Regional geoid modeling in the area of subglacial Lake Vostok, Antarctica

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


We present a geoid model for the area of Lake Vostok, Antarctica, from a combination of local airborne gravity, ice-surface and ice-thickness data and a lake bathymetry model. The topography data are used for residual terrain modeling (RTM) in a remove–restore approach together with GOCE satellite data. The quasigeoid is predicted by least-squares collocation (LSC) and subsequently converted to geoid heights. Special aspects of that method in presence of an ice sheet are discussed.

It is well known that a body freely floating in water is in a state of hydrostatic equilibrium (HE). This usually applies, e.g., to ice shelves or sea ice. However, it has been shown that this is valid also for the ice sheet covering the subglacial Lake Vostok. Thus, we demonstrate the use of such a refined regional geoid model for glaciological and geophysical applications by means of the HE surface of that lake. The mean quadratic residual geoid signal (0.56 m) w.r.t. the GOCE background model exceeds the residual variations of the estimated apparent lake level (ALL) (0.26 m) within the central part of the lake. An approach considering the actual geopotential at the ALL has been derived and subsequently applied. In this context, downward continuation of the potential field within the ice sheet as well as the latitudinal tilt of off-geoid equipotential surfaces are discussed. In view of the accuracy of the ice-thickness measurements that dominate the total error budget of the estimated ALL these effects are negligible. Thus, the HE surface of subglacial lakes may safely be described by a constant height bias in small-scale regional applications. However, field continuation is significant with respect to the formal uncertainty of the quasigeoid, which is at the level of 5 cm given that accurate airborne gravity data (±2 mGal) are available.


Seiten (von - bis)9-21
FachzeitschriftJournal of geodynamics / European Geophysical Society, Solid Earth Geophysics and Geodesy Sections
Frühes Online-Datum19 Dez. 2013
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1 Apr. 2014

Externe IDs

Scopus 84892989942
ORCID /0000-0002-0892-8941/work/142248912


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