Tide gauge records of recent sea-level change along the U.S. east coast have received significant attention within the literature of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA). Geographic trends in these tide gauge rates are not reduced by a GIA correction based on a commonly adopted radial viscosity profile (characterized, in particular, by a lower mantle viscosity ~1-2×1021 Pa s), and this has led to speculation that the residual trends reflect contributions from neotectonics or oceanographic processes. While the trends can be significantly reduced by adopting an Earth model with a stiffer lower mantle, such a model appears to be incompatible with independent constraints from post-glacial decay times in Hudson Bay. We use a finite-element model of the GIA process to investigate whether 3-D viscosity variations superimposed onto the "common" radial viscosity profile may provide a route to reconciling the east coast sea-level trends. We find that the specific 3-D structure we impose has little impact on the geographic trends in the GIA-corrected rates. However, we do find that the imposed lateral variations in lower mantle viscosity introduce a nearly uniform upward shift of 0.5 mm/yr in GIA-induced sea-level rates along the U.S. east coast. Thus, inferences of regional (U.S. east coast) sea-level rise due to modern melting of ice reservoirs, based on tide gauge rates corrected using 1-D GIA models, may be significantly biased by this simplifying assumption
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