The Irish Times

Melting ice slows Earth’s spin


The melting of glaciers caused by the world’s rising temperatur­es appears to be causing a slight slowing of the Earth’s rotation in another illustrati­on of the far-reaching impact of global climate change scientists revealed yesterday.

The driving force behind the modest but discernibl­e changes in the Earth’s rotation measured by satellites and astronomic­al methods is a global sea-level rise fuelled by an influx of meltwater into the oceans from glaciers.

“Because glaciers are at high latitudes, when they melt they redistribu­te water from these high latitudes towards lower latitudes, and like a figure skater who moves his or her arms away from their body, this acts to slow the rotation rate of the Earth,” Harvard University geophysici­st Jerry Mitrovica said.

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