Melting Glaciers Could Mean Longer Days

By on December 21, 2015

One probably unexpected effect of Earth’s rising temperatures may be longer days, according to researchers from Harvard University. But there’s no need to be too concerned — the difference they predict is so minimal that its occurrence would basically be impossible to notice.

The possibility starts with glaciers, the scientists say. As they continue to melt thanks to rising atmospheric temperatures, the water they release around the world will affect its balance, effectively distributing more weight over the Earth’s surface area. This change, according to model simulations, will very like slow the planet’s rotation and lengthen days by about a millisecond within the next century.

The researchers ran simulations for the past 100 years to see if their hypothesis held up to that era’s shrinking glaciers. The results backed it up, as days appear to have lengthened nearly one millisecond during that period, scientists say.

Top image: Melting glaciers. (Credit: Public Domain)

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