The Earth’s tilt changed by nearly 80 centimeters (31. 5 inches) between 1993 and 2010, and humanity is to blame, a new study claims. The new study is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, and according to the researchers behind it, humans have pumped 2,150 gigatons of groundwater from the planet, causing its tilt to change.
While the information from the study is certainly concerning and does raise more questions about how humanity is contributing to climate change issues, the estimate that the researchers have made is also very difficult to validate. One way that we could validate these findings lies with what we call the Earth’s rotational pole.
This point is what the planet rotates around, and that point moves as the process, which is called polar motion, continues. Overall, scientists say that the Earth’s rotational pole can move based on the Earth’s crust. The distribution of water can also affect the way the Earth’s crust is distributed. This in turn will influence the tilt of Earth.
An easy way to visualize it would be to imagine adding just a tiny amount of weight to the spinning top. This weight changes the way that top rotates. In this instance, Earth is the top, and the weight we’re messing with is the groundwater level. The Earth will spin a little differently depending on the way we change its water.
According to scientists, though, this rotational pole actually changes a lot as it is. The biggest impact seems to come from the changes in the groundwater distribution and the movements of it. As such, some researchers are concerned about what these movements could mean for the Earth’s tilt going forward.
Further, it’s likely that these changes to the distribution of the Earth’s groundwater could also be attributed to global sea levels rising, a concern that we have only seen growing in recent years. Research shows that efforts to reduce groundwater loss rates can also affect the tilt of the Earth, but only for a few decades.
The post Study finds that humans actually changed the Earth’s tilt in the past 30 years appeared first on BGR.