Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 84, Issue 5, pp 305–317 | Cite as

Ocean loading effects on the prediction of Antarctic glacial isostatic uplift and gravity rates

  • Karen M. Simon
  • Thomas S. James
  • Erik R. Ivins
Original Article


The effect of regional ocean loading on predicted rates of crustal uplift and gravitational change due to glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) is determined for Antarctica. The effect is found to be significant for the ICE-3G and ICE-5G loading histories (up to −8 mm/year and −3 mm/year change in uplift rate and −3 cm/year and −1 cm/year equivalent water height change (EWHC) of surface mass, respectively). The effect is smaller (+1 mm/year; +0.25 cm/year) for the IJ05 loading history. The impact of ocean loading on the rate of change of the long-wavelength zonal harmonics of the Earth’s gravitational field is also significantly smaller for IJ05 than ICE-3G. A simple analytical formula is derived that is accurate to about 3% in a root-mean-square sense that relates predicted or observed gravitational change at the surface of the Earth (r = a) to the EWHC. A fundamental difference in the definition of the load histories accounts for the differing sensitivities to ocean loading. IJ05 defines its surface load history relative to the present-day surface load, rather than specifying an absolute loading history, and thus implicitly approximates the temporal and spatial mass exchange between grounded ice and open ocean. In contrast, ICE-3G and ICE-5G specify an absolute load history and explicit regional ocean loading substantially perturbs predicted GIA rates. Conclusions of previous studies that used IJ05 predictions without ocean loading are relatively robust.


Glacial isostatic adjustment Antarctica GRACE Gravity change Crustal movement GPS 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen M. Simon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas S. James
    • 1
    • 2
  • Erik R. Ivins
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Earth and Ocean SciencesUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Geological Survey of CanadaSidneyCanada
  3. 3.Jet Propulsion LaboratoryCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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