Earth's Axis Could Be Shifted by Warming Oceans

planet earth from space photo

photo: NASA

Here's an effect of global warming that you probably haven't considered: As the world's oceans warm, the Earth's axis could shift by the end of this century. Chalk this one up in the 'interesting' rather than 'I should be really worried about it' category though. Discovery News reports that the shift is likely to be about 1.5 meters:

As ocean temperature increases, the water literally expands, pushing sea levels up. Conservative estimates call for this effect to raise the global shoreline by about 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) per year over the next century -- a cumulative increase of about 1 foot.

The additional water sloshing up into the shallows is heavy enough to nudge the planet's rotational axis slightly closer to Alaska.

Sounds crazy? The conventional thinking is that changes in sea level won't affect the Earth's rotation, but this new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters makes a case for the contrary.

Read more: Discovery News
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