Vertical Displacements of the Amazon Basin From GRACE and GPS

L. A. Knowles, R. A. Bennett, C. Harig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The extent to which Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)-recovered gravity anomalies can improve our understanding of Global Positioning System (GPS)-measured vertical displacements is currently uncertain. To address this issue, we compared vertical displacements measured by 23 GPS stations in the Amazon basin with displacements estimated from GRACE geopotential fields. We show that despite poor correlation ((Formula presented.)) between rate estimates in GPS and GRACE-derived displacement time series, further analyses reveal low bias between annual amplitude estimates and a scaling near 1. There is higher correlation ((Formula presented.)) between annual periodic motions, with near 1 to 1 agreement, but there is poor correlation ((Formula presented.)) and little agreement between semiannual amplitude estimates. Subtracting GRACE displacements from the GPS time series flattens the GPS power spectra, reducing the spectral index magnitude, on average, from (Formula presented.) (“fractional Brownian motion”) to (Formula presented.) (“fractional Gaussian noise”), suggesting that some fraction of the apparent GPS error correlation derives from mass loading signals that are not completely characterized by secular trends or seasonal periodic motions. From March 2011 to November 2016, we find a GPS and GRACE-derived displacement combined average uplift of the Amazon basin of (Formula presented.) mm/yr and combined average annual periodic motion of (Formula presented.) mm. Deviations from a standard trajectory model for site motion are apparent in both data sets and appear to coincide with various flooding and drought events between 2011 and 2016, which suggests that the GPS coordinate time series record displacements driven by large-scale climate oscillations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2019JB018105
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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