The left is claiming that so much ground water has been pumped out of the Earth, that it is causing the planet’s rotational axis to tilt and is contributing to global warming/climate change. This is absurd, for multiple reasons.
First, the amount of water humans have pumped out is claimed to be 2.15×10^12 tons. The entire planet has a mass of 5.97×10^21 tons. The mass pumped is equal to 0.00000000036% of the mass of the planet, or 3 parts in 10 billion.
However, that mass didn’t simply disappear- the water is still here. In fact, with the exception of a couple of thousand gallons that went into space on spacecraft, man hasn’t removed any water from the planet. That isn’t what the idiots interviewed for CNN had to say:
In 2016, another team of researchers found that drift in Earth’s rotational axis between 2003 and 2015 could be linked to changes in the mass of glaciers and ice sheets, as well as the planet’s reserves of terrestrial liquid water.
In fact, any mass change on Earth, including atmospheric pressure, can affect its axis of rotation, Seo told CNN in an email.
The water that has been pumped out of the ground, the ice sheets, the glaciers, all of that mass is still here. It didn’t disappear.
The redistribution of groundwater tilted Earth’s rotational axis east by more than 31 inches (78.7 centimeters) in just under two decades, according to the models. The most notable driver of long-term variations in the rotational axis was already known to be mantle flow — the movement of molten rock in the layer between Earth’s crust and outer core. The new modeling reveals that groundwater extraction is the second most significant factor, Seo said.
31 inches in 20 years. That works out to 1.55 inches per year, with the circumference around the poles of about 15,800 miles, or just over 1
million billion inches. This means that the “shift” in the rotational axis is one part in a million billion. They use the position of Quasars to measure the position of Earth’s rotational axis. (this paragraph was edited to correct the error you see as a strikethrough)
The current gold standard for measurements of Earth’s rotation vector comes from very long baseline interferometry (VLBI), which involves radio receivers around the world. The receivers use the slight differences in the times at which they detect sudden changes in the microwave emissions from very distant quasars to precisely determine their own positions. This information allows them to monitor small changes in Earth’s orientation with respect to these far-away objects. But it can take days to translate VLBI observations into the final, useful results. A rotation sensor at a single location could provide an independent measurement and could allow the data to be available continuously.
It’s a pretty precise measurement. They claim that they can use that to determine shifts in the rotational axis going back to the 1800’s.
Future models can use observations on Earth’s rotation to illuminate the past, Seo added. “The data is available since the late 19th century,” he said. With that information, scientists can peer back in time and trace changes in planetary systems as the climate warmed over the last 100 years.
Since quasars weren’t discovered until 1960, the means of measuring the rotational axis were limited until that time, and precise measurements of the Earth’s rotational axis were impossible to within 1 part per million, which is the precision needed to detect a 1 inch per year shift. In fact, the first measurement of the change of the rotational axis of the planet wasn’t made until 2011.
This is junk science.