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Global warming causes North Pole shift: Study

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 19:46

Zee Media Bureau

Texas: A new study that has been published in the Geophysical Research Letters, has found that the location of the earth’s geographic poles is changing due to global warming.
The study, carried out by scientists at the University of Texas, Austin, says that the North Pole has shifted several centimetres east due to the loss of ice sheets.

Scientists said the pole drifted southeast toward northern Labrador, Canada, at a rate of about 6 centimetres per year between 1982 and 2005. But the direction and speed of the pole’s journey changed since 2005. It started moving rapidly east towards Greenland at a rate of more than 21 centimeters per year.

The study, which was carried out using data collected by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), was led by Jianli Chen, a geophysicist.

Scientists have long known that the locations of Earth’s geographic poles aren’t fixed. Over the course of the year, they shift seasonally as Earth’s distributions of snow, rain, and humidity change. “Usually [the shift] is circular, with a wobble,” says Chen.

Earth’s gravity field changes are measured by two probes by the GRACE, which can be used to study the shifts in the distribution of water and ice. Chen and his team used GRACE data to model how melting icecaps affect Earth’s mass distribution.

Chen also said that 90% of the polar shift post-2005 occurred due to loss of ice and rise in sea level.

The study was also reported in the international science journal Nature.

First Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 19:38
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