Something strange is happening to our planet. Around the year 2000, the North rotational pole started migrating eastward at a vigorous rate.
The rotational axis of the pole is in constant flux which causes the pole to drift from its position. Due to Earth’s wobble there is rough change in these spots. Around 15 years ago the North Pole mysteriously started changing its direction, heading towards Greenwich meridian with melting ice sheets.
The movement has been blamed for disturbing the natural climate.
But NASA scientists reached this dramatic shift of North Pole and found a startling answer. Scientists used data from NASA’s GRACE satellites to check whether there is any relation between land water and displacement of pole and found that there is.
Surendra Adhikari of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and his colleague and co-author Erik Ivins believe that shift is because of a massive loss of water from lakes and aquifers in Eurasia, the Caspian Sea, and India.
“This is the first time we have solid evidence that changes in land water distribution on a global scale also shift which direction the axis moves to,” said .
Eurasia which lies between Europe and Asia experienced deficit of water.
Water bodies across Eurasia have disappeared over course of time and humans have extracted large volumes of water from ground through pumping which has made some places drier and others wetter. Melting ice combined with disappearing deposits of water are the reason for dramatic shift of pole.
Eurasia includes Aral Sea, which NASA found has now actually disappeared due to human activities.
Adhikari realised that spin axis is especially vulnerable to changes occurring around 45 degrees latitude and that is directly linked to changes in India.
Explorers and scientists have been trying to accurately measure the position of these poles since 1899 using position of stars and, later, satellite telemetry. Before 21st century, the pole position wandered around the Hudson Bay in Canada and moved at a rate of 7 cm a year, but this is believed to be related to the loss of Laurentide ice sheet, which covered Canada and US during last ice age.
After that the axis spin has taken a new course and is moving east towards Greenwich meridian. Notably, it is moving twice the speed of its earlier one.
In spite of this disturbing find, the good news is that scientists are able to predict the change of pole in future and track its movement.