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Is The Earth's Rotation Changing?

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the moving-slowly-along dept.

Science 372

Roland Piquepaille writes "We all know about the current controversies associated with the ozone layer or the global warming phenomenon. Now, the NASA's Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) is warning us that atmospheric changes or El Niño events can affect the Earth's rotation. During El Niño years, for example, the rotation of the Earth may slow ever so slightly because of stronger winds, increasing the length of a day by a fraction of a millisecond. David A. Salstein, an atmospheric scientist from Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., led a recent study about this possible effect. Salstein looked at meteorological and astronomical measurements from different sources and found they were in good agreement. Check this column for a synthesis. For technical explanations, images and animations, please read this NASA paper, Changes in the Earth's rotation are in the wind."

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372 comments

Movie Material (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476667)

Great. So now can we have some lame movie made about it where they set off nuclear devices in the sky to get the earth spinning again?

Re:Movie Material (-1, Offtopic)

talesout (179672) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476942)

I have a better movie idea.

It seems that the moon is moving away from the Earth at approximately a quarter of an inch every year or so. Something like that. That's actual fact. Also fact is that as the moon moves further away it has less of a stabalizing effect on the Earth's "tilt". So, we could end up with the Earth's axis rotating around as much as ninety degrees. So what? Imagine if you will, the equator passing through the coldest areas and the poles being in line with the brightest/hottest areas of the planet. Problems? You might say so.

So how about we get some moron to go up there and push the moon back towards the Earth. Then, in true Hollywood disaster film fashion, they can overshoot and send the moon spiralling downward towards the surface. That'd be a nice exciting one. Stabilize that orbit motherfuckers.

fp (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476668)

first post

boom (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476674)

boom

Hey, subscriptions aren't working... (-1, Offtopic)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476677)

...cause I don't have one, and the title is a red-bar.

Re:Hey, subscriptions aren't working... (0, Offtopic)

PunchMonkey (261983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476738)

...cause I don't have one, and the title is a red-bar.

SSSsssshhhhhhh!!! Keep quiet. Or they might also notice that everyone has a free subscription to the bsd [slashdot.org] section. Every story there shows up with a red title bar!!!

Re:Hey, subscriptions aren't working... (4, Funny)

arnie_apesacrappin (200185) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476765)

cause I don't have one, and the title is a red-bar

Try moving towards the screen really fast. It should look green then. Of course, make sure you stop before you run into the screen, because a collision with a monitor at speeds close to the speed of light might hurt.

well known (5, Funny)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476683)

This has been known since 1951 [imdb.com].

since 1900 (4, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476870)

Well-known branch of astronomy called "LOD" or length of day measurements. Changes up to a millisecond or so each year. Atomic clocks and satellites allowed microsecond precision now. Weather, magnetic storms, earthquakes, ocean currents all tought to affect LOD.

NASA and credibility (-1, Flamebait)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476685)

An organisation that could not 'predict' major changes in the flight path of the Columbia, rather not research on micro-changes in the Earth's movement.

Days getting longer? (5, Funny)

kaszeta (322161) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476691)

The days are getting longer? Cool, I could use an extra five minutes each day to read Slashdot...

PS3 consequence? (2, Funny)

Txurlo (555886) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476695)

Maybe it's because of all the people holding their breath over the PS3 coming out this year?

Beans! (2, Funny)

skaffen42 (579313) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476696)

for example, the rotation of the Earth may slow ever so slightly because of stronger winds, increasing the length of a day by a fraction of a millisecond

And I thought the day only felt longer after eating at a Mexican restaurant.

Re:Beans! (2, Funny)

rabiteman (585341) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476953)

for example, the rotation of the Earth may slow ever so slightly because of stronger winds, increasing the length of a day by a fraction of a millisecond

And I thought the day only felt longer after eating at a Mexican restaurant.

I think it's clear that the real culprit is windmills. If wind pushing on the Earth makes its rotation slow down, it logically follows that the more surface area to be pushed on, the greater the effect, whether or not you eat Mexican food. This means that those giant canvas sails on windmills aren't just grinding grain for Dutchmen in their clogs, they're lengthening the day! I've seen many other posts here lauding the extended day for a variety of reasons, but a longer day is simply no good, as Sealab 2021 is already shown on TV far too infrequently, and those fractions of a millisecond add up over the course of a week! Our only possible course of action: demolish all windmills, so we can see our delicious animation seven fractions of a millisecond sooner every week. Yup, no choice but to destroy all windmills... and that damn Sydney opera house.

