Diurnal atmospheric forcing and temporal variations of the nutation amplitudes
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A 29-year time-series of four-times-daily atmospheric effective angular momentum (EAM) estimates is used to study the atmospheric influence on nutation. The most important atmospheric contributions are found for the prograde annual (77 μas), retrograde annual (53 as), prograde semiannual (45 as), and for the constant offset of the pole (δψsinɛ0=−86 as, δɛ=77 as). Among them only the prograde semiannual component is driven mostly by the wind term of the EAM function, while in all other cases the pressure term is dominant. These are nonnegligible quantities which should be taken into account in the new theory of nutation. Comparison with the VLBI corrections to the IAU 1980 nutation model taking into account the ocean tide contribution yields good agreement for the prograde annual and semiannual nutations. We also investigated time variability of the atmospheric contribution to the nutation amplitudes by performing the sliding-window least-squares analysis of both the atmospheric excitation and VLBI nutation data. Almost all detected variations of atmospheric origin can be attributed to the pressure term, the biggest being the in-phase annual prograde component (about 30 as) and the retrograde one (as much as 100200 as). These variations, if physical, limit the precision of classical modeling of nutation to the level of 0.1 mas. Comparison with the VLBI data shows significant correlation for the retrograde annual nutation after 1989, while for the prograde annual term there is a high correlation in shape but the size of the atmospherically driven variations is about three times less than deduced from the VLBI data. This discrepancy in size can be attributed either to inaccuracy of the theoretical transfer function or the frequency-dependent ocean response to the pressure variations. Our comparison also yields a considerably better agreement with the VLBI nutation data when using the EAM function without the IB correction for ocean response, which indicates that this correction is not adequate for nearly diurnal variations.
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