Scientists determined that the melting of ice, especially in Greenland, is changing the axis of rotation of the planet.
WASHINGTON: Global warming is changing the weight distribution of the Earth and the axis of rotation of the planet, according to the findings revealed exposed in a NASA study.
The melting of the ice sheets, especially in Greenland is causing this change in weight distribution, which has resulted in a change in the course of the North Pole and the movement of the rotational axis of the Earth in relation to its bark, known as polar motion, according to the article published by the agency in the journal Science Advances.
Scientists have measured accurately the polar movement and the true pole since 1899 and during most of the twentieth century, where there was a slight migration to Canada. But this has changed in this century, as the movement is recorded for England, says Surendra Adhikari, lead author and member of the Jet Propulsion Lab of NASA. “The recent change of direction that was in the twentieth century is very dramatic,” Adhikari said.
While scientists say the turn is harmless, that does not mean it is significant. Jonathan Overpeck, a professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona, who was not involved in the study, said that “this underscores how real and deep is the impact that humans are having on the planet.”
Since 2003, Greenland has lost on average more than 272.1 billion kilos of ice per year, and that affects the way the Earth “wobbles”, similar to what happens when a figure skater lifts one leg and performs a twist, said Erik Ivins, NASA scientist and co-author of the study.
Besides that, the West region of Antarctica lost 275 billion kilos of ice, while the eastern region earns about 74.8 billion kilos of ice annually, which also affects the observed tilt, Ivins said. All combine to cause the thrust of the polar movement eastward, says Adhikari.
Jianli Chen, a scientist at the Space Research Centre at the University of Texas, initially attributed the polar modification to climate change in 2013, and now claims that this new study takes their work a step forward.
“There is nothing to worry about,” says Chen, who was not involved in NASA research. “It’s just another interesting effect of climate change,” he added.