Climate change will do more to the planet than cause temperatures to rise, warn scientists. Warming oceans may also change the Earth's axis to shift - and possibly make the planet spin faster, as well.
New research suggests that rising ocean levels will result in the northern pole of Earth's spin axis shifting by around 1.5 centimeters per year in the direction of Alaska (Insert your own "If only Sarah Palin was still governor" joke here) if projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that carbon dioxide levels will double in the next hundred years are accurate. That may sound like a lot, but according to NASA Jet Propulsion expert Felix Landerer, we shouldn't be too worried:
The Earth is like a spinning top, and if you put more mass on one side or other, the axis of rotation is going to shift slightly [but the] pole's not going to drift away in a crazy manner.
What it's likely to do, according to New Scientist magazine, is increase the planet's rate of spin:
Previously, Landerer and colleagues showed that global warming would cause Earth's mass to be redistributed towards higher latitudes. Since that pulls mass closer to the planet's spin axis, it causes the planet to rotate faster – just as an ice skater spins faster when she pulls her arms towards her body.
That does it - It's time to unleash Operation Let's All Move To The Center of The Earth.
Global warming could change Earth's tilt [New Scientist]