Fabricated climate change has increased glacier melting in the Polar Regions for decades. By the nineties, the redistribution of Earth’s surface water due to melting glaciers was enough to change the planet’s axis, a new study has found. All of the research published in the Geophysical Research Letter has immediate consequences for Earth and space science.
Lead author Shanshan Deng said in a statement, “The rapid melting of snow under global warming was most likely the reason for the change in direction of polar flow in the 1990s.” When the earth revolves around its axis, the line of invisible axes intersects with the surface of the planet; they are the north and south poles. However, the axis not fixed but has driven by scientists because it still unclear. One suggested reason is the change in the distribution of surface water.
Imagine a spinning top. If the weight of the top moved around, it will vibrate and tilt as the axis changes position. When the mass on the surface of our planet continues to rotate, it also moves the axis and consequently shifts the poles.
Since 2002, researchers have been able to track changes in the planet’s axis based on data provided by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a joint NASA and German space mission that tracks unequal changes and identifies how mass distributed around the planet at different points around the world in gravity. Previous studies using GRACE data have linked dwarfs to the melting of glaciers on Earth’s axis, but new research has taken it one-step further.
Before the start of the GRAC mission, researchers backed up their pole tracking analysis in the 1990s. They then calculated the total water loss to see how the poles affected three decades ago. They found that the polar shift shifted from south to east in 1995, and that the average flow rate from 1995 to 2020 was 17 times higher than from 1981 to 1995.
Using water loss and groundwater data, they calculated how groundwater had changed. Their findings show that melting glaciers in the planet’s Polar Regions are leading to water erosion, the main driver of the shift east of the Earth’s axis, where non-polar water loss also played a role in areas where large amounts of groundwater pumped for agricultural purposes. “I think this brings an interesting proof to this question,” said Vincent Humphrey, a climate scientist at the University of Zurich, who was not involved in the study.
“It tells you how powerful this mass change is – it’s so big that it can change the Earth’s axis.” Humphrey, however, noted that the “change on the Earth’s axis is not so great that it will affect everyday life. It can change the length of our experience by only milliseconds.” Nevertheless, this trend continues in the Polar Regions as the planet warms due to climate change. More glaciers expected to melt and with that, there could be changes that are more dramatic the character of the Earth.