Discovery: The Oceans Make
The Earth Wobble
Note: With all the talk lately of how the Poles may be melting, of how two huge pieces of ice each bigger than Rhode Island have recently broken off the Antartic ice shelf, and reports that it is raining in the Antarctic for the first time in recorded history...this story takes on added significance. Could the melting of the poles cause a polar shift?
NEW YORK (AP) - The oceans are pushing Earth around.
That's the conclusion of a study of what makes the Earth wobble a few yards as it spins on its axis.
Prior studies have blamed winds pushing on Earth's surface, and differences in air pressure on one side of mountains vs. the other side.
But most studies have also suggested something else is going on too, probably in the oceans.
The new work finds evidence that the same two processes cited in the atmosphere are happening in the ocean too, with ocean currents and differences in water pressure contributing to the wobble.
The evidence emerged from a computer simulation of the oceans.
Rui Ponte of Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., and scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge present their study in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.
The wobble has been going on ``ever since the Earth was born,'' Ponte said.

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