The Truth is Powerful

How Climate Change Moved Earth’s Axis

Climate 101 is a Mashable series that answers provoking and salient questions about Earth’s warming climate.

Greenland is purging ice into the ocean .

And Earth noticed.

A strange impact of the continuously warming climate is that colossal amounts of ice melting into the planet’s oceans have played a prominent role in moving Earth’s axis — the invisible line Earth rotates around. As the planet warms, ice from glaciers and ice sheets migrates from land into the sea (as water), which majorly redistributes weight on the globe. This phenomenon, which scientists recently found more evidence for , ultimately shifts the planet’s axis, something scientists call “polar drift.”

“The Earth is like a spinning top, and if you put more mass on one side or the other, the axis of rotation is going to shift slightly,” explained Isabella Velicogna, a professor of earth system sciences at the University of California, Irvine, and a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

(There’s no need to panic: The slight nudge, while a change to Earth’s axis, won’t impact life on the planet, though the melting ice has the added deleterious effect of driving significant sea level rise . It’s normal for Earth’s axis to drift around, and […]

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