The journal Geophysical Research Letters published a new study according to which the Earth’s pole has shifted in the last three decades. The displacement has been approximately 80 centimeters. What could be the cause of this change?
The Earth’s pole has moved about 80 centimeters to the east in the last three decades. The change occurred between 1993 and 2010, according to Phys.org.
The main reason is groundwater pumping. The Earth’s axis of rotation changed in the 1990s. This change was previously believed to be the result of groundwater removal, melting glaciers and other factors leading to sea level rise.
However, in 2016, researchers discovered that water has the ability to alter the Earth’s rotation.
Until this discovery, not many knew that these rotational changes were due to the contribution of groundwater.
According to Phys.org. website, the man was projected to have pumped 2,150 gigatons of groundwater. This is equivalent to six millimeters of sea level rise from 1993 to 2010.
However, estimation is difficult.
Ki-Weon Seo, a geophysicist at Seoul National University, told the website: “The pole of Earth’s rotation actually changes a lot.”
The man led the studies and therefore made statements such as: “Our study shows that, among climate-related causes, groundwater redistribution actually has the greatest impact on rotational pole drift.”
It was at this point that they discovered that the distribution of groundwater (2,150 gigatons) needs to be incorporated into the model to align with observations of the Earth’s pole shift.
Connection with India
Most of the water, according to the research, was redistributed in western North America and northwest India. The authors said: “On the other hand, as a resident of Earth and a parent, I am concerned and surprised to see that groundwater pumping is another source of sea level rise.”
“The Earth’s pole has moved towards 64.16°E at a speed of 4.36 cm/year between 1993 and 2010 due to the depletion of groundwater and the subsequent rise in sea level,” the authors added.
The solution is simple. According to the research, if countries tried to reduce groundwater depletion, especially in sensitive areas, the change in drift could theoretically be altered. However, this is only possible if such attempts continue for decades and decades.
The pole of rotation normally shifts a few meters per year. Therefore, the changes caused by groundwater pumping do not carry the risk of seasonal changes.
However, it is important to note that, on geologic time scales, climate can be affected by polar drift.
Seo said that “observing changes in the Earth’s rotation pole is useful for understanding variations in water storage on a continental scale.”
He further added that “polar motion data has been available since the end of the 19th century. Therefore, we can potentially use that data to understand variations in continental water storage over the last 100 years. Have there been any changes in the hydrological regime as a result of the warming climate? “The polar movement could hold the answer.”
Surendra Adhikari, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said this is actually a good contribution and definitely essential documentation.
Surendra Adhikari published an article on the topic of water redistribution and its impact on rotational drift. In a statement, Adhikari said: “They have quantified the role of groundwater pumping in the polar movement, and it is quite significant.”
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