derivatives of the gravitational potential (e.g.,

Balakin et al., 1997). There are also ongoing proposals for developing similar sensors for

future geodetic space missions. The OPTical Interferometry for global Mass change

detection from space (OPTIMA) is a newly proposed satellite mission (Brieden et al.,

2010) for mapping the Earth’s external gravity field with a higher resolution based on

using sensors for observing components of the third-order gravitational tensor. The

gravity field curvature measurements by the atom interferometer have been conducted by

Rosi et al. (2015).

Jacoby and Smilde (2009) demonstrated that the third-order derivatives of the

gravitational field are more sensitive at a higher-frequency gravitational spectrum. Du et

al. (2015) developed non-singular relations for some components of the third-order

derivatives of the magnetic field. One advantage of using the third- and higher-order

gravitational tensors is their independence on the orientation of platform sensors. The

third-order derivatives of the gravitational field have also some theoretical implications.

Rummel et al. (1993) and Albertella et al. (2002), for instance, used these quantities to

analyze the second-order derivatives of the Earth’s gravitational field. Ardalan and

Grafarend (2001) used the third-order derivatives of the normal gravity field in relation

with Bruns' theorem. More recently, theoretical development of numerical schemes

related with applying the third-order derivatives of the gravitational potential has been

addressed by several authors. Casotto and Fantino (2009) derived and summarized

expressions for the first-, second- and third-order gravitational tensors defined in different

reference frames and facilitated these expressions in methods for the gravity field

synthesis. Hamáčková et al. (2016) presented non-singular relations for all components of

the Earth’s gravitational field based on applying a numerical strategy developed before by

Eshagh (2008). Šprlák and Novák (2015) presented the expressions needed for finding the

correlation between the mass-density distribution and the third-order derivatives of the

Earth’s gravitational field. Petrovskaya and Vershkov (2010) derived the generalized

expressions for an arbitrary order of the gravitational tensors in terms of spherical

harmonics. Nagy et al. (2000) presented directional derivatives of the gravitational

potential up the third-order terms. Keller and Sharifi (2005) investigated principles of the

M.A. Sharifi et al.

SGG data collected using a pair of satellites and developed the effect of higher-order

gravitational tensors in terms of a Taylor series. Fukushima (2012, 2013) derived

respective expressions for a spherical harmonic synthesis. The studies of the third-order

gravitational tensors were addressed also by Šprlák et al. (2016), Šprlák and Novák (2016)

and Ghobadi-Far et al. (2016).

Following this concept, we compare here the performance of integral approaches

formulated for the second- and third-order derivatives of the Earth’s gravitational

potential. After giving a brief recapitulation of theoretical models and a least-squares

estimation principle, the behavior of integral kernels is studied in context of a regional

gravity recovery. A theoretical part is followed by numerical experiments, where we use

the second-order derivatives (SOD) of the gravitational potential obtained from processing

the GOCE data to recover regionally the gravity anomalies. We then repeat the same

computation for the third-order derivatives (TOD) of the gravitational potential and

compare the accuracy of both methods.

2. THEORY

conveniently defined by means of the extended Stokes’ integral formula. Here we

summarize the most fundamental definitions.

2.1. Functional relation

The SOD and TOD components of the gravitational potential can be used to recover

the gravity anomalies at sea level (or another reference surface). In fact, the system of

discretized integral equations is solved so that the SOD and TOD data observed at satellite

attitudes are converted to unknown values, which parameterize the gravitational field at

a chosen reference surface. Since the radial components comprise most of the

gravitational signal, we investigated the following SOD components: Tzz, Txz and Tyz, and

from the TOD components we selected: Tzzz, Txzz, Tyzz, Txxz, Tyyz and Txyz.

For the inversion of the SOD components, the following estimator is applied (Sjöberg,

2003; Eshagh, 2009, 2010a)

R

Tzz K0 r , g d ,

4

(1)

Txz R cos

4 K1 r , sin g d ,

Tyz (2)

2n 1

K p r, np Pn cos , p = 0, 1 , (3)

n2 2

n 1

2 R 0

0n , 1n n 2 n , (4)

n 1 r r2

where and are the polar coordinates, i.e., the spherical distance and azimuth

respectively, between the computation and integration points, is the surface integration

On inversion of the second- and third-order gravitational tensors …

domain, g is the gravity anomaly at the integration point (and the reference surface),

d is the surface integration element, R is the Earth’s mean radius, r is the geocentric

radius of the computation point, and Pn is the Legendre polynomial of degree n.

