the hills are alive! (2)

As reported in Geophysical Research Letters, one effect of global warming is that mountains can get taller. The weight of ice held in glaciers can contribute to the depression of the earth’s crust into the viscous mantle; as the glaciers shrink the effect of that depression is reduced, and mountain ranges gradually uplift.

Glaciers in the Alps have been shrinking since the end of the last mini ice age, but evidence suggests the rate of shrinkage is increasing due to anthropogenic climate change, with knock on effects on the rate of mountain uplift.

Geological Society of London blog, 5 Mar 2014

a bent globe

square_earthBill McGuire, of the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre at University College London, and the author of a review in the journal of research in the area, said warming temperatures melted ice from ice sheets and glaciers and increased the amount of water in the oceans.

And the greater weight of the water in the oceans where sea level has risen as ice melts can “bend” the Earth’s crust.
The Telegraph (UK), 19 Apr 2010

waking the giant

giantThe disappearing ice, sea-level rise and floods already forecast for the 21st century are inevitable as the earth warms and weather patterns change – and they will shift the weight on the planet.

University College London’s Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards, calls this process “waking the giant” – something that can be done with just a few gigatonnes of water in the right – or wrong – place.
Newsweek, 28 Apr 2015

thanks to Badgerbod and Andrew Mark Harding

nail everything down!

floatingThe news: If you’re still having trouble believing climate change is a real thing, here is another item on the list of things affected by global warming: gravity.

According to the latest report by the European Space Agency, detailed satellite imaging has shown that “the loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region.”
World.Mic, 30 Sep 2014

lopsided world


Extra precipitation expected as a result of global warming could create a lopsided world in which sea ice increases around the South Pole while the far north melts away.

“Most people have heard of climate change and how rising air temperatures are melting glaciers and sea ice in the Arctic,” said Dylan Powell of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. “However, findings from our simulations suggest a counterintuitive phenomenon. Some of the melt in the Arctic may be balanced by increases in sea ice volume in the Antarctic.”
Live Science, 29 Jun 2005

shake-up call

New research compiled by Australian scientist Dr. Tom Chalko shows that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago. The research proves that destructive ability of earthquakes increases alarmingly fast and that this trend is set to continue, unless the problem of “global warming” is comprehensively and urgently addressed. “Consequences for inaction can only be catastrophic. There is no time for half-measures.”
CBS News, 18 Jun 2008

Earth has a fever!

The dinosaurs dominated the earth for 160 million years. We are in danger of putting our future at risk after a mere quarter of a million years. The force of the Gaia thesis has never been more apparent. When an alien infection invades the body, the body develops a fever in order to concentrate all its energies to eliminate the alien organism. In most cases it succeeds, and the body recovers. But where it does not, the body dies. The Guardian, 14/2/03

urgent warning!

As glacial meltwater floods into oceans and the global sea level rises with climate change, the distribution of weight on the Earth’s crust will shift from land to sea. This shift in weight distribution could cause volcanoes to erupt more often, some studies suggest. Humans in the 21st century probably won’t experience this shift, however, since this effect seems to lag by up to about 2,500 years.
Live Science, 5 Aug 2013

I feel the Earth move …..

University of Toronto study shows that rainfall-induced erosion affects movements of continental plates.

The erosion caused by rainfall directly affects the movement of continental plates beneath mountain ranges, says a University of Toronto geophysicist — the first time science has raised the possibility that human-induced climate change could affect the deep workings of the planet.

“In geology, we have this idea that erosion’s going to affect merely the surface,” says Russell Pysklywec, a professor of geology. “It goes right down to the mantle thermal engine — the thing that’s actually driving plate tectonics. It’s fairly surprising — it hasn’t been shown before.”
Eureka Alert, 20/4/06

islands sinking

The analysis clearly indicates that sea-level in this region (tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans) is rising. We expect that the continued and increasing rate of sea-level rise and any resulting increase in the frequency or intensity of extreme sea-level events will cause serious problems for the inhabitants of some of these islands during the 21st century.
John A. Church and others, Global and Planetary Change, Vol 53, Issue 3, September 2006, pages 155-168

islands not sinking

Using historical aerial photography and satellite images this study presents the first quantitive analysis of physical changes in 27 atoll island in the central Pacific over a 19 to 61 yr period….Results show 43% of islands remained stable on increased in area (43%) over the time frame of the analysis…Only 14% of study islands exhibited a net reduction in island area.
Arthur P. Webb and Paul S. Kench, Global and Planetary Change, Vol 72, Issue 3, 3 Jun 2010, pages 234-246.

everybody lean this way

Warming oceans could cause Earth’s axis to tilt in the coming century, a new study suggests. It calculates that oceans warmed by the rise in greenhouse gases can also cause the Earth to tilt – a conclusion that runs counter to older models, which suggested that ocean expansion would not create a large shift in the distribution of the Earth’s mass, according to Felix Landerer of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
New Scientist, 20 Aug 2009

Earth speeds up

Climate change can also affect the Earth’s spin. Previously, Felix Landerer of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. 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.
New Scientist 20 Aug 2009