Interannual Oscillations in Earth Rotation

Chen, J., C. R. Wilson, W. Kuang, and B. F. Chao (2019), Interannual Oscillations in Earth Rotation, J. Geophys. Res., 124, 13,404-13,414, doi:10.1029/2019JB018541.

At seasonal and shorter time scales, polar motion and length‐of‐day (LOD) change are dominated by mass redistribution in the Earth climate system, including the atmosphere, oceans, and hydrosphere. Long‐term polar motion and LOD change are believed to be forced by solid Earth geophysical process, such as glacial isostatic adjustment. Decadal LOD variations are also connected to core‐mantle coupling. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of interannual oscillations in all three components of Earth rotation using accurately measured polar motion and LOD time series, and geophysical excitations computed from atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrological models over the period 1962 to 2018. Strong interannual oscillations remain in all three components after detrending and band‐pass filtering to retain variations at periods between 2 and 8 years. Polar motion Y is dominated by a 3.65‐year oscillation, plus others at periods of 2.5 and 5.9 years. Polar motion X shows a strong oscillation near 5.9 years, plus smaller variations at shorter periods. A 5.9‐year LOD variation has been recognized in earlier studies, but oscillations at periods of 2.36, 3.65, and 4.9 years are also observed. Atmosphere, ocean, and hydrosphere (AOH) sources largely account for 2.5‐ and 3.65‐year components in polar motion Y, but not for the 5.9‐year component in polar motion X and Y. The 2.36‐, 3.65‐, and 4.9‐year components in LOD can largely be accounted for by AOH sources. The 5.9‐year LOD component becomes more prominent after AOH sources have been subtracted. The presence of a 5.9‐year variation in all three components of Earth rotation suggests a source in Earth's interior, probably from the core.

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Earth Surface & Interior Program (ESI)