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Climate Change Causes the Earth’s Axis to Shift

Apr 11, 2016 04:44 AM EDT
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Climate change has long been considered a threat to human beings, but a new study showed that climate change also affects how the Earth tilts its axis in an interesting and harmless way.

Researchers already know that the Earth's spin axis has been drifting and this is attributed to the melting ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica.

In a report from CBS News, Erik Ivins, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the study's co-author, said about 275 trillion pounds of ice is being lost at West Antarctica while East Antarctica gains 165 trillion pounds of ice yearly, causing the Earth to wobble further towards Canada.

But the new study, published in the journal Science Advances, showed that changes in the terrestrial water storage also play a crucial role in the Earth's decadal swings.

For the study, researchers used data collected from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite that can detect any change of mass in Earth's water, which consists of ice sheets and oceans, Christian Science Monitor reported.

Ivin thought that the Earth's flipping is a natural phenomenon that happens all the time and characterizes the entire Earth's rotation time.

According to Scientific American, the study does not provide any concrete data to indicate that the recent climate change causing the Earth to tilt are man-made.

Even if climate change tilts the Earth's axis, Jianli Chen, a senior research scientist at the University of Texas' Center for Space Research, said there is nothing to worry about.

However, Chen still personally believes that human activities are behind the drastic shift in the pole.

Chen is the first to link climate change and pole shift in 2013.

"It is just another interesting effect of climate change," Chen added.

Even when it is not harmful, scientists believe that studying the cause of Earth's axis shift is helpful in highlighting the profound and real impacts of human activities are having on the planet, said Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona, in a statement.

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