A baseline Antarctic GIA correction for space gravimetry

Caron, L., and E. Ivins (2020), A baseline Antarctic GIA correction for space gravimetry, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 531, 115957, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115957.

Within the past decade, newly collected GPS data and geochronological constraints have resulted in refinement of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) models for Antarctica. These are critical to estimating and understanding ice mass changes at present-day. A correction needs to be made when using space gravity for ice mass balance assessments due to the fact that any vertical movements of the solid Earth masquerade as changes in ice mass, and these must be carefully removed. The main upshot of the new Antarctic GIA models is a downward revision of negative ice mass trends deduced from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), resulting from a reduced GIA correction. This revision places GRACE inferred trend in mass balance within the one sigma uncertainty of mass balance deduced by altimetry. Because uncertainties in Holocene ice history and the low viscosity rheology beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) continue to vex further improvement in predictions of present-day GIA gravity rate, more emphasis has been given to regional-scale GIA models. Here we use a Bayesian method to explore the gravimetric GIA trend over Antarctica, both with and without the impact of a late Pleistocene Antarctic ice loads, along with the contribution of oceanic loads. We call this model without loads associated with Antarctica a baseline for regional GIA models to build upon. We consider variations of the radial mantle viscosity profile and the volume of continental-scale ice sheets during the last glacial cycle. The modeled baseline GIA is mainly controlled by the lower mantle viscosity and continental levering caused by ocean loading. We find that the predicted baseline GIA correction weakly depends on the ice history. This correction averages to +28.4 [16.5–41.9, 95% confidence] Gt/yr, of which +23.6±5.3 are contributed by East Antarctica. In contrast, with late-Pleistocene Antarctic-proximal ice included, the total modeled mass trend due to GIA is +73.7 [30.1–114.7] Gt/yr. A baseline GIA correction of 28.4 Gt/yr is of order 50% of the mean net mass trend measured during the period 1992-2017. The statistical analysis provides tools for properly synthesizing any regional Antarctic GIA model with a selfconsistent far-field component. This may prove important for accounting for both global and regional 3-D variations in mantle viscosity.

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Earth Surface & Interior Program (ESI)
Cryospheric Science Program (CSP)