Warming oceans may diminish length of day

May 07, 2007

German scientists say a redistribution of ocean waters caused by global warming will likely affect the Earth's rotation and the length of days.

Felix Landerer and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg analyzed ocean predictions contained in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment. Since increasing heat captured by the oceans might raise sea level, thereby changing the ocean's circulation and affecting the ocean-bottom pressure, they said a significant portion of ocean mass may transfer away from deep waters to shallower shelf areas.

The researchers' model indicates that, by the end of the 22nd century as a result of expected warming, enough water mass could shift toward the Earth's axis of rotation to shorten the length of day by approximately 0.12 milliseconds.

The study is detailed in the current issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: New detector sniffs out origins of methane

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Did climate change help spark the Syrian war?

Mar 02, 2015

A new study says a record drought that ravaged Syria in 2006-2010 was likely stoked by ongoing manmade climate change, and that the drought may have helped propel the 2011 Syrian uprising. Researchers say ...

What is heat conduction?

Dec 09, 2014

Heat is an interesting form of energy. Not only does it sustain life, make us comfortable and help us prepare our food, but understanding its properties is key to many fields of scientific research. For example, ...

Recommended for you

New detector sniffs out origins of methane

12 hours ago

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its capacity to trap heat in Earth's atmosphere for a long time. The gas can originate from lakes and swamps, natural-gas pipelines, deep-sea ...

The tides they are a changin'

17 hours ago

Scientists from the University of Southampton have found that ocean tides have changed significantly over the last century at many coastal locations around the world.

Lightning plus volcanic ash make glass

Mar 03, 2015

In their open-access paper for Geology, Kimberly Genareau and colleagues propose, for the first time, a mechanism for the generation of glass spherules in geologic deposits through the occurrence of volcan ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.