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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 25 Jan 2019

Research article | 25 Jan 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD).

Sea-level fingerprints emergent from GRACE mission data

Surendra Adhikari, Erik R. Ivins, Thomas Frederikse, Felix W. Landerer, and Lambert Caron Surendra Adhikari et al.
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

Abstract. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission data set has an important, if not revolutionary, impact on how scientists quantify the water transport on the Earth's surface. The transport phenomena include land hydrology, physical oceanography, atmospheric moisture flux, and climate related changes to the cryosphere. The mass transport observed by the satellite system also includes solid Earth motions caused by, for example, great subduction zone earthquakes and glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) processes. When coupled with altimetry, this space gravimetry data provides a powerful framework for studying climate related changes on interdecadal time scales, such as ice mass loss and sea-level rise. As the changes in the latter are significant over the past two decades, there is a concomitant self-attraction and loading phenomenon generating ancillary changes in gravity, sea surface, and solid Earth deformation. These generate a finite signal in GRACE and ocean altimetry and it may often be desirable to isolate and remove them for the purpose of understanding, for example, ocean circulation changes and post-seismic viscoelastic mantle flow, or GIA, occurring beneath the sea floor. Here we provide a systematic calculation of sea-level fingerprints of continental (water) mass changes using monthly Release-06 GRACE Level-2 Stokes coefficients for the span April 2002 to August 2016 (Adhikari et al., 2019,, which result in a set of spherical harmonic coefficients for the time-varying geoid, sea surface, and vertical bedrock motion. A simple sum of the spectra yield monthly maps of the desired field and uncertainties therein. These may be applied for either study of the fields themselves or as fundamental filter components for the analysis of ocean circulation and earthquake related fields, or for improving ocean tide models.

Surendra Adhikari et al.
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Surendra Adhikari et al.
Data sets

Spherical harmonic coefficients of relative sea-level, geoid height change, and bedrock motion derived from the Release-06 GRACE Level-2 monthly Stokes coefficients S. Adhikari, E. R. Ivins, T. Frederikse, F. W. Landerer, and L. Caron

Surendra Adhikari et al.
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Short summary
Sea-level fingerprints represent the spatial patterns of ocean mass distribution caused by on-land ice and water mass changes and associated solid-Earth processes. We provide modeled monthly sea-level fingerprints for the period 2002/04–2016/08 based on GRACE Stokes coefficients provided by three premier data processing centers: CSR, GFZ and JPL. Solutions are provided in the same format as GRACE GSM Stokes coefficients, so that GRACE users can easily retrieve sea-level fingerprints as desired.
Sea-level fingerprints represent the spatial patterns of ocean mass distribution caused by...