Melting Polar Ice Changing Earth’s Rotation and Affecting Time: Study

1 min read
person holding world globe facing mountain
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

The Earth is spinning slower and the change may affect our clocks – but only for a second. According to a study published in Nature, this has happened due to the global warming. How? The rising temperature has caused the polar ice to melt, due to which the Earth is spinning less quickly than it would otherwise. This may cause world timekeepers to consider subtracting a second from our clocks – called “negative leap second” – by 2029, the study published on Wednesday said.

“This will pose an unprecedented problem for computer network timing and may require changes in UTC to be made earlier than is planned,” according to an excerpt from the study.

The author of the study is Duncan Agnew, a geophysicist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. He that as ice at the poles melts, it changes where the Earth’s mass is concentrated. The change, in turn, affects the planet’s angular velocity.

Since the polar ice is melting, the mass around the Earth’s equator is increasing, which is affecting the planet’s rotation.

“What you’re doing with the ice melt is you’re taking water that’s frozen solid in places like Antarctica and Greenland, and that frozen water is melting, and you move the fluids to other places on the planet. “The water flows off towards the equator,” Thomas Herring, a professor of geophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told NBC News. He was not involved in the new study.

“It’s kind of impressive, even to me, we’ve done something that measurably changes how fast the Earth rotates. Things are happening that are unprecedented,” Mr Agnew said.

It is to be noted that Earth’s rotation has slowed over millions of years. About 70 million years ago, days were shorter, lasting 23.5 hours, according to a study in Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)