April 24, 2024 at 12:33 pm

The Melting Polar Ice Is Slowing The Earth’s Rotation And Altering Our Clocks

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

There are a whole host of issues that are coming along with the melting ice caps.

That said, “slowing the planet’s rotation” was not on my bingo card.

Duncan Agnew, a geophysicist and professor at University of California, analyzed data from satellite imagery and concluded that not only is the ice melt slowing Earth’s rotation, it will alter how we measure time in the future.

The paper states that as polar ice melts into the ocean, there’s less overall mass at the poles. This makes the middle of the planet a bit heavier.

“If you have a figure skater who starts spinning, if she lowers her arms or stretches out her legs, she will slow down.”

Source: Shutterstock

This will, according to his calculations, alter the measurement of time. As the planet slows down, timekeepers will have to adjust – even the big stuff, like satellites, computers, and financial institutions will be impacted.

Timekeepers already adjust to the slight variations in the Earth’s rotation by adding or subtracting a leap second to the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), so it’s not unheard of.

Agnew says that if the polar ice didn’t melt, we would have to subtract a second from clocks by 2026.

Source: Shutterstock

Instead, it won’t happen until 2029.

“It’s kind of impressive, even to me, we’ve done something that measurably changes how fast the Earth rotates. Things are happening that are unprecedented.”

Yet another thing that we have to worry about as far as climate change.

We’re running out of space on the list, I think.

Thought that was fascinating? Here’s another story you might like: Why You’ll Never See A Great White Shark In An Aquarium