Monday , July 22 2024
Home / Environment / Climate change is shifting the poles… but we are not sure why
North Pole

Climate change is shifting the poles… but we are not sure why

The North Pole is moving closer to London along the Greenwich Meridian according to Shannon Hall in Scientific American:

“The north pole is on the run. Although it can drift as much as 10 meters across a century, sometimes returning to near its origin, it has recently taken a sharp turn to the east. Climate change is the likely culprit, yet scientists are debating how much melting ice or changing rain patterns affect the pole’s wanderlust.”

Two hypotheses have developed to explain the shift.  First, there are those who argue that the uplift resulting from melting polar ice – particularly the Greenland icecap – is responsible for the shift:

“Around 2000 the pole took an eastward turn; it stopped drifting toward Hudson Bay, Canada, and started drifting along the Greenwich meridian in the direction of London. In 2013, Jianli Chen, a geophysicist at The University of Texas at Austin, was the first to attribute the sudden change to accelerated melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet.”

Second there are those who think that the change in continental rainfall patterns may be at least partially responsible:

“Although the predominant cause of the pole’s shift still turned out to be Greenland, a recent dry spell that has overrun Eurasia is also driving the pole toward the east.  With less rainfall on a continent over time, it starts to shed some bulk.  Eurasia, which was quite lush 10 years ago, is not the only continent to experience a drought.”

More work is needed before the polar shift can definitely be attributed to man-made climate change; although this is the most likely candidate.  Of greater concern is what impact the shift will have on future warming.

Check Also

A different intermittency

For an insight into how the Green Industrial Complex operates, you need only look at …