High-Resolution Gravity Modeling

The Focus Group High-Resolution Gravity Modeling, founded in 2013, is concerned with accurate modelling of the Earth’s gravity field to ultra-high resolution. The research goal of the Focus Group is the creation of a gravity field model to highest resolution of about 100 to 200 m over land areas of our planet. Accurate information on the gravity field of our planet is important for several geoscience and engineering applications. For instance, gravity is a fundamental quantity for precision heighting and topographic mapping with satellite systems. In geophysics, gravity is crucial for making inferences on the location and size of mass-density anomalies, e.g., salt domes or iron-ore bodies. In metrology, gravity is required for the calibration of precision scales.

Dr. Christian Hirt is a Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University’s Western Australian Centre for Geodesy and the Department of Spatial Sciences. He is active in the Focus Group as a Hans Fischer Fellow of TUM-IAS. Christian has expertise in gravity field observation and modelling techniques.

Prof. Dr. Roland Pail, Ordinarius of the Institute of Physical and Astronomical Geodesy at Technische Universität München (IAPG), is hosting the Focus Group. Roland is broadly involved in the gravity data processing of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) GOCE satellite gravity field mission.

The project team is completed by the group’s doctoral candidate Moritz Rexer, who holds a Master of Science in Geodesy. Moritz has done scientific research in the context of the GOCE satellite mission over the past 2 years.

The Focus Group members, together with other colleagues, have developed and released the GGMplus model (global gravity model plus), a high-resolution near-global model of Earth’s gravity over land areas.

Topics that will be further investigated by the team include, but are not limited to:

  • Optimum combination of satellite, and terrestrial gravimetry with topography
  • Modelling of the field over ice-covered regions (Antarctica, Greenland)
  • Spectral modelling techniques to ultra-high degree
  • Validation of the mathematical procedures and generated gravity models
  • Use of supercomputing techniques such as parallel processing and high-memory platforms

TUM-IAS funded doctoral candidate:
Moritz Rexer (PhD in 2017)