Glaciers Slow Earth Rotation, Melting And Climate Change Are To Blame, Claims New Study
Melting glaciers could slow Earth’s rotation, according to experts. Harvard University scientists have discovered that climate change – the melting of glaciers and the rise in sea level will ultimately slow down the planet’s rotation and lead to longer days.
Maybe you should get a new technologically advanced watch for Christmas because time will slightly change and you can blame it on climate change. A study published by a team of Harvard University experts led by geophysicist Jerry Mitrovica revealed that melting glaciers will slow Earth’s rotation – in the next century or so.
According to the study published in the journal Science Advances, the melting of glaciers near the Earth’s poles is causing a significant amount of water to shift from the Earth’s axis of rotation towards the equator resulting in the Earth rotating at a slower speed. Mitrovica explained:
“Because glaciers are at high latitudes, when they melt they redistribute water from these high latitudes towards lower latitudes, and like a figure skater who moves his or her arms away from their body, this acts to slow the rotation rate of the Earth.”
“Imagine a figure skater who doesn’t stick their arms straight out but rather sticks one at one angle and the other out at another angle. The figure skater will begin to wobble back and forth. This is the same thing as polar motion.”
Mathieu Dumberry, a physics professor at the University of Alberta, who was part of the study stated that the melting glaciers have slowed the Earth’s rotation and increased the duration of a day by about a thousandth of a second over the 20th century. Mitrovica said that the rotation slowdown is not a danger to the planet and concluded by:
“These are small effects but are another indication of the profound impact of human-induced climate change on the planet.”
So, does the change in the Earth’s rotation mean a day will have 25 hours? No, researchers predict that a century from now, Earth’s slower rotation will make each day 1.7 milliseconds longer – and with that it is advised that you keep your old watch and give it to your grandchildren.