Human activity has widely affected our planet, reshaping surfaces, moving or extinguishing species, and warming the air and water. Now scientists say our reach has been extended even further -- warming oceans may even start to shift the Earth's axis of rotation.
Previously, the effect of warmer water temperatures was thought to be negligible and not strong enough to tilt the earth. But in a new study in Geophysical Research Letters, researchers have found that global warming and the resultant expansion of the oceans could actually shift our rotational axis significantly.
Warming causes our axis to shift because warmer water takes up more space than cooler water, and actually expanding upward and outward as it warms. Increased water volume pushes up onto shallow continental shelves, redistributing weight on the planet and causing the Earth to tilt. According to the report, the north pole of our rotational axis will travel around 1.5 centimeters a year in the direction of Alaska.
That's not much, in the context of other forces and movement. (The earth wobbles around as much if not more under other influences, including seasonal changes, melting glaciers, and retreating ice sheets.) But it is significant enough that the effect of warming should be taken into account when monitoring the way our axis moves in the future, the researchers report. Moreover, it represents just how strong the effects of human caused global warming can be -- even moving the planet itself.
Is Stuart on vacation?
Also from the article:
"The effect is relatively small. "The pole's not going to drift away in a crazy manner," Landerer notes, adding that it shouldn't induce any unfortunate feedback in Earth's climate."
There's no debate that CO2 has a greater capacity to store heat, so it follows that CO2 contributed to the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels will allow more heat to be stored in the atmosphere. The questions are: how much and to what effect? Thus far, the projections from computer models written by researchers with a vested interest in a warming outcome, who admit that the models do not account for cloud formation and its effects, have not held up to real world observations. There is likely a far greater danger to the Earth from near-earth objects (asteroids) and volcanoes than from the ginned-up hysteria that is Anthropogenic Global Warming. But hey, it sells magazines and commercials; fear always does.
great... another thing that could go wrong on 12-21-2012
Manmade Global Warming - Hmmmm.
Ok, to actually believe mankind is warming the Earth through his nefarious activities, one needs to make several leaps of logic.
1. One must assume that the temperature of earth around 1900 was for some reason the "ideal" temperature for our planet. That the mass of glacial ice on Earth in 1900 was the "ideal" mass. Any derivation from this "ideal" temperature shall surely result in our destruction.
2. One must assume that an increase in CO2, a "trace gas" (i.e., there is almost none) can actually cause the Earth to warm significantly, moreso even than the land, water and air, of which there are VAST amounts. Saying the CO2 can warm the Earth is like holding a match to a tub of cool water expecting it to eventually boil.
3. One must ignore the historical fossil record which shows not that increases in CO2 "preceded" global warming, but that increases in CO2 actually occured as a "result" of global warming. In the case, the chicken actually did come first.
4. One must believe that since man is causing the current global warming, all previous occasions when the Earth has been warmer than it is now must have been caused by troglodytes manning factories beneath the ground.
I could go on for pages. The idea that tiny little man could cause global warming in the face of vast and powerful nature is laughable and a religion, not science.
Oh, and by the way, the Earth is currently in a "cooling" trend. Now THAT's an Inconvenient Truth.
Manmade Global Warming is the ultimate post hoc argument: "After this, therefore because of this..." The Earth has warmed and cooled countless times over the eons, but since we are HERE now, it becomes our fault.
Al Gore's personal fortune when he left office in 2000 ($2 million). Al Gore's personal fortune today? ($200 million).
boomshak, well said.
"Going Green" is more about the next trend in spending than saving the environment.
Had the writer of this article bothered to do some proper research, they would have discovered a little something called Polar Shift, a naturally occurring phenomenon that comes in cycles just as everything else on this planet.(including global warming, ice ages, etc.)
Environmental changes on the planet are influenced by solar cycles, which have been influenced by galactic cycles, which have been influenced by universal cycles and possibly further. The ancients understood this, case in point; The Maya. The "Armageddon" they foretold of was not just some guess at a one-time occurrence, it was based on their knowledge of cyclical events occurring over time triggered by the stars themselves. This "Armageddon" had occurred many times in Earth's past. One event triggers the next and all of the "disasters" that seem to be unrelated are in fact set off by each other.
Some believe that during Polar Shift, the Earth's crust can shift up to 90 degrees from the poles and have suggested that Antarctica was once located near the equator and was a tropical climate land mass. This may have been home to the ancient civilization we know today as Atlantis. Any evidence of course, is buried deep beneath the ice.
Maybe I'm missing something here, but even though global warming redistributes the weight of the Earth's oceans, how does that affect a tilt of the Earth in the vacuum of space? I thought weight was only a factor in how objects react to the gravity of a planetary body?