rotate

Earth Is Rotating Faster !! What Is Chandler Wobble? – Free PDF Download

 

The Observation

  • Earth takes 24 hours (23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09053 seconds) to rotate once on its axis. Classic textbook knowledge, right?
  • Well, not anymore…!! The reality is constantly changing and so are the facts.

The News

The News

  • On July 29 2022, Earth recorded the shortest day, thus establishing the fact that it is spinning faster than its usual speed.
  • The planet completed a full spin in 59 milliseconds less than its standard 24-hour rotation.
  • It is interesting to note that this is not the first time that the Earth has quickened its pace.

The News

  • The Earth completed its spin in 1.59 milliseconds less than 24 hours on July 29 this year, confirming speculations by scientists that the Earth’s rotation is picking up pace. The minute change was detected by the atomic clock that is used to measure the rotational speed of the planet to the minutest detail.
  • This is a fluctuating change from the past when timeanddate.com in 2020 reported that the shortest day was 1.47 milliseconds, less than 24 hours, on July 19 2020.
  • In 2021, the shortest day was fractionally longer than in 2020.

What factors affect Earth’s Rotation?

  • The Earth’s rotation is affected by major forces of nature like
    1. Churnings in inner and outer layers like core & Mantle
    2. Oceans & their characteristics
    3. Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanoes, Large air masses
    4. Climate Change

Why is rotation speed changing?

  • There are no conclusive explanations/proofs at the moment to decipher why Earth has been spinning fast. However, there are multiple theories.
    1. Some claim that weight around poles has seen a drop due to the melting of glaciers. (Climate Change)
    2. Some others note that change in movement of the molten core of our planet is responsible.
    3. Some believe that seismic activity could be the reason.
    4. Some believe its because of “Chandler wobble” (Most acceptable as of now)

Why is rotation speed changing?

Chandler Wobble

  • According to NASA, “Chandler Wobble” is a motion exhibited by Earth as it rotates on its axis.
  • Scientists in 2000s solved this mystery and said that the principal cause of the Chandler wobble is fluctuating pressure on the bottom of the ocean, caused by temperature and salinity changes and wind-driven changes in the circulation of the oceans.
    1. It is said that, two-thirds of the Chandler wobble is caused by ocean-bottom pressure changes, the remaining one-third is by fluctuations in atmospheric pressure.
  • Note: Chandler wobble is an example of the kind of motion that can occur for a freely rotating object that is not a sphere. It is called a free nutation. It was discovered by and named after American astronomer Seth Carlo Chandler.

What will happen if it continues?

  • Scientists are yet to fully comprehend the effects that this minute change will have when compiled over a century.

What will happen if it continues?

  • As of now, scientists claim that, if the Earth continues to rotate at a faster pace, it could lead to the introduction of negative leap seconds. The purpose of introducing these negative leap seconds would be to keep the rate at which the Earth orbits around the Sun consistent with measurements from atomic clocks.
  • This could potentially create a wounding effect for IT systems and software and GPS satellites relying on the clock. If a negative leap second is added then, the clock moves from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 before resetting at 00:00:00.
  • The changes in atomic clocks will affect GPS satellites which won’t take into account the Earth’s changing rotation. This means that GPS satellites will quickly become useless. Apart from that, smartphones, computers, and other communications systems will render useless as they are synchronised with Network Time Protocol (NTP) servers.

Food For Thought

  • The earth’s surface with respect to the planet’s center rotates once every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09053 seconds which is called the sidereal period.
  • Earth’s circumference is roughly 40,075 kilometers, which means the surface of the earth at the equator moves at a speed of 460 m/s or 1656 km/h.
  • What will happen if the rotation speed increases?
    1. Say 1657 km/h..!!!
  • Note: Earth’s orbital speed averages 29.78 km/s (107, 208 km/h)

Food For Thought

What will happen if the rotation speed of Earth (around its own axis) increases slightly?

  1. One’s Weight at equator would drop
  2. There will be stronger cyclones in tropical regions
  3. There will be stronger equatorial ocean currents

Which of the above statement/s is/are correct?

Select the correct answer from code given below:

  1. a) 1 & 2 only
  2. b) 2 & 3 only
  3. c) 1 & 3 only
  4. d) 1, 2 & 3

 

 

 

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