Impact of self-attraction and loading on the annual cycle in sea level
Article first published online: 7 JUL 2010
Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (1978–2012)
Volume 115, Issue C7, July 2010
How to Cite
2010), Impact of self-attraction and loading on the annual cycle in sea level, J. Geophys. Res., 115, C07004, doi:10.1029/2009JC005687., , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 7 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 7 JUL 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 23 FEB 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 23 NOV 2009
- Manuscript Received: 5 AUG 2009
- sea level;
- annual cycle;
- self-attraction and loading
 The annual exchange of water between the continents and oceans is observed by GPS, gravimetry, and altimetry. However, the global average amplitude of this annual cycle (observed amplitude of ∼8 mm) is not representative of the effects that would be observed at individual tide gauges or at ocean bottom pressure recorders because of self-attraction and loading effects (SAL). In this paper, we examine the spatial variation of sea level change caused by the three main components that load the Earth and contribute to the water cycle: hydrology (including snow), the atmosphere, and the dynamic ocean. The SAL effects cause annual amplitudes at tide gauges (modeled here with a global average of ∼9 mm) to vary from less than 2 mm to more than 18 mm. We find a variance reduction (global average of 3 to 4%) after removing the modeled time series from a global set of tide gauges. We conclude that SAL effects are significant in places (e.g., the south central Pacific and coastal regions in Southeast Asia and west central Africa) and should be considered when interpreting these data sets and using them to constrain ocean circulation models.