Simulations of weak gravitational lensing - II. Including finite support effects in cosmic shear covariance matrices

Joachim Harnois-Déraps, Ludovic van Waerbeke

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Numerical N-body simulations play a central role in the assessment of weak gravitational lensing statistics, residual systematics and error analysis. In this paper, we investigate and quantify the impact of finite simulation volume on weak lensing two- and four-point statistics. These finite support (FS) effects are modelled for several estimators, simulation box sizes and source redshifts, and validated against a new large suite of 500 N-body simulations. The comparison reveals that our theoretical model is accurate to better than 5 per cent for the shear correlation function ξ+(θ) and its error. We find that the most important quantities for FS modelling are the ratio between the measured angle θ and the angular size of the simulation box at the source redshift, θbox(zs), or the multipole equivalent ℓ/ℓbox(zs). When this ratio reaches 0.1, independently of the source redshift, the shear correlation function ξ+ is suppressed by 5, 10, 20 and 25 per cent for Lbox = 1000, 500, 250 and 147 h-1 Mpc, respectively. The same effect is observed in ξ-(θ), but at much larger angles. This has important consequences for cosmological analyses using N-body simulations and should not be overlooked. We propose simple semi-analytic correction strategies that account for shape noise and survey masks, generalizable to any weak lensing estimator. From the same simulation suite, we revisit the existing non-Gaussian covariance matrix calibration of the shear correlation function, and propose a new one based on the 9-year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe)+baryon acoustic oscillations+supernova cosmology. Our calibration matrix is accurate at 20 per cent down to the arcminute scale, for source redshifts in the range 0 <z <3, even for the far off-diagonal elements. We propose, for the first time, a parametrization for the full ξ- covariance matrix, also 20 per cent accurate for most elements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2857-2873
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • methods: numerical
  • dark matter
  • large-scale structure of Universe


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