The precession constant and its long-term variation

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Siavash Ghelichkhan, Jocelyn Fuentes, Mark James Hoggard , Fred D. Richards, Jerry X Mitrovica


The dynamical flattening of the Earth, H, related to the precession constant, is a fundamental astro-geodetic parameter that appears in studies of the Earth's rotation and orbital evolution. We present numerical predictions and observations of the variation in H over time scales ranging from tens of millions of years to decades. The geophysical processes controlling this variation include solid-state convection in the rocky mantle of the Earth that drives plate tectonics, isostatic adjustments due to ice age loading, and ice-ocean mass transfer linked to modern global climate change. The time dependence of H is complex and non-linear, and thus, in contrast to previous suggestions, cannot be captured by a constant rate parameter.



Astrophysics and Astronomy, Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Planetary Sciences


Earth rotation, Precession constant, Dynamical flattening


Published: 2020-12-08 09:46

Last Updated: 2021-03-11 14:52

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International