The TOD of gravitational potential comprise, in total, 27 components, but only 10 of

them are sufficient for a representation of the third-order gravitational tensor, because

they are symmetric with respect to each other (cf. Casotto and Fantino, 2009). Moreover,

three combinations satisfy the Laplace equation in the mass-free space domain, namely

x

Txx Tyy Tzz 0 , y

Txx Tyy Tzz 0 , z

Txx Tyy Tzz 0 . (5)

The components of the third-order gravitational tensor can then be divided into four

groups, specifying four HHH components, three HHV components, two HVV

components and one VVV component of the gravitational curvature (cf. Šprlák and

Novák, 2015); where H and V denote horizontal and vertical components respectively.

By analogy with the SOD components, we used only the TOD components that

contain at least one radial-derivative element. Then, Tzzz, Txzz, Tyzz, Txxz, Tyyz and Txyz

were utilized for the inversion. Šprlák and Novák (2015) derived the integral formulas for

these components in terms of the extended Stokes' integral formula as follows

Tzzz

Txzz

Tyzz 1

K * r , , g d .

4 R 2

(6)

Txxz

T

zzy

T

xzy

The integral kernels K * defined in Eq. (6) read

R n 4 2 n 1 n 1 n 2 n 3

Pn , 0 cos for Tzzz ,

n 0 r 1 n

R n 4 2 n 1 n 2 n 3

Pn ,1 cos cos for Txzz ,

n 0 r n 1

R n 4 2 n 1 n 2 n 3

K* r, , Pn ,1 cos sin for Tyzz , (7)

n 0 r n 1

n4

R 2 n 1 n 1 n 2 n 3

Pn , 0 cos

n 0 r 2 n 1

for Txxz ,

n4

cos 2 R 2 n 1 n 3

Pn , 2 cos

2 n 0 r n 1

M.A. Sharifi et al.

R n 4 2 n 1 n 1 n 2 n 3

Pn , 0 cos

n 0 r 2 n 1

for Tyyz ,

cos 2 R n 4 2 n 1 n 3

K* r, , Pn , 2 cos (7)

2 n 0 r n 1

n4

R 2 n 1 n 3

Pn , 2 cos .sin 2 for Txyz ,

n 0 r 2 n 1

where Pn , i cos is the associated Legendre function of degree n and order i. The

closed-form formulae of the kernels in Eq. (7) can be found in Šprlák and Novák (2015).

2.2. Estimation principle

The integral equations are discretized according to the spatial resolution of SGG data

(i.e., discretization based on the input data resolution) and a desirable spatial resolution of

the result (i.e., discretization based on a chosen resolution of estimated parameters). By

this discretized forms, the integral equations can be written in the following vector-matrix

notation for the Gauss-Markov’s estimation model

l ε Ax , (8)

x x u 1 g R , , ,

u 1

E T 02 W 1 , l l n 1 Tij for SOD, Tijk for TOD

n 1

, i , j , k : x , y , z ,

K p r, p for SOD ;

4 sin p 0 , Tzz ;

E 0 , A A n u ,

1

K * r , , for TOD

2 R 2

observations, is the vector of the observation errors, x is the vector of estimated

parameters (i.e., the gravity anomalies), 02 is the a priori variance factor (set equal to 1),

W is the weight matrix of observations, E is the statistical expectation, u is the

number of estimated parameters, and n is the number of observations.