SUPERMAN! (5, Funny)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476700)

I wish Superman would get off his ass and do that whole 'spin-the-world' backwards so we could go back in time and prevent the term 'El Nino' from being invented - which so many bad stand-up comics have used to no end. Also, I would not buy my Voodoo 3 card.

Re:SUPERMAN! (1, Funny)

tekunokurato (531385) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476851)

Well, I think you miss the point of the article. Maybe you should read it first next time.

What they're saying is that now, we don't NEED a mythical being like superman to accomplish time travel. Now, we can just release some really fucked up greenhouse gasses and eventually mess with air currents enough that time travel will be easy and real.

I wouldn't buy my voodoo 3 either.

Re:SUPERMAN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476943)

Hmm, you're being a dick for some reason but that's okay. You've got to deal with that on your own time. Good luck with that.

The article never mentinoed the ability to travel backwards in time. I understood the article just fine and don't need your help in understanding it. I made a JOKE - is that okay? Jesus christ, don't be so uptight.

don't you see (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476702)


El nino is bad, but millions of vehicles, no sorry billions of vehicles and industries belching out oil/gas/chemical laden fumes is perfectly fine and will have no effect on the world or its climate

we are a cancer on this planet and the sooner mother nature deals with us the better, though if bombs hit iraq next week that might come a little sooner for some of us

Re:don't you see (1)

oni (41625) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476832)

Not bad as trolls go. I give it a 5 out of 10. You should try to incorporate some kind of political or religious rant as well. That will get more people to bite.

we are a cancer on this planet and the sooner mother nature deals with us the better

Whether we destroy the Earth or the Sun does - it will be gone some day. The only chance that any of "mother nature's" creations have of getting off this rock is if homo sapiens carry them off. Otherwise, they're all doomed. We'll do the best we can but if we screw it up - so what? The Universe will not notice.

Re:don't you see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476924)

as you dont seem to care much about anything and value yourself fairly low please remove yourself from the genepool, some other more caring people need the air to breathe. thanks.

Oh great, (2, Insightful)

Quila (201335) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476703)

Yet another thing the greens can attach to (supposedly man-made) global warming.

Re:Oh great, (0, Offtopic)

MojoMonkey (444942) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476804)

Too bad I don't have mod points, I'd mod this up to insightful. ESPECIALLY after reading the post directly above it.

Re:Oh great, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476886)

You mean flamebait, right?

Re:Oh great, (5, Funny)

stinky wizzleteats (552063) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476808)

This is clearly a problem with SUVs. A vehicle as heavy as an SUV puts down a trememdous amount of torque when it moves, and this action, combined with the great suburban conspiracy of living to the East of their workplace (you go faster going home, so more torque to slow down the Earth), are creating this problem.

Re:Oh great, (1, Flamebait)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476882)

Oh no! Scientific experiments revealing the truth! The horror of having to deal with the consequences of spitting toxic shit at unnatural rates into the air for centuries! Let's burn their textbooks, lest they try to save the environment!

Karma to burn, baby (4, Insightful)

Quila (201335) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476982)

It appears the link between warming and rotation is pretty good. What is not good is the link between man's action and what appears to be part of the Earth's normal warming and cooling cycles.

Besides, I thought we were to all have died from Global Cooling by now, at least that was what they were saying in the 1970s. How did cooling switch to warming so fast?

Wait a second... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476705)

this is really just a fake news to hype up "The Core", isn't it?

cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476708)

i get an extra millisecond of slep now!! woohoo. In 3600000 years i'll be an extra hour.

Re:cool (1)

MasTRE (588396) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476826)

By that time we'll be long gone (taking El Nino & Nina with us), which will allow the planet to return to its wonderfully green, healthy, life-spawning self. It's really not the planet we're harming, it's to ourselves and our offspring plus all other life which is innocent. Ignorant beings, we are.

Well, duh (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476712)

...since the poles flip/shift every few million years, it should be no surprise that rotation would suffer in the mean time.

