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Geoid Modelling

Geoid Modelling

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The body of the earth and its gravity field are subject to temporal

variations of secular, periodic, and abrupt nature, which can occur globally, regionally,

and locally. These variations also influence the orientation of the earth. Modern geodetic

measurement and evaluation techniques are used to detect these variations to a high

level of accuracy. If time-independent results are required, geodetic observations must

be corrected for temporal variations. By determining temporal variations, the science of

geodesy contributes to the investigation of the kinematic and dynamic properties of the

terrestrial body.

Gravity changes with time may be divided into effects due to: Gravity changes

with time may be divided into effects due to: (A) A time dependent Gravitational

Constant and variations of the Earth's Rotation. (B)Tidal accelerations (C) Variations

caused by terrestrial mass displacements.

A.

variations of the Earth's Rotation.

up between any two point masses, varying proportional with the product of

m

m2

the masses ( 1 and

) and inversely proportional with the distance l

between

the

masses:

Law of Universal Gravitation, and is commonly denoted by G.

G = 6.6738410-11 N m2 kg-2

The earth's rotational vector is subject to secular, periodic, and irregular

variations, leading to changes of the centrifugal acceleration z. In a

spherical approximation, the radial component of z enters into gravity. By

multiplying

with

( = geocentric latitude), we obtain:

Differentiation yields the effect of changes in latitude (polar motion) and

angular velocity (length of day) on gravity:

to a far lesser extent planetary gravitation) and orbital accelerations due to

the motion of the earth around the barycenter of the respective two-body

system (earth-moon, earth-sun etc.).

For a rigid earth, the tidal acceleration at a given point can be determined

from Newton's law of gravitation and the ephemerides (coordinates) of the

celestial bodies (moon, sun, planets). The computations are carried out

separately for the individual two-body systems (earth-moon, earth-sun etc.),

and the results are subsequently added, with the celestial bodies regarded as

point masses.

The configuration of the Earth-Moon system used for deriving the

properties of the tidal equilibrium is displayed in Figure 1. It follows from the

figure that

r+q=R

Figure 1: Illustration of the Earth-Moon system with the Earth to the left and the Moon

to the right (figure greatly out of scale). O, P and L are the centre of the Earth, an

arbitrary point on Earths surface and the centers of the Moon, respectively. r is the

Earth's radius vector (from point O to P), R is the position vector from the centre of the

Earth to Moon's centre (from O to L), and q is the position vector from an arbitrary point

P on Earth's surface to L. The line between O and L is sometimes called the center line

The center of mass of the Earth-Moon system is located along the

center line OP at a distance xR (0 < x < 1) from point O (Fig. 1). We then get that

Here

ML

and

MT

x

0.73 r

implying that the center of mass of the Earth-Moon system is located about one

quarter of Earth's radius from the surface of the Earth.

Moon, and Earth and Sun

system

The gravitational force at the Earth's center because of the presence of

F

the Moon, TL , is

where R/R is the unit vector along the center line from Earth to Moon.

According to Newton's second law, this force leads to acceleration at the

center of Earth

Earth caused by Earth's mass:

By inserting the numerical values of G (6.6738410-11 N m2 kg-2 ) and

6

MT(5.974x1024kg) and r( 6.37 x 10 m

one obtains

g=9.8 m/ s2

expected.

Tidal Acceleration

We consider the geocentric coordinate system to be moving in space with

the earth but not rotating with it (revolution without rotation). All points on the

earth experience the same orbital acceleration in the geocentric coordinate

system (see Fig. 2 for the earth-moon system). In order to obtain equilibrium,

orbital acceleration and gravitation of the celestial bodies have to cancel in the

earth's center of gravity. Tidal acceleration occurs at all other points of the earth.

The acceleration is defined as the difference between the gravitation b, which

bo

depends on the position of the point, and the constant part

, referring to the

earth's center:

bt =bb o

If we apply the law of gravitation to (

bt =bb o

Here,

M m=

lm

and

rm

= distance

to the moon as reckoned from the calculation point P and the earth's center of

bt

lm

rm

gravity respectively. We have

= 0 for

=

. Corresponding

relations hold for the earth-sun and earth-planet systems.

Tidal Potential

Tides are a measure of changes in gravity, caused by the attraction of the

moon and sun. Tidal potential is the gravitational potential that varies with the

position of the Moon and Sun relative to the Earth .

Components of the tidal potential

Deformation of the solid earth due to gravitational potential (solid

earth tide)

Movement of ocean water due to changing potential (ocean tides)

Deformation of the solid earth due to the changing load of ocean

tides (ocean tidal loading).

When tidal forcing is introduced to the (quasi)linearized version of the

shallow water equations, the obtained equations are known as Laplace's tidal

equations (LTE). Tidal flow is then described as the flow of a barotropic fluid,

forced by the tidal pull from the Moon and the Sun. The phrase shallow water

equations" reacts that the wavelength of the resulting motion is large compared

equation and the continuity equation can then be expressed as:

(a

(b

In the above equations,t is the (prescribed) tidal forcing and is the

(c

resulting surface elevation, h is the ocean depth.

The horizontal momentum equations are linear, but inclusion of a friction

term will typically turn the equations non-linear. Likewise, the divergence terms in

the continuity equation are nonlinear because of the product uh and vh. Solution

of LTE requires discretization and subsequent numerical solution.

C.

Variations caused

displacements.

by

terrestrial

mass

due to mass redistributions in the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the solid

earth. These processes take place at different time scales and are of global,

regional, and local character.

Long-term global effects include postglacial rebound, melting of the ice

caps and glaciers, as well as sea level changes induced by atmospheric

warming; slow motions of the earth's core and mantle convection also contribute.

Subsidence in sedimentary basins and tectonic uplift are examples of regional

effects. Groundwater variations are primarily of seasonal character, while

volcanic and earthquake activities are short-term processes of more local extent.

The magnitude of the resulting gravity variations depends on the amount

of mass shifts and is related to them by the law of gravitation. Research and

modeling of these variations is still in the beginning stages. Large-scale

variations have been found from satellite-derived gravity field models, but smallscale effects can be detected only by terrestrial gravity measurements. Simple

models have been developed for the relation between atmospheric and

hydrological mass shifts and gravity changes, Generally, gravity changes

produced by mass redistributions do not exceed the order of

109

8

to 10 g.

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