Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 91, Issue 7, pp 849–856 | Cite as

Observation of the Earth’s nutation by the VLBI: how accurate is the geophysical signal

  • César Gattano
  • Sébastien B. LambertEmail author
  • Christian Bizouard
Original Article


We compare nutation time series determined by several International VLBI Service for geodesy and astrometry (IVS) analysis centers. These series were made available through the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS). We adjust the amplitudes of the main nutations, including the free motion associated with the free core nutation (FCN). Then, we discuss the results in terms of physics of the Earth’s interior. We find consistent FCN signals in all of the time series, and we provide corrections to IAU 2000A series for a number of nutation terms with realistic errors. It appears that the analysis configuration or the software packages used by each analysis center introduce an error comparable to the amplitude of the prominent corrections. We show that the inconsistencies between series have significant consequences on our understanding of the Earth’s deep interior, especially for the free inner core resonance: they induce an uncertainty on the FCN period of about 0.5 day, and on the free inner core nutation (FICN) period of more than 1000 days, comparable to the estimated period itself. Though the FCN parameters are not so much affected, a 100 % error shows up for the FICN parameters and prevents from geophysical conclusions.


VLBI Earth rotation Nutation Free core nutation (FCN) Free inner core nutation (FICN) 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SYRTE, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, LNEParisFrance

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