The discretization of the expression in Eq. (6) with respect to quantities which

parameterize the solution (i.e., the gravity anomalies) yields the (discretized) Fredholm’s

integral equation of the first kind. This linear relation is used to determine the regional

gravity filed from satellite data. If the number of unknown parameters is the same as the

number of input data, the inverse solution is found directly by solving the system of

observation equations in Eq. (8). Since the number of estimated parameters is typically

less than the number of input data, the result is found by solving the system of normal

On inversion of the second- and third-order gravitational tensors …

Eshagh (2011) demonstrated that the system of normal equations is ill-conditioned and its

solution is very sensitive to existing errors in observed data. To stabilize the ill-posed

problem, we applied Tikhonov’s (1977) regularization. For the most simplistic case, the

regularization matrix is set to be the identity matrix. The regularization is then reduced to

only find the regularization parameter. This parameter should be estimated optimally, so

the regional inversion provides a realistic solution. The overestimation yields too smooth

solution, while the underestimation of the regularization parameter magnifies a higher-

frequency contribution, which is mainly attributed to data noise rather than real signal in

input data. A determination of the regularization parameter also depends on the purpose of

study.

3. NUMERICAL STUDIES

To establish the data-area extension we begin with investigating the spatial behavior of

integral kernels used for a regional inversion. In numerical studies we address a regional

recovery of the gravity anomalies by using simulated satellite data at mean satellite

altitude (250 km).

3.1. Integral kernels behavior

Since the most significant portion of the distant-zone contribution depends on

a behavior of the isotropic component of integral kernels, we investigated only the spatial

kernel behavior with respect to the spherical distance. It is worth mentioning that Wolf

(2007) considered also the azimuthal behavior of SOD kernels, while Šprlák and Novák

(2015) extended such study also for TOD kernels. The behavior of isotropic part of the

SOD and TOD kernels is illustrated in Fig. 1. Singularities of the SOD kernels for the

spherical distance approaching zero were already investigated by Eshagh (2009) and

Eshagh and Ghorbannia (2014).

As seen in Fig. 1, the isotropic component of integral kernels TVH, THHV and THVV

equals zero for = 0, further increases (in absolute sense) with the spherical distance, and

finally approaching zero value after reaching a certain spherical distance. Eshagh (2011)

Fig. 1. Isotropic kernel behavior of: a) the second-order derivatives and b) third-order derivatives.

M.A. Sharifi et al.

called this type of kernel behavior, a bell-shape kernel, and demonstrated that data

distributed around the computation point (where kernel reaches maxima) have more

significant contribution than data in the nearest vicinity of the computation point.

A quickly attenuating behavior of integral kernels is the most suitable for a regional

inversion. We can see that all investigated types of kernels have such behavior,

approximating zero value after reaching a certain spherical distance. The most suitable

kernels for a regional inversion obviously approach zero more quickly. As seen in Fig. 1,

the radial-component kernels TVV and TVVV are much more localized than the mixed

horizontal-vertical kernels TVH, THHV and THVV. Moreover, the radial-component kernels

are larger in magnitude than the mixed horizontal-vertical kernels. From this analysis, we

could conclude that the vertical components of SOD and TOD data are the most suitable

for a regional gravity inversion due to two reasons. Firstly, these kernels capture most of

the gravitational signal. Secondly, these kernels are more localized, meaning that most of

the gravitational contribution comes from the closest vicinity around the computation

point. As consequence, the data area required for a regional inversion could significantly

be reduced.

3.2. Data acquisition

The numerical experiment for a regional recovery of the gravity anomalies was

selected at the study area in Fennoscandia (limited between latitudes 53 and 73 of the

northern latitudes the 0 and 35 of the eastern longitudes). The EIGEN-51C (Bruinsma et

al., 2010) coefficients complete to a spherical harmonic degree 359 and the GRS80

(Moritz, 2000) normal gravity field parameters were used to generate the noise-free SOD

and TOD data in the local north-oriented reference frame (LNOF) at the mean satellite

attitude of 250 km. These computations were realized on four different spherical grids,

using 0.2, 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5 data-sampling intervals. The non-singular forms presented

by Eshagh (2009) were used to simulate the SOD data, while the TOD data were

simulated according to Du et al. (2015). The gravity anomalies generated from the

EIGEN-51C coefficients (up to degree 359) were used to validate the results obtained

from a regional inversion of the SOD and TOD data. To minimize the truncation errors

(i.e., the distant-zone contribution), we used the data area extension of 10 with respect to

the computation area. As seen from the behavior of integral kernels in Fig. 1, this data-

area extension is sufficient, because beyond this spherical distance, all integral kernels are

very close to zero. Eshagh and Ghorbannia (2014) demonstrated that in this case the

spatial truncation errors in terms of the gravity disturbances are less than 2.5 mGal. The

regional maps of the simulated SOD and TOD data and the gravity anomalies are shown

in Fig. 2 and their statistical summary is given in Table 1.

