Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorClaessens, Sten
dc.contributor.authorHirt, Christian
dc.identifier.citationClaessens, S.J. and Hirt, C. 2013. Ellipsoidal topographic potential: New solutions for spectral forward gravity modeling of topography with respect to a reference ellipsoid. Journal of Geophysical Research. 118 (11): pp. 5991-6002.

Forward gravity modeling in the spectral domain traditionally relies on spherical approximation. However, this level of approximation is insufficient for some present day high-accuracy applications. Here we present two solutions that avoid the traditional spherical approximation in spectral forward gravity modeling. The first solution (the extended integration method) applies integration over masses from a reference sphere to the topography and applies a correction for the masses between ellipsoid and sphere. The second solution (the harmonic combination method) computes topographic potential coefficients from a combination of surface spherical harmonic coefficients of topographic heights above the ellipsoid, based on a relation among spherical harmonic functions introduced by Claessens (2005). Using a degree 2160 spherical harmonic model of the topographic masses, both methods are applied to derive the Earth’s ellipsoidal topographic potential in spherical harmonics. The harmonic combination method converges fastest and—akin to the EGM2008 geopotential model—generates additional spherical harmonic coefficients in spectral band 2161 to 2190 which are found crucial for accurate evaluation of the ellipsoidal topographic potential at high degrees. Therefore, we recommend use of the harmonic combination method to model ellipticity in spectral-domain forward modeling. The method yields ellipsoidal topographic potential coefficients which are “compatible” with global Earth geopotential models constructed in ellipsoidal approximation, such as EGM2008. It shows that the spherical approximation significantly underestimates degree correlation coefficients among geopotential and topographic potential. The topographic potential model is, for example, of immediate value for the calculation of Bouguer gravity anomalies in fully ellipsoidal approximation.

dc.publisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing Inc.
dc.subjecttopographic potential
dc.subjectglobal gravity model
dc.subjectspherical harmonics
dc.titleEllipsoidal topographic potential: New solutions for spectral forward gravity modeling of topography with respect to a reference ellipsoid
dc.typeJournal Article
dcterms.source.titleJournal of Geophysical Research
curtin.accessStatusOpen access via publisher

Files in this item


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record