By the way...when is the next pole shift due?

tomorrow at 9:15.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476810)

a little birdie told me

Re:Well, duh (4, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476845)

In two months.

http://www.poleshiftprepare.com/poleshift.htm

"I myself have outstanding personal knowledge and conviction that the cataclysms will occur in May 2003, which is why I am openly stating this on the Internet, and appealing to similar individuals who wish to take steps in preparing for it."

IT MAY SEEM FUNY NOW BUT U THANK HIM & HIS OUTSTNADING CONVICTION TO TELL US ON TEH INTRANET WHEN TEH POLE SHFITS MAY 2003!!!11 PREPAR URSELF!!!

^-- How my IQ dropped after reading his article... I guess it's the Internet we love and hate. :-) Don't forget to visit the main page [poleshiftprepare.com] either, complete with pictures of his Survival Tents. This sure is stuff for Something Awful [somethingawful.com]. =)

So it DOES matter when I fart? (-1, Redundant)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476714)

No, seriously, this could suck. I certainly wouldn't want the earth's rotation to stop. Even IF I was on the terminator.

Superman? (2, Funny)

sporty (27564) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476717)

Just so long as it doesn't start spinning backwards. I dont' feel like going through my childhood again, especially not in reverse.

Re:Superman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476873)

I would. Eventually it will all end with an orgasm.

Re:Superman? (1)

Flarg! (265195) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476976)

"I would. Eventually it will all end with an orgasm."

It's the point 9 months after (before?) that point that would really suck.
"Hey, there's my mom... what are you doing?!? Don't shove me in there! Noooooaugh..."

This is news? (2, Insightful)

hottoh (540941) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476720)

Physics tells me that a gas and a fluid have many similar characteristics. The most significant difference of course is a liquid is approximately 1000 times more dense than a the atmosphere.

Consequently the oceans slow the rotational period of the earth. I read about the physics of the tides twenty some years ago. The physics was clear then.

Difference between a gas and a fluid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476957)

I think you meant the differences between gases and liquids. Gases are fluids. Liquids are fluids.

Of course, if your gases are liquid, you better check your underpants.

I listened to Art Bell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476721)

And for years, he had guests saying that the poles were going to shift! Oh no! They were right! We're sooo screwed.

Would be only short term (3, Insightful)

BongoBonga (317728) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476727)


It seems like a reasonable enough argument that the rotation period of the earth would change during an el nino period. But once this the el nino effect had ended the rotation of the earth would have to return to normal, so any effect that might occur would be only short term. Also due to the large difference in the mass of the solid earth and the earths atmosphere, the change in the earths period of rotaion would be so small as to be unmeasurable and therefore unimportant.

Short Term? (5, Insightful)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476772)

When you're dealing in matters of planets, short-term is a thousand years.

And what are you talking about with your statement about the change being "unmeasurable"? The point of the article is that it is being measured.

Re:Would be only short term (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476956)

what would supply the FORCE for it to return? You seem to forget a little thing called physics...

An hour extra sleep (0)

matto14 (593826) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476729)

I can't wait til they add up and equal an hour. Just think an hour of extra sllep.

It's a bird, It's a plane.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476734)

It's Kal-El Nino!

Mr Johnson and Mr Patel (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476735)

I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's running out of patience. And so am I!

For some time now I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street. Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me, but so far I haven't been able to discover what. I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is.

As for Mr Patel, don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good sources - that he is, in reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the street telling them that if we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by one.

Some of my neighbours say, if I've got proof, why don't I go to the police? But that's simply ridiculous. The police will say that they need evidence of a crime with which to charge my neighbours.

They'll come up with endless red tape and quibbling about the rights and wrongs of a pre-emptive strike and all the while Mr Johnson will be finalising his plans to do terrible things to me, while Mr Patel will be secretly murdering people. Since I'm the only one in the street with a decent range of automatic firearms, I reckon it's up to me to keep the peace. But until recently that's been a little difficult. Now, however, George W. Bush has made it clear that all I need to do is run out of patience, and then I can wade in and do whatever I want!

And let's face it, Mr Bush's carefully thought-out policy towards Iraq is the only way to bring about international peace and security. The one certain way to stop Muslim fundamentalist suicide bombers targeting the US or the UK is to bomb a few Muslim countries that have never threatened us.

