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Q & A: earth slowing and warming

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Most recent answer: 02/20/2015
Q:
I just read that the Earth's rotation is not completely constant and is slowing down. If it is, could is be a partial contribution to global warming? With longer seasons? And can the axis shift so much as to shift the rotation axis?
- Cody (age 18)
NJ, US
A:

There are a variety of processes like that that affect climate over periods of tens or hundreds of millions of years. The gradual changes in the Earth's rotational speed, gradual drifts in the Sun's output, and rearrangements of the continents due to tectonic processes are among those processes. The processes that concern us are the ones that make big changes too fast for evolution to adjust. These processes can include massive volcanic eruptions, asteroid strikes, and our own massive emissions of CO2 and methane, which have already changed the climate significantly in the last century.

Mike W.


(published on 02/20/2015)

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