The Accuracy Assessment of the PREM and AK135-F Radial Density Models

Robert Tenzer, Yuting Ji, Wenjin Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The Earth’s synthetic density and gravitational models can be used to validate numerical methods for global (or large-scale) gravimetric forward and inverse modelling formulated either in the spatial or spectral domains. The Preliminary Reference Earth Model (PREM) density parameters can be adopted as a 1-D reference density model and further refined using more detailed 2-D or 3-D crust and mantle density models. Alternatively, the AK135-F density parameters can be used for this purpose. In this study, we investigate options for a refinement of the Earth’s synthetic density model by assessing the accuracy of available 1-D density models, specifically the PREM and AK135-F radial density parameters. First, we use density parameters from both models to estimate the Earth’s total mass and compare these estimates with published results. We then estimate the Earth’s gravity field parameters, particularly the geoidal geopotential number W0 and the mean gravitational attraction and compare them with published values. According to our results, the Earth’s total mass from the two models (the PREM and the AK135-F) differ less than 0.02% and 0.01%, respectively, when compared with the value adopted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The geoidal geopotential values of the two models differ from the value adopted by the IAU by less than 0.1% and 0.04%, respectively. The values of the mean gravitational attraction of the two models differ less than 0.02% and 0.08%, respectively, when compared with the value obtained from the geocentric gravitational constant and the Earth’s mean radius. These numerical findings ascertain that the PREM and AK135-F density parameters are suitable for defining a 1-D reference density model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4180
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • AK135-F density
  • earth synthetic model
  • geoidal geopotential value
  • gravity
  • PREM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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