That's why I want to blow up Mr Johnson's garage and kill his wife and children. Strike first! That'll teach him a lesson. Then he'll leave us in peace and stop peering at me in that totally unacceptable way.

Mr Bush makes it clear that all he needs to know before bombing Iraq is that Saddam is a really nasty man and that he has weapons of mass destruction - even if no one can find them. I'm certain I've just as much justification for killing Mr Johnson's wife and children as Mr Bush has for bombing Iraq.

Mr Bush's long-term aim is to make the world a safer place by eliminating 'rogue states' and 'terrorism'. It's such a clever long-term aim because how can you ever know when you've achieved it? How will Mr Bush know when he's wiped out all terrorists? When every single terrorist is dead? But then a terrorist is only a terrorist once he's committed an act of terror. What about would-be terrorists? These are the ones you really want to eliminate, since most of the known terrorists, being suicide bombers, have already eliminated themselves.

Perhaps Mr Bush needs to wipe out everyone who could possibly be a future terrorist? Maybe he can't be sure he's achieved his objective until every Muslim fundamentalist is dead? But then some moderate Muslims might convert to fundamentalism. Maybe the only really safe thing to do would be for Mr Bush to eliminate all Muslims?

It's the same in my street. Mr Johnson and Mr Patel are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of other people in the street who I don't like and who - quite frankly - look at me in odd ways. No one will be really safe until I've wiped them all out.

My wife says I might be going too far but I tell her I'm simply using the same logic as the President of the United States. That shuts her up.

Like Mr Bush, I've run out of patience, and if that's a good enough reason for the President, it's good enough for me. I'm going to give the whole street two weeks - no, 10 days - to come out in the open and hand over all aliens and interplanetary hijackers, galactic outlaws and interstellar terrorist masterminds, and if they don't hand them over nicely and say 'Thank you', I'm going to bomb the entire street to kingdom come.

It's just as sane as what George W. Bush is proposing - and, in contrast to what he's intending, my policy will destroy only one street.

Re:Mr Johnson and Mr Patel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476811)

Did Mr. Patel invade his neighbor's house 12 years ago? And then lose a war against the rest of the neighborhood for it? And then agree to specific terms which he has now violated?

Re:Mr Johnson and Mr Patel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476853)


You forgot to mention that you know Mr. Johnson and Mr. Patel are dangerous, because you sold them a couple of guns the other day.

I also can't help noticing that you can express yourself a lot more fluently than Mr. Bush. Perhaps you should have his job? I know I'd feel safer.

Offtopic (0, Offtopic)

the_bean42 (415720) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476939)

It's funny because it's true !

Ok, damn offtopic and you deserve an offtopic mod, but still...

I'm brave enough not to post anonymously.

Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476737)

Big deal. Not only isn't this new "news", but it's been that way since the start billions of years ago. And here I was hoping that the article had some real information.

OK, there's only one way to solve this ... (4, Funny)

BabyDave (575083) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476740)

Everybody run east as fast as you can, to speed the Earth up again!

/me waits for hundreds of pedantic comments explaining why this wouldn't work

Re:OK, there's only one way to solve this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476896)

Cause we'd all ahve to run westward

Re:OK, there's only one way to solve this ... (2, Informative)

theycallmeB (606963) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476963)

Well, actually we all need to run WEST if we want to speed the Earth up a little. And it would work, just not as well as some giant rocket engine (think cartoon villian plots sized giant rocket). You work on running, I'll build the rocket.

Old news? (4, Interesting)

AuraSeer (409950) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476753)

I'm sorry, but isn't this widely known? I learned about this effect in my 9th grade science class. Uneven heating of the surface can cause uneven wind resistance blah blah blah... and several million years from now, the day might be a few seconds longer.

Does simply adding the words "El Nino" makes people think this is a new, important idea? The planet's rotation speed is also affected by the impact of meteors and space dust, but I don't see anyone publishing studies to measure that infinitesimal effect.

Re:Old news? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476874)

It's not just this article. Everyone acts like we're just discovering weather since "El Nino". When it snows it's "El Nino", when it's sunny, its "El Nino". When it rains, it's "El Nino".

