Uncertainty Estimation in Regional Models of Long-Term GIA Uplift and Sea Level Change: An Overview

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


This work provides a comparison of four approaches that can be used to describe uncertainty in models of the long-term glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) process. The four methods range from pessimistic to optimistic representations of GIA uncertainty. Each estimation method is applied to selected one dimensional GIA model predictions and compared with vertical land motion data from Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements across Fennoscandia and North America. The methods are evaluated relative to two main properties: (1) their expected ability to separate non-GIA from GIA signals and (2) their estimated statistical appropriateness given a specific GIA model and data set. For the first point, non-GIA signals are considered isolated from the long-term (millennial time scale) GIA signal at sites where measurement and model uncertainties do not overlap. Across methods, the frequency and accuracy with which non-GIA signals are separated from GIA signals in GPS data display both consistent similarities and disparities. For the second point, we compare model predictions with rates of vertical land motion and relative sea level change that have been cleaned of non-GIA signals to determine the most appropriate value of model uncertainty and relate the findings to the four approaches. Best fit inferences suggest that within deglaciation centers, GIA model uncertainty is up to ~2 mm/yr (vertical land motion). Likewise, away from the former ice sheet centers, GIA uncertainty for relative sea level change is inferred to be ~0.3–0.5 mm/yr along the U.S. East Coast and ~0.6–0.8 mm/yr in the North Sea.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019JB018983
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • glacial isostatic adjustment
  • GPS
  • model uncertainty
  • North America
  • relative sea level
  • Scandinavia

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Uncertainty Estimation in Regional Models of Long-Term GIA Uplift and Sea Level Change: An Overview'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this