Climate Change To Make Earth Spin Faster And Create Powerful Storms

As the planet warms, the mass of Earth will be redistributed and cause the planet to rotate faster, adding to the plethora of challenges global warming threatens. Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere heats up the globe, and as a result the polar ice caps melt. With less frozen bodies in the north and south, the mass of the planet will be slightly off kilter as the remains travel into the ocean, causing sea levels to rise.

The redistribution of mass across the globe will cause the planet to speed up. Felix Landerer of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, said: “Think of an ice skater who is spinning. When you stretch your arms out you slow down, and when you bring your arms closer to your body you spin faster.”

In this analogy, Earth is tucking its arms into its waist, or the equator, causing the globe to rotate quicker.

Scientists predict that by 2200, the lengths of the day will be 0.12 milliseconds quicker. While this does seem insignificant, it does add up over the course of a year and it could exacerbate climate change. A faster rotation means more energy will be given to cyclones and hurricanes, which are already getting stronger.

Steve Hench, a retired computational science and physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, wrote on Q+A site Quora: “The coriolus effect, which is the influence of the earth’s rotation on the movement of large-scale atmospheric and ocean currents would be stronger. This might result in more intense and smaller-scale cyclonic behaviours.”

Peter Howell, who has a degree in chemistry and worked as physicist for 10 years, added: “The Coriolis Effect would be stronger, which would probably mean stronger trade winds and more pronounced cyclones, although there may be another limiting factor effecting those.

“One possible side effect of that would also be that the transfer of ocean and air currents would be less able to move from equatorial to Polar Regions, making the high latitudes much colder and the tropics even hotter.”

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