Jerry X. Mitrovica

Jerry X. Mitrovica

Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science
Jerry X. Mitrovica

Research Interests

Professor Mitrovica's interests involve numerical predictions and theoretical treatments of the Earth's response to forcings with time scales that range from hours to billions of years. His group focuses on two areas with direct application to climate. First, they've developed state-of-the-art models of sea-level change driven by ice age and modern ice mass changes and, on longer time scales, thermal convection in the Earth's mantle. These models incorporate the gravitational, deformational and rotational signals effects on sea level, which lead to a strong geographic variability – that is, large departures from eustasy – in patterns of sea-level change. They have applied these models to develop the idea of "fingerprinting" modern records of sea-level change (e.g., tide gauges, satellite altimetry) to infer the sources of meltwater, and most recently we have estimated ice volumes during ice age warm periods (the MIS11 and MIS5e interglacials, the mid-Pliocene warm period) using geological records. A second area of activity involves modeling perturbations in both the amplitude and orientation of the Earth's rotation axis (i.e., changes in the length-of-day and true polar wander) driven by ice-ocean mass transfer. These perturbations provide a sensitive, integrated measure of the polar ice sheet mass balance.

Related Publications

Raymo, M., and Mitrovica, J.X., "Collapse of Polar Ice Sheets During the Stage 11 Interglacial", Nature, 483, 453-456, 2012.

Hay, C.C., E. Morrow, R.E. Kopp, and J.X. Mitrovica, "Estimating the sources of global sea level rise with data assimilation techniques", Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., doi: 10.1073/pnas.1117683109, 2012.

Gomez, N., D. Pollard, J.X. Mitrovica, P. Huybers, and P.U. Clark, "Evolution of a Coupled Marine Ice Sheet-Sea Level Model", J. Geophys. Res., 117, F01013, 2012.

Tamisiea, M.E., and J.X. Mitrovica, "The Moving Boundaries of Sea Level Change: Understanding the Origins of Geographic Variability", Oceanog., 24, 24–39, 2011.

Mitrovica, J.X., and J. Wahr, "Ice-Age Earth Rotation", Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 39, 577-616, 2011.

Mitrovica, J.X., N. Gomez, E. Morrow, C. Hay, K. Latychev, and M.E. Tamisiea, "On the Robustness of Predictions of Sea-Level Fingerprints", Geophys. J. Int., 187, 729-742, 2011.

Gomez, N., J.X. Mitrovica, P. Huybers, and P.U. Clark, "Sea Level as a Stabilizing Factor for Marine-Ice-Sheet Grounding Lines", Nature Geosci., 3, 850-853, 2010.

Kopp, R.E., F.J. Simons, J.X. Mitrovica, A.C. Maloof, and M.Oppenheimer, "Global and Local Sea Levels During the Last Interglacial: A Probabilistic Assessment, Nature, 462, 863-867, 2009.

Mitrovica, J.X., N. Gomez, and P.U. Clark, "The Sea-Level Fingerprint of West Antarctic Collapse", Science, 323,753, 2009.

Arbic, B., J.X. Mitrovica, D. MacAyeal, and G.A. Milne, "On the Factor Behind Large Labrador Sea Tides During the Last Glacial Cycle and the Potential Implications for Heinrich Events", Paleoceanography, 23, doi 10.1029/2007 PA001573, P.1-14, 2008.

Moucha, R., A.M. Forte, J.X. Mitrovica, D.B. Rowley and S. Quere, "Dynamic Topography and Long-Term Sea-Level Variations: There May Be No Such Thing as a Stable Continental Platform", Earth Planet. Sci. Lett, 271, 101-108, 2008.

Environmental Courses

E-PSCI 52. Geophysics of the Earth and Planets

*E-PSCI 10. A Brief History of Earth

Faculty Department

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences


CIFAR Earth Systems Evolution Program


Marisa Reilly (617) 495-2350

Contact Information

Geological Museum 203B, 20 Oxford Street

Research Areas

Alphabetical by Last Name