Earth oblateness changes reveal land ice contribution to interannual sea level variability

Edited: 2011-02-21
TitleEarth oblateness changes reveal land ice contribution to interannual sea level variability
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMarcus, S. L., J. Dickey, J. K. Willis, and F. Seitz
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume36
Pagination23608
Date Published12/2009
Keywordsenso, ice, sea_level, terrestrial_water
AbstractA broad consensus has emerged regarding the importance of both ocean mass and heat content changes for global sea level (GSL) rise, but their respective contributions to interannual GSL variability are less certain. Here, we use changes in the Earth's dynamic oblateness (J2) to infer land ice contributions to GSL variability during a 10.5-year period encompassing the intense 1997-98 ENSO event. By accounting for heat content and water mass distribution changes in the oceans, atmosphere and land hydrology using observational and model results, we isolate unexplained residuals in J2 and GSL that are well-correlated with each other and with melt-season temperature and mass balance anomalies in Alaska, a particularly active and well-studied glaciated region. The close agreement between residual GSL and oblateness variations found in our results indicates that the latter can provide a useful proxy for changes in high-latitude land ice when corrections for other sources are applied.
URLhttp://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2009GeoRL..3623608M
DOI10.1029/2009GL041130