Global marine gravity gradient tensor inverted from altimetry-derived deflections of the vertical: CUGB2023GRAD

Annan, Richard Fiifi; Wan, Xiaoyun; Hao, Ruijie; Wang, Fei

Geodetic applications of altimetry have largely been inversions of gravity anomaly. Previous studies of Earth's gravity gradient tensor mostly presented only the vertical gravity gradient (VGG). However, there are six unique signals that constitute the gravity gradient tensor. Gravity gradients are signals suitable for detecting short-wavelength topographic and tectonic features. They are derived from double differentiation of the disturbing potential and hence are susceptible to noise amplification which was exacerbated by low across-track resolution of altimetry data in the past. However, current generation of altimetry observations have improved spatial resolutions, with some better than 5 km. Therefore, this study takes advantage of current high-resolution altimetry datasets to present CUGB2023GRAD, a global (latitudinal limits of inline-formula±80°) 1 arcmin model of Earth's gravity gradient tensor over the oceans using deflections of the vertical as inputs in the wavenumber domain. The results are first assessed via Laplace's equation, whereby the resultant residual gradient is virtually zero everywhere. Further analysis at local regions in the Arctic and south Indian oceans showed that inline-formulaTxy, inline-formulaTxz and inline-formulaTyz are the most dominant gravity gradients for bathymetric studies. This proves that bathymetric signatures in the non-diagonal tensor components are worth exploiting. Bathymetric coherence analysis of inline-formulaTzz over the Tonga Trench showed strong correlation with multibeam shipboard depths. This study proves that current generation of altimetry geodetic missions can effectively resolve Earth's gravity gradient tensor. The CUGB2023GRAD model data can be freely accessed at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10511125https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10511125 (Annan et al., 2024).

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Annan, Richard Fiifi / Wan, Xiaoyun / Hao, Ruijie / et al: Global marine gravity gradient tensor inverted from altimetry-derived deflections of the vertical: CUGB2023GRAD. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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