Researchers say Earth's rotation is slowing down due to climate change

Researchers say Earth's rotation is slowing down due to climate change

About the episode

Previously, research showed that we affected the Earth's tilt by pumping groundwater, but it is now said that we changed the speed of our planet's rotation with climate change.

Rising temperatures are causing more ice shelves to melt, forcing Earth's water mass to rearrange, researchers say in the journal Nature. Those thick sheets of ice have a gravitational effect on the oceans. According to this study, if those plates disappear and the meltwater moves, the Earth's rotation speed will decrease.

Is this that bad? Well, it certainly has a potential impact on our watches in the long run. In a few years, we may have to remove the leap second to keep time while remaining accurate.

A leap second is often added to compensate for changes in the Earth's rotation. Then the last minute of that day lasts 61 seconds, and is written as 23:59:60, but in this case the leap second must be removed.

Over the past 50 years, the Earth has been rotating faster, but the deceleration caused by melting ice shelves may have hidden that all along. This researcher believes that if there had been no increase in temperature, we would have had to subtract a leap second much earlier. Now it is believed that this will be the case in 2028 or 2029.

All this has little effect on home clocks, and perhaps at most on communications or other systems that depend on very precise timekeeping. It has already been suggested that we should stop using the leap second correction altogether, also because the Earth's rotation is constantly changing.

See also  Uncover the secrets of planet birth around dozens of stars

Perhaps, as one Harvard scientist answers the study, we should ask ourselves whether we should be so attached to the Earth as time keepers. He asked, “Do we continue to correct, or do we just accept these violations?”

Read more about the research here: Melting ice solves the leap second problem – for now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *