Coastal gravity field refinement by combining airborne and ground-based data

  • Yihao WuEmail author
  • A. AbulaitijiangEmail author
  • W. E. Featherstone
  • J. C. McCubbine
  • O. B. Andersen
Original Article


Gravity field modelling in coastal region faces challenges due to the degradation of the quality of altimeter data and poor coverage of gravimetric measurements. Airborne gravimetry can provide seamless measurements both onshore and offshore with uniform accuracies, which may alleviate the coastal zone problem. We study the role of airborne data for gravity field recovery in a coastal region and the possibility to validate coastal gravity field model against recent altimetry data (CryoSat-2, Jason-1, and SARAL/Altika). Moreover, we combine airborne and ground-based gravity data for regional refinement and quantify and validate the contribution introduced by airborne data. Numerical experiments in the Gippsland Basin over the south-eastern coast of Australia show that the effects introduced by airborne gravity data appear as small-scale patterns on the centimetre scale in terms of quasi-geoid heights. Numerical results demonstrate that the combination of airborne data improves the coastal gravity field, and the recent altimetry data can be potentially used to validate the high-frequency signals introduced by airborne data. The validation against recent altimetry data demonstrates that the combination of airborne measurements improves the coastal quasi-geoid, by ~ 5 mm, compared with a model computed from terrestrial and altimetry-derived gravity anomalies alone. These results show that the recently released altimetry data with relatively denser spatial resolutions and higher accuracies than older altimeter data may be beneficial for gravity field model assessment in coastal areas.


Coastal gravity field modelling Airborne gravimetry Jason-1 CryoSat-2 SARAL/Altika data 



The authors would like to give sincerest thanks to the three anomalous reviewers for the beneficial suggestions and comments, which are of great value for improving the manuscript. The authors also thank the Editor and Associate Editor for their kind assistances and constructive comments. Thanks to Prof. Roland Klees and Dr. Cornelis Slobbe from Delft University of Technology for kindly providing their original software. We gratefully acknowledge the CarbonNet Project Airborne Gravity Survey over Gippsland contracted by Department of Primary Industries of Victoria State in Australia. This study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, China (No. BK20190498), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2018B07314), the State Scholarship Fund from Chinese Scholarship Council (No. 201306270014), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41830110, 41931074), the Open Research Fund Program of the State Key Laboratory of Geodesy and Earth’s Dynamics (No. SKLGED2018-1-2-E), and the Key Laboratory of Geospace Environment and Geodesy, Ministry of Education, Wuhan University (No. 17-01-09).

Author contributions

All the authors have contributed to designing the study and writing the manuscript. YW and AA initiated the study, designed the numerical experiments, and wrote the manuscript. WF, JM, and OA provided the data and supplied beneficial suggestions. YW finalized the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth Sciences and EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.DTU SpaceTechnical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark
  3. 3.School of Earth and Planetary SciencesCurtin University of TechnologyPerthAustralia
  4. 4.Geodesy Section, Community Safety and Earth Monitoring DivisionGeoscience AustraliaCanberraAustralia

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