Solid Earth and Sea Level Response to Dam Loading





We computed the Earth's elastic response to the movement of water from the oceans to continental reservoirs of water impounded by dams. Shown above are the (a) radial displacement, (b) deflection of absolute sea level, and (c) deflection of relative sea level, which is simply absolute sea level measured relative to the solid earth surface. Dots in (a) and (b) are dam load locations and dots in (c) are tide gauge locations. These results have been detailed in an upcoming paper:

Fiedler, J.W., and C.P. Conrad, Spatial variability of sea level rise due to water impoundment behind dams, Geophysical Research Letters, L12603, doi:10.1029/2010GL043462, 2010. [online version] [reprint]

Download: Earth and Sea Level Response to Dam Loading

The files below give the solid earth radial displacement and the relative sea level globally (parts a and c from the figure above) as a function of time for the dam loading model described in the above paper. The absolute sea level change can be determined by differencing these two fields. See the readme file for more information.

README.txt Readme file
rdisp.dat.gz Radial Displacements (Gzipped Ascii File, 7.8 MB)
rsl.dat.gz Relative Sea Level (Gzipped Ascii File, 7.5 MB)

If you use these files, please cite Fiedler and Conrad [2010], which is fully referenced above.

Note: This is a global model, and therefore is most useful for examining broad patterns and trends in sea level and solid earth deflections in response to dam loading. We have not attempted to accurately model local deflections near dams, which requires more a regionally-specific model with higher resolution and more detailed information about loading history, reservoir shape, and bedrock elastic parameters, than we have utilized here.