3.3. Results

We used the SOD and TOD data shown in Fig. 2 to estimate the gravity anomalies.

The regional inversion was carried out by applying the conjugate-gradient method. We

used the (zero-order) Tikhonov regularization and estimated the regularization parameter

by applying the quasi-optimal technique (Hansen, 2007). The systematic bias due to

applying the regularization was solved for by using the method of Xu et al. (2006). The

predicted gravity anomalies were compared with the EIGEN-51C gravity anomalies. The

On inversion of the second- and third-order gravitational tensors …

statistical summary of differences between the predicted and “true” gravity anomalies is

given in Table 2.

Fig. 2. Regional maps of the second- and third-order derivative data and the gravity anomalies at

the study area in Fennoscandia, generated from the EIGEN-51C coefficients (up to degree 359).

M.A. Sharifi et al.

Table 1. Statistics of the second- and third-order derivative data and the gravity anomalies at the

study area in Fennoscandia.

Tzzz [1014 m1s2] 0.32 0.01 0.26 0.09

Txz [109 s2] 0.25 0.03 0.23 0.09

Txzz [1014 m1s2] 0.14 0.01 0.14 0.05

Txxz [1014 m1s2] 0.12 0.0 0.13 0.04

Tyz [109 s2] 0.47 0.14 0.12 0.14

Tyzz [1014 m1s2] 0.19 0.01 0.17 0.07

Tyyz [1014 m1s2] 0.22 0.0 0.18 0.06

Txyz [1014 m1s2] 0.05 0.0 0.09 0.03

∆g [mGal] 158.9 1.1 129.4 25.1

Table 2 Statistics of differences (values in mGal) between the predicted and true gravity anomalies

(for four different data-sampling intervals). RMS: root mean square error.

Component

0.5 0.4

Tzz 29 1.4 22 7.8 32 1.3 22 8.1

Tzzz 13 7.9 29 6.5 20 3.2 27 6.8

Txz 61 4.6 60 21.8 62 5.0 60 21.8

Txzz 17 9.3 43 11.5 17 8.8 41 11.5

Txxz 48 0.8 72 19.6 48 0.4 72 19.8

Tyz 23 8.6 41 9.5 21 8.6 41 9.5

Tyzz 17 6.2 31 8.4 19 6 35 8.3

Tyyz 65 1.2 82 24.2 66 1 82 24.4

Txyz 67 0.5 79 22.6 66 0.8 77 22.9

0.3 0.2

Tzz 30 1.5 21 7.8 30 1.5 21 7.8

Tzzz 12 7.8 29.6 6.5 13 7.8 29 6.5

Txz 62 4.7 62 21.0 62 4.7 62 21.9

Txzz 18 9 43 11.5 18 9 43 11.5

Txxz 49 0.7 74 19.8 50 0.6 74 19.8

Tyz 25 8.6 41 9.5 26 8.6 41 9.6

Tyzz 18 6.2 32 8.4 19 6.2 32 8.5

Tyyz 66 1.2 84 24.3 66 1.2 84 24.4

Txyz 68 0.6 80 22.7 67 0.6 80 22.8

On inversion of the second- and third-order gravitational tensors …

Eshagh (2010b, 2011) demonstrated that the component Tzz provides the best regional

gravity solution among the SOD components. Our results in Table 2 confirmed this

finding. Moreover, we can see that the best result in terms of the root mean square error

(RMS) of differences between the predicted and true values of the gravity anomalies was

attained from using the component Tzzz. In this case, the RMS of differences is 6.5 mGal.

This component is thus the most suitable for a regional recovery among the SOD and

TOD satellite data. The component Tzzz preserves more information, especially at

a higher-frequency part of the investigated gravitational spectrum than the component Tzz.

