Melting polar ice alters Earth's cycle and messes up time: study

This change affects the planet's angular velocity.

Earth rotates slowly and the change can affect our clocks – but only by a second. According to a study published in Nature, this has happened due to global warming. How? Rising temperatures have caused the polar ice caps to melt, causing the Earth to spin slower than it would otherwise. That could mean world timekeepers consider subtracting a second from our clocks, known as a “negative leap second,” by 2029, according to a study published Wednesday.

“This will cause unprecedented problems with computer network timing and may require changes to UTC earlier than planned,” it says. An excerpt from the study.

Duncan Agnew, a geophysicist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, is the author of the study. As ice melts at the poles, it shifts where Earth's mass is concentrated. The transition affects the angular momentum of the planet.

As the polar ice melts, the mass around Earth's equator is increasing, affecting the planet's rotation.

“You're taking water that's frozen in places like Antarctica and Greenland, melting the frozen water, and you're moving that liquid to other places on the planet. “The water is flowing out. toward the equator,” Thomas Herring, professor of geophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said NBC News. He was not involved in the new study.

“It's kind of interesting, even to me, that we've measurably changed how fast the Earth is spinning. Things are happening that were never seen before,” Mr Agnew said.

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It is noteworthy that the Earth's rotation has slowed down over millions of years. By about 70 million years ago, days were shorter, lasting 23.5 hours, according to paleocenography and paleoclimatology.

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