File this under Things You May Not Have Known: Climate change, scientists say, is slowing Earth’s rotation ever so slightly.
It’s not a new idea. In fact, scientists have been looking at the relationship among melting glaciers, rising sea levels and a slowing Earth for years.
But it’s getting a new airing after publication of a paper matching the mean rise in sea levels during the 20th century to the slowdown in Earth’s spin.
It turns out that water melting off glaciers and moving away from the poles acts much like an ice skater’s outstretched arms, making every rotation that much slower, said Jerry Mitrovica, a Harvard University professor of geophysics and lead author of the paper.
How much slower?