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EGM96 (Earth Gravitational Model 1996) is a geopotential model of the Earth consisting of spherical harmonic coefficients complete to degree and order 360.


EGM96 is a composite solution, consisting of:[1]

  1. a combination solution to degree and order 70,
  2. a block diagonal solution from degree 71 to 359,
  3. and the quadrature solution at degree 360.

This model is the result of a collaboration between the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), and the Ohio State University.

The joint project took advantage of new surface gravity data from many different regions of the globe, including data newly released from the NIMA archives. Major terrestrial gravity acquisitions by NIMA since 1990 include airborne gravity surveys over Greenland and parts of the Arctic and the Antarctic, surveyed by the Naval Research Lab (NRL) and cooperative gravity collection projects, several of which were undertaken with the University of Leeds. These collection efforts have improved the data holdings over many of the world's land areas, including Africa, Canada, parts of South America and Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union. In addition, there have been major efforts to improve NIMA's existing 30′[clarification needed] mean anomaly database through contributions over various countries in Asia.

NIMA also computed and made available 30′×30′ mean altimeter derived gravity anomalies from the GEOSAT Geodetic Mission. EGM96 also included altimeter derived anomalies derived from ERS-1 by Kort & Matrikelstyrelsen (KMS), (National Survey and Cadastre, Denmark) over portions of the Arctic, and the Antarctic, as well as the altimeter derived anomalies of Schoene [1996] over the Weddell Sea.

PGM2000A is an EGM96 derivative model that incorporates normal equations for the dynamic ocean topography implied by the POCM4B ocean circulation model.

The official Earth Gravitational Model EGM2008 has been publicly released by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) EGM Development Team. This gravitational model is complete to spherical harmonic degree and order 2159, and contains additional coefficients extending to degree 2190 and order 2159.

Earth Gravitational Model 1996.png

See also


  1. ^ Lemoine, F. G., S. C. Kenyon, J. K. Factor, R.G. Trimmer, N. K. Pavlis, D. S. Chinn, C. M. Cox, S. M. Klosko, S. B. Luthcke, M. H. Torrence, Y. M. Wang, R. G. Williamson, E. C. Pavlis, R. H. Rapp and T. R. Olson (1998). The Development of the Joint NASA GSFC and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) Geopotential Model EGM96. NASA/TP-1998-206861, July 1998. Partly available online.

External links

  • EGM96: The NASA GSFC and NIMA Joint Geopotential Model
  • Earth Gravitational Model 2008 (EGM2008)
  • GeographicLib provides a utility GeoidEval (with source code) to evaluate the geoid height for the EGM84, EGM96, and EGM2008 Earth gravity models. Here is an online version of GeoidEval.
  • The Tracker Component Library from the United States Naval Research Laboratory is a free Matlab library with a number of gravitational synthesis routines. The function getEGMGeoidHeight can be used to evaluate the geoid height under the EGM96 and EGM2008 models. Additionally, the gravitational potential, acceleration, and gravity gradient (second spatial derivatives of the potential) can be evaluated using the spherHarmonicEval function, as demonstrated in DemoGravCode.
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