A group of scientists at Harvard University found how global warming will make days longer by a millisecond in the next hundred years. Researchers explained that all the melt water from the poles would reach the equator and cause a subtle wobble in the planet’s axis and slow its rotation down.
The Harvard team recently reported that changes in the Earth’s rotation speed caused by global warming made days longer by a millisecond in the last 100 years. The change may not seem much, but researchers say that it is extremely important to the Earth’s system.
The research team now estimates that the trend may continue for the next 100 years and we will see an additional millisecond added to each of our days. Scientists also found that the axis will slightly tilt as the north pole will change position by 0.4 inches as glaciers continue their melt frenzy.
The study, which was recently published in Science Advances, was designed to help scientists reach a consensus on how exactly glacier melting changes the planet’s axis and rotation.
Harvard investigators explained that as solid ice turns into liquid water as sea temperatures continue to rise excess liquid will move to the equator. As a result the shifting weight caused by the melting would cause a wobble in the planet’s rotation and a subtle change in its axis.
Moreover, the extra weight brought by water to the equator would slow down the pace at which our planet spins, Harvard scientists believe, making days slightly longer.
Additionally, the research team believes that the slowdown may be even greater if the rate of ice melt at poles continues to increase.
According to estimates issued by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, between 15 percent and 85 percent of world’s glaciers should vanish by the end of the century. The IPCC also said that the rate may be lowered if states agree to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and ban deforestation.
Recent studies showed that glaciers‘ retreat accelerated in recent years. For instance, one study showed that one of Greenland’s largest glaciers is about to crumble. If estimates are correct, the resulting water would be enough to hike global sea levels by 20 inches.
The lead author of the recent study Jerry Mitrovica of Harvard University acknowledged that an extra millisecond in one day may not seem much, but it does confirm that climate science has a real basis.
“It’s another fingerprint,”
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