I mean, the earth had weather before someone decided to coin the phrase "El Nino". We've had "El Ninos" before there was "El Nino".

Personally I think "El Nino" is one of the stupidest and most bogus buzzword of the last century. It's really just code for "Greenhouse Effect", but hipper sounding (hipper = less hippiesh).

Re:Old news? (1, Troll)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476917)

Does simply adding the words "El Nino" makes people think this is a new, important idea? The planet's rotation speed is also affected by the impact of meteors and space dust, but I don't see anyone publishing studies to measure that infinitesimal effect.

No, but it allows the fringe environmentalists to scream "Stop global warming or stop the earth."

But what about the moon? (5, Interesting)

OldAndSlow (528779) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476756)

It seems to me that whatever changes strong winds make in the earth's rotation must be temporary because of the conservation of angular momentum. When the wind pick up, the earth slows down. Wehn the winds die down, the earth speeds up again.

If you really want to get agitated about the earth's rotation slowing down, consider the moon. Tides act as a brake on the earth/moon system. So the rotation of the earth slows, and the moon (to conserve angular momentum) moves ever so slowly away from the earth.

Re:But what about the moon? (0, Troll)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476894)

yes but the moon is moving away from the earth so the tides become less and less prevelent....one day, the moon will be gone and then we are in deep shit.

Re:But what about the moon? (4, Informative)

tbmaddux (145207) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476981)

whatever changes strong winds make in the earth's rotation must be temporary because of the conservation of angular momentum.
This would be true if you neglected dissipation/friction, which you shouldn't.
If you really want to get agitated about the earth's rotation slowing down, consider the moon.
Most studies of this sort of thing do have to account for the moon and its tidal coupling to the earth as a leading-order effect on the earth's rotation. The linked article is exploring atmospherics as a second-order effect. Another important second-order effect on the earth's rotation is glacial isostatic adjustment, the viscoelastic response of the earth to loading/unloading from the different mass distributions of glaciers and oceans on the earth's surface. As the earth changes shape, [slashdot.org] its spin rate changes.

This adjustment also important to us because it is of the same order at many locations as the change in sea level due to the temperature of the ocean.

Retarded (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476760)

This theory is as retarted as the theory that cow farts are causing global warming? The earth's rotation is slowing because of increased winds? Come on! How arogant has the scientific community become to believe this kind of crap.

so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476778)

Does it matter? We cant change it back

Really !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476781)

If this true, that the days will be longer...
I definitely have to renegotiate my dialy rate as a consultant... longer days = more pay !!

Earth rotational slashdot effect (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476785)

If at exactly 18:00 GMT today, every slashdot user simultaneously sprints due west, for the few moments we're all running, the rotation of the earth should be faster. Cool!

Slow day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476788)

This must be Slashdot's news equivalent of watching wallpaint dry. OMG d00DZ EART ROTATIO SLOW d0N @ 1 MicROSeC0nDZ

Re:Slow day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476852)

Yeah, must be an extra slow day today when they post this kind of crap.

Good for sleep.... (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476790)

increasing the length of a day by a fraction of a millisecond

Maybe this'll help catch up on sleep after staying up until 3am playing counterstrike when I have to get up at 7 for work....

Astroturfing for "The Core" movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476807)

All this crap, including a bit I saw with a scientist going on about the "nuclear reactor" at the center of the earth is all studio-hype for "The Core", a movie sure to sink without a trace once it's released.

Mountains do the same thing (4, Informative)

silvaran (214334) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476817)

When snow collects on mountains, it increases the earth's radius ever so slightly... so the actual day span increases by a fraction of a second. It's a small fraction though, but it still exists. This happens more during the winter when the earth is farther away from the sun. Anyways, it's nothing to get worried about. We've been dealing with rotational inconsistencies for awhile.

What's the average length of a day? Something like 23 hours, 59 minutes and 56 seconds or something like that. Which is why we have a leap year:

If the year is divisible by 4
Unless it's divisible by 100
But always if it's divisible by 400

So hey... leapYear = ((year%400)==0)||(((year%4)==0)&&((year%100)!=0));

Can someone answer this though: Do we manually synchronize our clocks every once and awhile (say every few years anyways) just to make sure? I heard a rumor about it (most people have to reset their clocks after the power goes out anyways, and PC clocks are horribly inaccurate), so is this true?