As seen in Table 2, the result obtained from inverting the component Tzz approximated the

gravity anomalies with the RMS of differences 7.8 mGal (for 0.5 grid). This RMS fit is

about 17% worse than that obtained from the component Tzzz. This numerical finding

revealed that the regional inversion of higher-order radial derivatives of the gravitational

potential provide a better result in terms of the RMS fit.

To confirm this finding we further compared the results from a regional inversion of

the mixed horizontal-vertical components of the SOD and TOD data. We took into

consideration pairs of the components Txz and Tyz and their respective higher-order radial

derivatives Txzz and Tyzz. As seen in Table 2, the component Txzz yields the result of which

the RMS fit is about 10.3 mGal better than that obtained for Txz (for a 0.5 grid). Similarly,

the RMS fit from a regional inversion of Tyzz is about 1.1 mGal better than that obtained

from Tyz. However, adding higher-order horizontal derivatives does not necessary

improve results. This is evident by comparing the results obtained from a regional

inversion of the SOD components Txz and Tyz and their respective higher-order

components Txxz and Tyyz. As seen in Table 2, the RMS fit of the TOD components is in

overall better when using the SOD components. This finding emphasizes the fact that the

radial components in SOD and TOD data are the most essential for an accurate regional

recovery of the gravitational field, especially at higher frequencies.

The comparison of results obtained from the regional inversion of SOD and TOD data

also indicates that the solution obtained from the component Tzzz is systematically more

biased than that from Tzz. The higher-order radial derivatives of the gravitational potential

thus provide better result in terms of the RMS fit, but typically magnify the systematic bias

due to the fact that for the higher-order radial derivatives, the gravitational signal is much

more localized, while the long-to-medium wavelength gravity features are not captured

closely enough. On the contrary, the lower-order radial derivatives of the gravitational

potential preserve more signal at the long-to-medium wavelengths, thus reduce the

systematic bias, while worsening the accuracy of a gravity field recovery at higher

frequencies. The conclusions related with a systematic bias hold only for radial

components, i.e., Txz, Tyz and Tzz relative to Txzz, Tyzz and Tzzz. In contrast, such

conclusions do not hold for horizontal components. As seen in Fig. 2, the TOD

components Txxz and Tyyz are less biased than the SOD components Txz and Tyz.

Interestingly, better results were generally obtained when using more detailed grid (cf.,

Table 2). However, it is important to mention that the improvement of the RMS fit by

using more detailed parameterization of the solution is limited by the actual resolution of

M.A. Sharifi et al.

input data. In our case, the spatial resolution of the recovered gravity field should be more

or less the same as the resolution of GOCE data (i.e., about 60 to 80 km).

4. CONCLUSIONS

We have utilized the second- and third-order derivatives of the extended Stokes’

integral formula to define the functional relations between the second-order derivatives

(SOD) and third-order derivatives (TOD) of the gravitational potential with the gravity

anomalies. We then applied these functional relations in the regional gravity recovery and

compared their performance by means of resulting accuracy and bias. The distant-zone

contribution was reduced by extending the data area by 10 with respect to the study area.

Such simple procedure was used instead of removing the long-wavelength part of the

gravitational field in order to see how the whole investigated gravitational spectrum

affects the results.

The regional recovery was performed using the simulated and real SOD data and the

near-real TOD data. Both results revealed the same general aspects. The most important

finding of this study is the fact that the Tzzz data provide the best result in terms of the

standard deviation fit. The higher-order radial derivatives thus generally provide better

solution in terms of the root mean square error (RMS) fit. On the contrary, the result does

not improve by adding the one-order higher horizontal component to either vertical or

horizontal components of the gravitational-gradient tensor. This was explained by the fact

that most of the gravitational signal is comprised in its radial component.

A regional inversion of the TOD component Tzzz, however, introduced much larger

systematic bias than that obtained when inverting the SOD component Tzz. The reason is

that the SOD component captures more signal at the long-to-medium wavelengths of the

gravitational field, while the TOD component reproduces more realistically the higher

frequencies of gravitational spectrum.

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