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Development of an airborne geiod mapping system for coastal oceanography


Oceanography, solid Earth physics, and geodesy have gained an enormous wealth of information through satellite altimetry. To be able to separate dynamic sea surface topography from the geoid, gravity observations are required for "synthetic" geoid computations.
Due to developments in the satellite Global Positioning System (GPS), it is now possible to carry out airborne gravity measurements, with the potential of making geoid determination in a particular area much more efficiently. By additional airborne altimetry measurements, a potential simultaneous measurement capability of both geoid and dynamic topography is in principle available. This type of measurement system will especially be useful in coast-near ocean regions, where satellite altimetry may be less reliable, and the gravity field variations relative large. In an airborne system flight patterns and flight parameters of the aircraft can be easily selected and changed, thus allowing the collection of high quality observations in terms of the wanted spatial resolution and accuracy.
The main objectives of this proposal are:
- The development of a combined altimetry/gravimetry system for airborne oceanographic surveys in small planes, continuing on experiences gained through earlier airborne projects, with several software and hardware improvements, including utilization on modern accelerometer triads.
- The detemination and evaluation of geoid heights and dynamic topography from airborne gravity results in combination with altimetry and other available information, using improved methods and software.
- Performing test flights in the Skagerrak/North Sea and Acores area utilizing the improved airborne system, evaluating the performance of the system by comparisons to existing and new ground truth data (new marine gravity data to be collected by RV Hakon Mosby), and evaluating the role of flight pattern geometry ancl altitude.
- Analysis of all data to improve the knowledge of both the geoid and the sea surface topography on a regional scale, especially near the sea/land transition zones, with comparisons to ERS- 1 and TOPEX satellite altimetry, and conventional oceanographic SST estimates.
With the successful development, field demonstration and evaluation of an airborne geoid mapping system, the european oceanographic community will have in its hand an efficient tool for improving the overall largescale environmental monitoring of regional seas, and major gravity data voids can be filled relatively inexpensively satisfying general geodetic needs. This proposal covers the MAST-III project areas A.3.3. and C.2.2., with empasis being on the systems development.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Stiftung Geoforschungszentrum Potsdam
Telegrafenberg A17
14407 Potsdam

Participants (4)

Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung

27515 Bremerhaven
8,Rentemestervej 8
2400 Koepenhagen
41,Allegatan 41
5007 Bergen
Universidade do Porto
Alameda Monte Da Virgem
4430 Vila Nova De Gaia