Reassessment of electromagnetic core-mantle coupling and its implications to...

Kuang, W., B. F. Chao, and J. Chen (2019), Reassessment of electromagnetic core-mantle coupling and its implications to the Earth's decadal polar motion, Geodesy and Geodynamics, 10, 356-362, doi:10.1016/j.geog.2019.06.003.

The observed Earth's polar motion on decadal time scales has long been conjectured to be excited by the exchange of equatorial angular momentum between the solid mantle and the fluid outer core, via the mechanism of electromagnetic (EM) core-mantle coupling. However, past estimations of the EM coupling torque from surface geomagnetic observations is too weak to account for the observed decadal polar motion. Our recent estimations from numerical geodynamo simulations have shown the opposite. In this paper, we re-examine in detail the EM coupling mechanism and the properties of the magnetic field in the electrically conducting lower mantle (characterized by a thin D00 -layer at the base of the mantle). Our simulations find that the toroidal field in the D00 -layer from the induction and convection of the toroidal field in the outer core could be potentially much stronger than that from the advection of the poloidal field in the outer core. The former, however, cannot be inferred from geomagnetic observations at the Earth's surface, and is missing in previous EM torque estimated from geomagnetic observations. Our deduction suggests further that this field could make the actual EM coupling torque sufficiently strong, at approximately 5  1019 Nm, to excite, and hence explain, the decadal polar motion to magnitude of approximately 10 mas.

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Earth Surface & Interior Program (ESI)