Geoid-to-Quasigeoid Separation Computed Using the GRACE/GOCE Global Geopotential Model GOCO02S - A Case Study of Himalayas and Tibet


The geoid-to-quasigeoid correction has been traditionally computed approximately as a function of the planar Bouguer gravity anomaly and the topographic height. Recent numerical studies based on newly developed theoretical models, however, indicate that the computation of this correction using the approximate formula yields large errors especially in mountainous regions with computation points at high elevations. In this study we investigate these approximation errors at the study area which comprises Himalayas and Tibet where this correction reaches global maxima. Since the GPS-leveling and terrestrial gravity datasets in this part of the world are not (freely) available, global gravitational models (GGMs) are used to compute this correction utilizing the expressions for a spherical harmonic analysis of the gravity field. The computation of this correction can be done using the GGM coefficients taken from the Earth Gravitational Model 2008 (EGM08) complete to degree 2160 of spherical harmonics. The recent studies based on a regional accuracy assessment of GGMs have shown that the combined GRACE/GOCE solutions provide a substantial improvement of the Earth's gravity field at medium wavelengths of spherical harmonics compared to EGM08. We address this aspect in numerical analysis by comparing the gravity field quantities computed using the satellite-only combined GRACE/GOCE model GOCO02S against the EGM08 results. The numerical results reveal that errors in the geoid-to-quasigeoid correction computed using the approximate formula can reach as much as ~1.5 m. We also demonstrate that the expected improvement of the GOCO02S gravity field quantities at medium wavelengths (within the frequency band approximately between 100 and 250) compared to EGM08 is as much as ±60 mGal and ±0.2 m in terms of gravity anomalies and geoid/quasigeoid heights respectively.

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