Re:Mountains do the same thing (1)

skillet-thief (622320) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476995)

Is this kind of like the spinning ice-skater effect? (Sorry about lack of precise tech vocabulary...) If you're spinning and you stick your arms out, you slow down, and then pull them back in, you speed up.

If this is going on, then I would be quite reassured, because it would be a drag if the earth just slowed down so much that it stopped. One morning you wake up and the sun isn't moving anymore! 11:00 a.m. for the rest of eternity. Or: worse, the earth stops during the night, and you never even wake up... That would really, really suck.

That is why I am betting on the ice-skater effect to save humanity. Please do not explain why I am wrong.

Pole SHift? (1)

captpiett1 (7076) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476822)

Could this be related to the Pole Shift on the next passing of Nibiru / Planet X?

YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476860)

Art Bell told me so. We are in trouble!

So what? (1)

psychofox (92356) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476827)

In what way is this a "warning". I can't think of any ill effects which could occur as a result of a day taking a few milliseconds longer.

I'd say its more of a "curiosity".

Earth rotation is slowing continually... (3, Informative)

little1973 (467075) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476838)

...due to the Moon and the Sun. On one day the rotation of the Earth will stop and as we only see one side of the Moon, only one side of the Earth will face the Sun. Once I calculated the time when the rotation will stop and I got about 5 billion years (assuming a linear slowdown). It's quite strange because that's about the remaining life of the Sun, too.

A fraction of a milli-second? (1)

Sk3lt (464645) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476844)

Is that really anything to worry about?

I mean having a day last 24 hours and a fraction of a milli-second surely won't alter evolution will it?

Related Topic? (0, Funny)

MrIcee (550834) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476846)

In a, perhaps related topic.... yesterday a friend and I were wondering if the troop buildup in the middle east could be measured as a change against the earth. Specifically, considering that our idiotic president has now built up 250,000 troops in the area... and consider the average soldier probably weighs in at around 170 lbs... that would be quite an additional weight in an area where the weight would not have been eariler. If we also factor in the weight of each soldiers gear, the tanks, planes, ships, food and supplies, etc... it is quite a bit of weight that has shifted from a large area (throughout the US) to a small area.

Though I'm sure our *smirking chimp* hasn't considered this, or any of the other implications of this massive stupidity we are embarked on.

"ever so slightly" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476872)

I LOVE that phase! I first heard it from Rod Taylor in George Pal's version of H.G.Wells "Time Machine from 1960.

It is so elegant and so English. And no, I am not gay - I am more of a lesbian trapped in a men's body.

This story is a plant advertising a movie (4, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476881)

This smells a lot like a planted science article advertising the movie The Core [thecoremovie.com] ( opening march 28) .

Just like the last one planted by the same folks. Who? its a promo for the movie "the CORE" about what? the slowing rotation of the earth's core (caused by a secret weapon project).

the last one was also in slash dot too. its was on drilling to the earths core with advanced materials. (sorry I cant locate the slashdot article right now, though I did see the last one about the mars core [slashdot.org]

in that case the movie distibuter's publicity folks were using real science and real information. They were just responible for planting news articles about it strategically. this smells the same, and the timing makes it clear.

People banging on about el nino (3, Funny)

alnapp (321260) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476885)

and other climatic changes certainly make the day seem longer

Yeah right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476891)

Wind can change the rotation of earth like losing hair can speed up my movements...

Reading this I have no questions left why Columbia did crash.. :))))

Main topic. (4, Insightful)

Fastlane (449058) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476912)

It seems everyone here is missing the main topic. (And not just the ones modded Offtopic)
The main cause of the earth's rotation slowing _during EL Nino years_ is the change in the angular momentum of the earth. This means, that as some point, the angular momentum will change BACK!! Hence, CONSERVATION of momentum. The net effect in the long run is no change in the earth's rotational period due to this phenomenon.
However, it has been a well known fact that the earth's day will gradually grow longer. One of the causes of this is the earth becoming tidally locked with the moon, the way the moon is now. It's just a function of relative gravitational force.
And offtopic: The geologic record does indicate the magnetic poles reversing every 10k-12k years. You'll have to research the 'why' on your own though. I only remember from my astronomy classes that it does...

