Humans may be why Earth wobbles more than it should

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
#1
Humans may be why Earth wobbles more than it should
(Article by BGR at The New York Post)


When looking at the Earth from afar it appears to be a perfect sphere, but that actually isn’t the case. Because Earth isn’t uniform on all sides due to land masses that shift and change over time, our planet actually wobbles a bit when it spins. Now, a new study by researchers with NASA’s Jet...

(More at NYPost.com)
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
#2
The 'Cliff Notes' version of the findings as to why the Earth wobbles is that two reasons are natural, the third is not.
  1. Glacial Rebound - "Glacial rebound happens when thick ice sheets physically push down on land masses, compressing them, but then release that pressure upon melting." OK, so basically land masses get pushed down by thick ice and when that ice is reduced the land mass pops back up.
  2. Mantle Convection - "The plates on Earth’s surface are in constant flux due to the movement of liquid rock far beneath our feet." Yep, basic info that we all learned in school.
  3. Loss of Ice Caps in Greenland & other areas due to Global Warming - "Massive loss of ice on Greenland and other areas, which is the direct result of global warming thanks to human activities. The researchers estimate that Greenland has lost roughly 7,500 gigatons, or 7,500,000,000,000 metric tons of ice due to global warming. All that ice loss has happened in the 20th century, and greenhouse gas production has been cited as the primary culprit. Losing all that mass has caused a significant shift on the planet and has contributed to the wobble as well." Eek. :eek:
By the big question is.... what does some extra wobbling mean?

“With these three broad contributors identified, scientists can distinguish mass changes and polar motion caused by long-term Earth processes over which we have little control from those caused by climate change,” NASA writes. “They now know that if Greenland’s ice loss accelerates, polar motion likely will, too.”

The Earth 'wobble' actually has a name, the Chandler Wobble. And, according to NASA (link: NASA Study Solves Two Mysteries About Wobbling Earth), it can affect GPS positioning, Earth observiving satellites, and ground-based observatories.

The NY Post, and most other news sites are covering just the major blurbs but for a more science based read on it try the NASA link posted above. :)
 

julirew

Captain
Writer
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Boulder, CO
#3
Humans may be why Earth wobbles more than it should
(Article by BGR at The New York Post)


When looking at the Earth from afar it appears to be a perfect sphere, but that actually isn’t the case. Because Earth isn’t uniform on all sides due to land masses that shift and change over time, our planet actually wobbles a bit when it spins. Now, a new study by researchers with NASA’s Jet...

(More at NYPost.com)
Whew! I'm glad it's not from everybody jumping up and down in frustration!
 
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