Comparison and evaluation of high-resolution gravity recovery via sea surface heights or sea surface slopes

Shengjun Zhang (Northeastern University, China)


Adili Abulaitijiang (DTU Space, Denmark); Ole B. Andersen (DTU Space, Denmark); James R. Beale (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, USA)

Event: 2020 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting (virtual)

Session: The Geoid, Mean Sea Surfaces and Mean Dynamic Topography

Presentation type: Type Forum

There are two dominating approaches of modeling the marine gravity field based on satellite altimetry observations. In this study, the marine gravity field is determined in four selected areas (Northwestern Atlantic, Hawaii ocean area, Mariana Trench area, and Aegean Sea) by using exact same input datasets but different methods which are based on sea surface height (SSH) and sea surface slope (SSS) respectively. The impact of the methodology is evaluated by conducting validations with shipborne gravity observation. The CryoSat-2, Jason-1/2 and SARAL/Altika geodetic mission data (similarly 3-year-long time series) is firstly retracked by the two-pass retracker. After that, the obtained sea surface heights are used for the derivation of geoid undulations and vertical deflections, and then for the resulting marine gravity field separately. The validation results indicate that the SSH-based method has advantages in robustly estimating marine gravity anomalies near the coastal zone. The SSS-based method has advantages over regions with intermedium ocean depths (2000–4000 m) where seamounts and ridges are found, but obvious disadvantages when the ocean currents flow along the north-south direction (e.g., western boundary currents) or the topography features north-south directional trenches. In the deep ocean where the seafloor topography is plain and smooth, the two methods have similar accuracy.
Shengjun Zhang
Northeastern University