Crustal vertical deformation response to different spatial scales of GRACE and GCMs surface loading

Haoming Yan, Wu Chen, Linguo Yuan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Crustal vertical deformation (CVD) observed by continuous GPS height time-series can be explained largely by surface loading effects recovered from both Gravity Recover and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and General Circulation Models (GCMs) data.We first show that lower degree CVD spatial spectrum due to the Earth's elastic response to a uniform surface loading plays more important roles than that of high-degree case. We then demonstrate that GRACE data with 300-400 km spatial resolution have the ability to detect 99 per cent power of global and regional CVD in spatial spectrum domain using a global frequency-wavenumber spectrum method. We can just use either GRACE or GCMs 36 degree/order (d/o) spherical harmonic coefficients (SHCs) which correspond to 500 km spatial resolution to acquire more than 90 per cent variance of total CVD modeled by up to 180 d/o SHCs at 98 per cent global gridpoints. Globally, CVD modeled by GRACE loading can explain 72 per cent annual amplitude and 69 per cent variance of GPS observed height time-series, which is better than the GCMs results of 64 per cent for annual amplitude and 41 per cent for variance. Using a three cornered hat method, we also show that the noise level of monthly averaged CVD is about 3 mm for both GPS height time-series and GRACE loading result, while that of GCMs result is only 1.3 mm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-516
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Global change from geodesy
  • Time variable gravity
  • Transient deformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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