Determining seasonal displacements of Earth's crust in South America using observations from space-borne geodetic sensors and surface-loading models

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Ferreira, Vagner G
Montecino, Henry D
Ndehedehe, Christopher E
del Rio, Rodrigo A
Cuevas, Aharon
de Freitas, Silvio RC
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There are small pieces of evidence, suggesting that South America’s hydrological cycle is changing, which impacts its water availability and, consequently, the Earth’s surface due to its elastic response to the surface mass loading/unloading. Therefore, we analyzed 3 to 15 years of vertical crustal displacements (VCDs) due to mass loadings using 292 Global Positioning System (GPS) stations in South America, which are essential for studies related to tectonic phenomena, for example. Thus, we investigated whether the intra-annual variabilities of the displacements could be reduced using modeled VCDs and inverted displacements from Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) harmonic solutions (Release 06). The modeled VCDs come from the combination of nontidal atmospheric and ocean loadings with the hydrological loadings from the land-surface model (GLDAS) and reanalysis (MERRA). We found that the highest amplitudes of VCDs of the annual signals are concentrated mainly over the Amazon Rainforest and Brazilian Highlands. However, the results also show different behavior throughout other physiographic provinces of South America, which shows low water capabilities as “sensed” by GRACE and described by the GLDAS and MERRA models. Accordingly, when we disregard the stations over the Andes Mountains and Patagonia in the analysis, the highest reduction in the variability of GPS-observed VCDs is achieved while using GRACE (79% of the sites), MERRA (75% of the sites), and GLDAS (74% of the sites). For these stations, the amplitudes (and phases) of the annual signals depicted by the geodetic sensors generally agree, while those from GLDAS and MERRA explain only approximately 50% of the deformation. However, in the southwest region of South America (between the latitude bands of − 40° to − 30°), GPS annual signals, which reached up to 11 mm, are much larger than those from GRACE and the models due to the existence of lakes that are not resolved in global analysis. These inconsistencies between GPS-observed VCDs and those derived from GRACE and the other models require further investigation, specifically for Chile.[Figure not available: see fulltext.].

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Earth, Planets and Space

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© The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creat iveco mmons .org/licen ses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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Mathematical sciences

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Ferreira, VG; Montecino, HD; Ndehedehe, CE; del Rio, RA; Cuevas, A; de Freitas, SRC, Determining seasonal displacements of Earth's crust in South America using observations from space-borne geodetic sensors and surface-loading models, Earth, Planets and Space, 2019, 71 (1), pp. 84:1-84:16