New geoid of Greenland – a case study of terrain and ice effects, GOCE and local sea level data

Friday, 19 December 2014
Rene Forsberg and Tim Jensen, Technical University of Denmark - Space, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
Making an accurate geoid model of Greenland has always been a challenge due to the ice sheet and glaciers, and the rough topography and deep fjords in the ice free parts. Terrestrial gravity coverage has for the same reasons been relatively sparse, with an older NRL high-level airborne survey of the interior being the only gravity field data over the interior, and terrain and ice thickness models being insufficient both in terms of resolution and accuracy. This data situation has in the later years changed substantially, first of all due to GOCE, but also due to new DTU-Space and NASA IceBridge airborne gravity, ice thickness data from IceBridge and European airborne measurements, and new terrain models from ASTER, SPOT-5 and digital photogrammetry.

In the paper we use all available data to make a new geoid of Greenland and surrounding ocean regions, using remove-restore techniques for ice and topography, spherical FFT techniques and downward continuation by least squares collocation. The impact of GOCE and the new terrestrial data yielded a much improved geoid. Due to the lack of of levelling data connecting scattered towns, the new geoid is validated by local sea level and dynamic ocean topography data, and specially collected GPS-tide gauge profile data along fjords. The comparisons show significant improvements over EGM08 and older geoid models, and also highlight the problems of global sea level models, especially in sea ice covered regions, and the definition of a new consistent vertical datum of Greenland.