Scientists at the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have made a startling discovery. It is that the melting of glaciers due to climate change in the 1990s led to a shift of the Earth’s axis and geographic poles.
The results of the study were published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. A summary of the scientific work is described in a press release on Phys.org.
Specialists have analyzed the data obtained by c satellite mission GRACE (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment), aimed at studying the Earth’s gravitational field. When glaciers melt, there is a redistribution of mass, which affects the rotation of the planet and the location of its axis. This can be tracked by measuring the force of gravity at different points on the Earth’s surface.
Pole shifts can occur due to geological activity in the outer layer of the Earth’s core, as well as changes in the volume of water contained on land in the form of both glaciers and groundwater. Scientists have found that the melting of glaciers caused a shift in the drift of the poles from the south to the east. From 1995 to 2020 also increased the rate of drift – 17 times compared to 1981-1995.
Data on glacier loss and groundwater pumping indicate that melting ice in the polar regions is a major factor in poleward drift. Such changes can affect day length on a millisecond scale.