ScienceAlert: Why the Earth Wobbles

About 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is water and the planet also has a molten core melted core, so the planet wobbles as it spins. The wobbling increased over the 20th century and changed direction with the start of the 21st century, and NASA researchers suggest that melting sea ice is a contributing factor. “NASA piled up a century's worth of data on planetary rotation, sea level changes, and continental mass changes, and analysed it alongside the latest models on the steady flow of molten rock far beneath Earth's crust,” writes Mike McRae for ScienceAlert. “Thanks to factors like its imperfect shape, uneven distribution of mass, and the nudging of our planet by other objects in our Solar System, it doesn't spin neatly on its axis once a day…. The precise position of this off-centre spin axis also changes, making the planet 'wobble' over every six to 14 years.” The researchers measure the wobbling at about 17 centimeters per year since the year 2000. – YaleGlobal

ScienceAlert: Why the Earth Wobbles

NASA releases data that suggests climate change and humans’ reliance on fossil fuels as a reason behind the Earth’s increased wobbling as it spins on its axis
Mike McRae
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Read the article from ScienceAlert about NASA’s reasearch on why the earth wobbles.

This research was published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Mike McRae, staff writer for ScienceAlert, has been writing science and developing educational resources for over a decade. He’s been a writer for the CSIRO’s Double Helix and ECOS publications, and is the author of Tribal Science: Brains, Beliefs, and Bad Ideas (University of Queensland Publishing).

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