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A Review of Satellite-Derived Figures of the Geoid and Their Geophysical Significance

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Title:A Review of Satellite-Derived Figures of the Geoid and Their Geophysical Significance
Authors:Woollard, George P.
Khan, Mohammad A.
Date Issued:Jan 1970
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Woollard GP, Khan MA. 1970. A review of satellite-derived figures of the geoid and their geophysical significance. Pac Sci 24(1): 1-28.
Abstract:One of the major geodetic results that
has come out of the satellite tracking program,
in addition to the revision of the degree of
polar flattening for the Earth, is that the Earth
is characterized by a series of previously undefined
geoidal highs and lows. As these cannot
be correlated with the surface mass distribution
defined by the continents and ocean basins, they
presumably are related to regional variations
in gravity resulting from the mass distributions
within the Earth. That they may have other
geophysical as well as geological significance
has been proposed by various investigators (Lee
and MacDonald, 1963; Wang, 1963 ; Runcorn,
1964 ; Baussus, 1960 ; Vogel, 1960; Scheffer,
1966; Strange, 1966) . However, the geoidal
pattern defined by different investigators has
not been totally consistent in that there are
differences both in basic pattern and in magnitude
of the geoidal undulations. There has
also been an evolutionary trend in the complexity
of the geoidal pattern defined. This
change in overall pattern, as well as the differences
in pattern obtained by different investigators,
can be related to the sampling of data
used (number of satellites and their orbital
elements as well as number and distribution
of tracking stations); the type of tracking data
used (optical versus electronic doppler observations);
the parameters of the reference ellipsoid
used (particularly the degree of polar
flattening ) ; the degree of fit as represented by
the order and degree of the coefficient terms
and their derived values; and the combinations
of data used, such as satellite plus surface
gravity observations. There have also been
studies based entirely on surface gravity observations
which have been influenced in various
degrees by the assumptions made by different investigators for the surface gravity field where
there are no observational data.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 24, Number 1, 1970

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