The truth is out there, but the server is down or not responding.

Cause or effect? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476915)

Is the climate changes of el Niño slowing down the earth, or is the slowing down of the earth the origin of el Niño? Or maybe have both the same common cause?

If you two related things don't mean that the first named is the cause and the second one the effect, even if in theory one could make some impact in the other.

Does this mean .... (3, Funny)

Spacelord (27899) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476921)

Okay ... so the days are getting longer, but what I want to know is: does this mean that I get to sleep a bit longer every night or do I have to work a bit longer every day??

This is not news... (3, Insightful)

Ramss Morales (13327) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476932)

If I recall correctly, earth rotation, in the beginning, was just 12 hours, and it's been slowing down mainly due to the tides.

Title and teaser misrepresent article (2, Informative)

nniillss (577580) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476947)

1. The rotation of the Earth decays slowly because of interaction with the moon, i.e. the friction of the tides.

2. The interaction between Earth (solid ground plus oceans) and atmosphere can only exchange each participant's orbital momentum; it does not change the total orbital momentum.

3. Therefore, large-scale atmospheric phenomena can accelerate/decelerate the rotation of the earth on slow timescales (months/years). They have no influence on the long-scale deceleration (cf. point 1). The main point of the article is that one can use this short-time correlation as a test of measurements of the atmosphere and numerics: The fact that the two vastly different systems, namely the meteorological and the astronomical, are in good agreement according to the conservation of angular momentum gives us assurance that both these types of measurements must be accurate.

I'm running as fast as I can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476952)

..to keep earth rotating in the good way!

What should I do with my life?

YOU SHOULD ALL BE PANICKING! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476974)

The well-known Liberal surveillance weather balloon [google.com] that Liberals would have you believe to be the "moon" is held in its orbit by an intricate set of gravitational checks and balances to which the tides are integral. The "moon" has been shown by scientific experts to be moving further away from the earth as the tides grow slower over time, due to that, luckily, the Liberals who put the thing where it is failed to take the tides into consideration when they worked out the math controlling its movement, meaning the moon would eventually fall out of Earth's orbit, leaving God-fearing Americans once again free to exercise their Second Amendment Rights. However, the earth slowing down in its rotation would not change the rate of the rotation of the tides, due to Newton's laws of motion.

As we can see, the Earth slowing down will actually cause the moon to gradually become closer to the earth over time, eventually leading it to knock God-fearing Conservative anti-ballilstic-missle satellites out of orbit or-- even worse-- eventually strike the earth, ending all life on earth.

It is clear that this is just what the Liberals want. How did they cause this? The answer is obvious. The "Global Warming" myth was first perpetuated in 1979 (link [vision.net.au]) by the well-known Liberal, Margaret Thatcher from socialist Britain-- 1979, the same year that the tidal effect on the Moon was first discovered. It is clear that the so-called "global warming" effect was simply a straw man created by the Liberal establishment in order to have an excuse to put into place measures that would cause the slowing-down-of-the-earth effect needed to correct the mistakes in the design of their "Moon" weather balloon and cause the destruction of God-fearing Conservative satellites, thus increasing America's moral decay. Fact: This "El Nino" phenomenon did not take place once-- ever-- before the institution of so-called "anti-global-warming" measures such as the banning of CFCs. As proof, i point you to the last 80 years of "Time" magazine, preserved in my attic, in which El Nino is never mentioned prior to the 90s, even despite the well-known Liberal influences on the magazine.

I think the course of action is clear to all of us. I encourage you all to do your duty as americans, and do what must be done, about this moral scourge on God's Earth's natural rotation.

What about wobble? (2, Interesting)

prestidigital (341064) | more than 11 years ago | (#5476989)

Some months ago I saw an episode of NOVA which postulated that the moon has been gradually drifting out of Earth's orbit for many hundreds (thousands? millions?) of years. This causes the Earth's spin to be less uniform, to wobble. The more drastic the wobble, the more extreme are the changes in weather. I haven't seen anything else on this since, so perhaps it is not a theory that holds much credibility with scientists. On the surface, it seems to make sense.

Wrong again! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5476993)

Everyone knows that the sun revolves around the earth!
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