Friday, May 15, 2009
Could Melting Ice Change The Way Earth Spins?
It's nice to know that when I wake up in the morning the sun will be rising in the east, predictable today and all the tomorrows of my life just as it has been in all my yesterday's. But now comes the latest dire prediction from science.
No, this time it's not a sky is falling threat that we're going to be hit by a huge meteor and go the way of the dinosaurs. Now we're being told that all the ice that's melting due to climate changes - natural or not - could change the Earth's rotation.
I don't know about you, but that prospect makes me worry a bit.
It has, according to the Independent newspaper in the UK, to do with the gravitational shifts that could be created by the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. We've already been warned that coastal areas might end up under water and that it might be a good idea to have your apartment or office in New York City on one of the higher floors to escape the resulting flooding.
But all of these concerns pale in comparison with the suggestion that the Earth's rotation may be thrown off kilter. And that gravity as we've been accustomed to might change.
The good news is that scientists now say that the melting of the ice sheet won't create their previously predicted rises in sea level. Oh, they'll still rise and there will still be coastal flooding they say. Just not as much as previously projected.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hazy-daisy/2309555909/