US: Climate change is moving the North Pole toward Europe as melting polar ice caps and shrinking lakes redistribute the weight of the Earth’s water, according to a new report from NASA. The report is derived from data obtained from NASA satellites to plot the continuing shift in the Earth’s axis caused by weight redistribution, lead NASA researcher Surendra Adhikari told in an interview.
“This is the first time we have solid evidence that changes in land water distribution on a global scale also shift which direction the axis moves to. The recent shift from the 20th-century direction is very dramatic,” he said.
The report say, this is different from magnetic North, which is also moving, but currently located near Siberia. The North Pole, which was once moving slowly toward Canada, is now drifting toward Europe, Adhikari told National Geographic. The Earth spins on its axis, which we identify as an imaginary line running through the North and South poles. Shrinkage of the polar ice caps, along with the massive loss of inland water as seas and lakes dry up, has caused the weight of the Earth’s oceans to move resulting in the movement of the poles.
“What we have shown is that melting ice and a pattern of continental water storage are combining to cause a dramatic shift in the direction of the pole.”
Although the Earth’s rotation is stable it tends to wobble very slightly from side to side like a spinning top, resulting in slight movement of the North and South poles. Scientists have been tracking this movement since 1899 by using the position of the stars and later, satellite data. The poles have moved by centimeters throughout the years, but since 2000, the North Pole has been moving a steady 75 degrees as it heads toward Europe and the Prime Meridian, Adhikari told National Geographic.
“That may seem like a tiny variation, but there is very important information embedded in that.”
The poles are now moving at about 10 centimeters per year so there’s no reason to panic yet, but our grandchildren may have to redraw the map if this movement continues, University of Texas researcher Jianli Chen told the Express.
“There is nothing to worry about. It is just another interesting effect of climate change.”
Of greater worry to scientists is the number of major cities in the world that could be underwater in a matter of decades if the catastrophic effects of climate change aren’t reversed. A research paper published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics journal warn major cities like New York, London, and Shanghai could be underwater within 50 years if the polar ice caps continue to melt.
“There is an urgency to slow carbon dioxide emissions.”
If ocean levels continue to rise at their current pace, the Florida Keys could disappear and much of Miami will be under water, as will large parts of Louisiana and North Carolina, Western Michigan University Geoscience Professor Michelle Kominz told WinCountry. The West Coast should fare better than the East Coast because of its steeper shores, but much of Los Angeles and San Francisco will be under water.