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Shift In Earth’s Axis Due To Climate Change

Shift In Earth’s Axis Due To Climate Change

Why in news?

  • A study published in Geophysical Research Letters of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) says that due to the significant melting of glaciers because of global temperature rise, Earth’s axis of rotation has been moving more than usual since the 1990s.
  • While this change is not expected to affect daily life, it can change the length of the day by a few milliseconds.

Findings of the New Study

  • Since the 1990s, climate change has caused billions of tonnes of glacial ice to melt into oceans. This has caused the Earth’s poles to move in new directions.
  • The north pole has shifted in a new eastward direction since the 1990s, because of changes in the hydrosphere (meaning the way in which water is stored on Earth).
  • From 1995 to 2020, the average speed of drift was 17 times faster than from 1981 to 1995.
  • Also, in the last four decades, the poles moved by about 4 metres in distance.
  • The calculations were based on satellite data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission.                Shift In Earth’s Axis Due To Climate Change

What is the Earth’s axis?

  • The Earth’s axis of rotation is the line along which it spins around itself as it revolves around the Sun.
  • The points on which the axis intersects the planet’s surface are the geographical north and south poles.
  • The location of the poles is not fixed. The axis moves due to changes in how the Earth’s mass is distributed around the planet. Thus, the poles move when the axis moves, and the movement is called “polar motion”.
  • Earth’s axial tilt (also known as the obliquity of the ecliptic) is about 23.5 degrees. Due to this axial tilt, the sun shines on different latitudes at different angles throughout the year. This causes the seasons.

Factors That Cause Climate Change

  • Natural Factors
    • Continental Drift
    • Variation of the Earth’s orbit
    • Plate tectonics
    • Volcanic Activity
    • Ocean Currents                                      Shift In Earth’s Axis Due To Climate Change
  • Anthropogenic Factors
    • Greenhouse Gases
    • Change in the land use pattern
    • Atmospheric aerosols

Impacts Of Climate Change

  • Increased risk of extreme weather events
  • Increased risk of forest fires
  • Increased risk of floods
  • Increased risk of Droughts
  • Increased risk of Diseases and illness
  • Increased economic losses caused due to extreme weather events
  • Arise in the sea levels
  • The surge in Global Temperature
  • A threat to the ecosystem and wetlands


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