Present-day trends of vertical ground motion along the coast lines

Edited: 2012-01-10
TitlePresent-day trends of vertical ground motion along the coast lines
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsOstanciaux, É., L. Husson, G. Choblet, C. Robin, and K. Pedoja
JournalEarth-Science Reviews
Pagination74 - 92
Date Published01/2012
Keywordscoastal, gia, sea_level, tide_gauge
AbstractVertical ground motion (VGM) rates stand as crucial information, either for predicting the impact of the actual sea level rise along low-lying coasts or refining geodynamic problems. Because present day VGM rates have a magnitude smaller than 10 mm/yr, they remain challenging to quantify and often elusive. We focus on the quantification of global-scale VGM rates in order to identify global or regional trends. We computed VGM rates by combining tide gauges records and local satellite altimetry, which yield a new dataset of 634 VGM rates. We further compare this database to previous studies that use geodetic techniques and tide gauges records in order to evaluate the consistency of both our results and previous ones. The magnitudes differ by less than 5 mm/yr, and similar subsidence and uplift general tendencies appear. Even if the asset of our database stands in the greater number of sites, the combination of all studies, each with different pros and cons, yields a hybrid dataset that makes our attempt to extract VGM trends more robust than any other, independent study. Fennoscandia, the West coast of North America, and the eastern coast of Australia are uplifting, while the eastern coast of North America, the British Isles and Western Europe, the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Japan, and the western coast of Australia are subsiding. Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) is expected to provide a major contribution to the present-day signal. Aside from Fennoscandia, observed VGM often depart from the GIA model predictions of Peltier (2004). This either results from an underestimate of the model predictions or from the influence of other processes: indeed, the influence of the geodynamic setting appears in particular along the coasts of western North America or Japan, where the alternation of transform faults and subduction zones makes it possible to assign contrasted behaviours to the local geodynamic context. Local mechanisms like anthropogenic processes or sediment compaction, also contribute to VGM. This remains true for the critical cases of Venice, the Gulf of Mexico, the Ganges delta, and the Maldives, which are particularly exposed to the current sea level rise.
Short TitleEarth-Science Reviews