Global Warming Pushing North Pole Towards London
This is where climate change triggered melting of polar ice caps and mutations in rainfall patterns across the planet play their role in pushing the poles
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The North Pole is advancing towards London and the water deficit in India might be a force behind it Poles apart. So goes the popular idiom describing a pair of things that are at a great distance or differ significantly. The origin of the word comes from the two opposite (North & South) poles that mark our planet's axis of rotation. Thanks to climate change, these spots are moving drastically.
Polar ice melt is moving our North Pole more than it would naturally travel. Our planet's poles 'wobble' all the time, also known as the Chandler 'wobble', named after the astronomer Seth Carlo Chandler who first discovered in the year 1891 that our planet's rotation motion creates 'wobbles'.
So, essentially the poles glide all the time, almost 10 meters every 100 years. The movement is typically arbitrary and the poles may fall back to their original position too. But recently, the North Pole has taken an abrupt eastward bend, as per recently released data.
Such motion is also caused by the Sun's and the Moon's magnetic pulls, apart from earth's rotation as stated earlier. However, distribution of snow and rain is a third significant factor contributing to the poles' fluctuating position.
This is where climate change triggered melting of polar ice caps and mutations in rainfall patterns across the planet play their role in pushing the poles. Such a momentous event also took shape around 10000 years ago when our planet emerged from an ice age.
Large tracts of ice sheets melted and gave way to today's Canada. Huge amount of melting ice changed the earth's mass, shifting the North Pole towards west. Data collected since early 19th century on North Pole's movement corroborate the fact that it has been moving westward towards Canada's Hudson Bay at a rate of 10 cm each year.
But since 2000, the motion's trend has not only reversed towards London in the east, the speed of the run has also increased to a very unusual 17 cm per year. This rate of shift has not been anticipated by the scientists earlier.
Geophysicists are attributing the ice mass loss in Greenland and associated rise in sea levels as the major contributor to the current predicament of the North Pole.
Some NASA scientists however believe that melting of Greenland ice sheets is not a loner. They have used data from Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite to find out if water contained in the continents have any effect on the shift. The scientists found strong linkages in that data, with the predicted position of poles behaving as per the actual positions when the water data is used.
The combined Eurasian continental land mass has become drier than what it had been a decade ago due to widespread droughts. The recent deficit monsoons in India also played a major role in making the landmass drier than usual. Water deficit in the Caspian Sea area is the other major contributor.
The drier Eurasian continent has thus changed in mass, influencing the tilt in Earth's rotational orbit along the North and South Poles. The North Pole seems to be heading towards the British Isles for now and only a reversal in fortunes of rainfall over Eurasia and Greenland ice melt can arrest or reverse this pattern.