Topographic gravity modeling for global Bouguer maps to degree 2160: Validation of spectral and spatial domain forward modeling techniques at the 10 microGal level
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©2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.Over the past years, spectral techniques have become a standard to model Earth's global gravity field to 10 km scales, with the EGM2008 geopotential model being a prominent example. For some geophysical applications of EGM2008, particularly Bouguer gravity computation with spectral techniques, a topographic potential model of adequate resolution is required. However, current topographic potential models have not yet been successfully validated to degree 2160, and notable discrepancies between spectral modeling and Newtonian (numerical) integration well beyond the 10 mGal level have been reported. Here we accurately compute and validate gravity implied by a degree 2160 model of Earth's topographic masses. Our experiments are based on two key strategies, both of which require advanced computational resources. First, we construct a spectrally complete model of the gravity field which is generated by the degree 2160 Earth topography model. This involves expansion of the topographic potential to the 15th integer power of the topography and modeling of short-scale gravity signals to ultrahigh degree of 21,600, translating into unprecedented fine scales of 1 km. Second, we apply Newtonian integration in the space domain with high spatial resolution to reduce discretization errors. Our numerical study demonstrates excellent agreement (8 µGgal RMS) between gravity from both forward modeling techniques and provides insight into the convergence process associated with spectral modeling of gravity signals at very short scales (few km). As key conclusion, our work successfully validates the spectral domain forward modeling technique for degree 2160 topography and increases the confidence in new high-resolution global Bouguer gravity maps.
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