Atmospheric Effects in Space Geodesy

Part of the series Springer Atmospheric Sciences pp 181-231


Atmospheric Effects on Earth Rotation

  • Michael SchindeleggerAffiliated withDepartment of Geodesy and Geoinformation, Vienna University of Technology Email author 
  • , Sigrid BöhmAffiliated withDepartment of Geodesy and Geoinformation, Vienna University of Technology
  • , Johannes BöhmAffiliated withDepartment of Geodesy and Geoinformation, Vienna University of Technology
  • , Harald SchuhAffiliated withDepartment 1 Geodesy and Remote Sensing, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


One of the pivotal sources for fluctuations in all three components of the Earth’s rotation vector is the set of dynamical processes in the atmosphere, perceptible as motion and mass redistribution effects on a multitude of temporal and spatial scales. This review outlines the underlying theoretical framework for studying the impact of such geophysical excitation mechanisms on nutation, polar motion, and changes in length of day. It primarily addresses the so-called angular momentum approach with regard to its physical meaning and the application of data from numerical weather models. Emphasis is placed on the different transfer functions that are required for the frequency-dependent intercomparison of Earth rotation values from space geodetic techniques and the excitations from the output of atmospheric circulation models. The geophysical discussion of the review assesses the deficiencies of present excitation formalisms and acknowledges the oceans as other important driving agents for observed Earth rotation variations. A comparison of the angular momentum approach for the atmosphere to an alternative but equivalent modeling method involving Earth-atmosphere interaction torques is provided as well.