Earth's topography plays an important role in many surface processes, particularly through its influence on weather patterns, the water cycle and erosional processes. Additionally, understanding the evolution of topography through time (paleo-topography) is important for the accurate modelling of past climate states.
Although the present day topographic field can be accurately inferred over the entire globe using satellite based sensors and geodetic techniques, no equivalent tools exist that enable access to paleo-topography. The rock record allows for limited, local estimations of deposition elevation with respect to sea level. However, local estimates of the change in topographic height can themselves be a significant uncertainty in the determination of local sea level histories. Independent estimates of vertical motions would provide a useful constraint when determining sea-level histories.
Modern flow models for Earth's mantle are capable of predicting the global dynamic component of topography and its time rate of change. Such a tool allows us to assess the dynamic contribution to present topography, and to provide independent estimates of the uplift at individual sites, such as those used in sea level reconstructions. In this talk I will outline our recent efforts to produce such a model, which is applicable to the recent geological past.