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New Gravity Data Helps Monitor Antarctic Changes

29.01.2016 09:52 Age: 2 yrs

Over the last decade, international researchers have deployed aircraft equipped with gravity meters to collect a huge amount of new gravity data over Antarctica. The latest gravity anomaly dataset is based on 13 million data points and covers an area of 10 million sq. km, corresponding to 73% of the Antarctic continent

Click to enlarge. The new dataset will help to monitor climate driven changes in Antarctica. Courtesy: Oregon State University



Gravity surveying is challenging in Antarctica because of its hostile environment and inaccessibility. Nevertheless, many ground-based, airborne, and shipborne gravity campaigns have been completed by the geophysical and geodetic communities since the 1980s. We present the first modern Antarctic-wide gravity data compilation derived from 13 million data points covering an area of 10 million km2, which corresponds to 73% coverage of the continent. The remove-compute-restore technique was applied for gridding, which facilitated leveling of the different gravity data sets with respect to an Earth gravity model derived from satellite data alone. The resulting free-air and Bouguer gravity anomaly grids of 10 km resolution are publicly available. These grids will enable new high-resolution combined Earth gravity models to be derived and represent a major step forward toward solving the geodetic polar data gap problem. They provide a new tool to investigate continental-scale lithospheric structure and geological evolution of Antarctica.


New Antarctic Gravity Anomaly Grid for Enhanced Geodetic and Geophysical Studies in Antarctica by M. Scheinert, F. Ferraccioli, J. Schwabe, R. Bell, M. Studinger, D. Damaske, W. Jokat, N. Aleshkova, T. Jordan, G. Leitchenkov, D. D. Blankenship, T. M. Damiani, D. Young, J. R. Cochran and T. D. Richter, published in Geophysical Research Letters doi: 10.1002/2015GL067439

Read the abstract and get the paper here