Detection of sea level fingerprints derived from GRACE gravity data

Last modified: 
December 16, 2019 - 12:06pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2017
Date published: 09/2017
Authors: Chia-Wei Hsu, Isabella Velicogna
Journal title: Geophysical Research Letters

Mass changes of ice sheets, glaciers and ice caps, land water hydrology, atmosphere, and ocean cause a nonuniform sea level rise due to the self-attraction and loading effects called sea level fingerprints (SLF). SLF have been previously derived from a combination of modeled and observed mass fluxes from the continents into the ocean. Here we derive improved SLF from time series of time variable gravity data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission for April 2002 to October 2014. We evaluate the GRACE-derived SLF using ocean bottom pressure (OBP) data from stations in the tropics, where OBP errors are the lowest. We detect the annual phase of the SLF in the OBP signal and separate it unambiguously from the barystatic sea level (BSL) at two stations. At the basin scale, the SLF explain a larger fraction of the variance in steric-corrected altimetry than the BSL, which has implications for evaluating mass transport between ocean basins.

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