Hold On, The Earth May be Spinning Faster Due to Warming

Decade old puzzle solved with new study.

Global warming, causing the glaciers to melt and the sea levels to rise, could also cause the Earth to rotate more quickly, according to a new study.

Climate change is causing a large number of bad things to happen to the planet and this new study, cited on weather.com, says the loss of the weight of the polar ice caps will relieve some of the pressure on the rocks below and allow the rock to rebound towards the surface.

And, according to the researchers, this will make the world more round and will allow for the planet’s rotation to accelerate, and could even make a difference in the length of our days. Don’t be planning new outings to take advantage of the extra time in the day, however. Researchers say it will only be thousandths of a second, and they don’t predict the faster spin will have any damaging effects on the planet.

In 2002, Walter Munk published a scientific quandary known as “Munk’s enigma,” in which a discrepancy was noted between the effect on the planet that should have occurred with the amount of sea level rise in the 20th century and the actual effect. The new research suggests that the sea level rise that Munk had used for his calculations was overestimated, and that his model for the correction of the ice age effect was inaccurate, not taking into account the viscosity of the Earth’s internal structure and other factors.

Jerry Mitrovica, a geophysicist at Harvard University and lead study author, said the team believes that the changes in the Earth’s rotation as measured by satellites and astronomical methods is consistent with the melting of the glaciers that occurred in the 20th century, adding the enigma had now been resolved.

The observations found in the new study indicate the interactions between the mantle and the core of the planet were not slowing the rotation as much as previously predicted, and future rotation should be faster.

Findings of the study were released in the journal Science Advances.

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