Seasonal clockwise gyration and tilt of the Australian continent chasing the center of mass of the Earth's system from GPS and GRACE
Author: Shin-Chan Han
First published: 30 October 2016
Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth
Volume 121, Issue 10, October 2016, Pages 7666–7680
As atmosphere, ocean, ice, and terrestrial water are redistributed, the center of mass (CM) of the Earth's system moves and the accompanying loading yields global surface deformation. In Australia, when GPS surface displacements were corrected for local mass change (hydrology, atmosphere, and ocean) with Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) data, the residual GPS data reveal a peculiar seasonal mode of continental deformation. During the southern summer, the entire continent coherently shifts northwest by ~1 mm and the southeastern part is uplifted, while the northwestern part is subsided by 2–3 mm and the opposite patterns of deformation are observed during the southern winter. Such characteristic deformation could be understood to be a result of the Earth's elastic response to globally averaged surface mass load, generally heavier in Europe during southern summer and in the South Pacific Ocean during southern winter. It was found that such deformation is even larger than local hydrology-induced loading effects in horizontal motion over Australia. A simple method of determining locations of the CM was developed by combining GPS and GRACE data; the latter being insensitive to the CM motion but sufficiently accurate to remove the local hydrologic and atmospheric effects in GPS data. The CM signals are pronounced over systematic errors in GPS and GRACE data. The CM coordinates estimated by inversion of the Australian GPS data set and GRACE agree with the geocenter motions determined by satellite tracking analysis. This study suggests an independent way of monitoring the CM motion entirely based on two distinct geodetic measurements of GPS and GRACE.
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