Thursday, July 8, 2010

Where would oceans go when Earth stops spinning?

If you have ever wondered about this then read the article in latest issue of the ArcUser. Article elaborates on effects of the absence of centrifugal force and how it would affect distribution of the oceans.

This is an interesting article and includes maps of the world in different stages of ocean's migration to polar regions. Reasons for migration of oceans to polar regions are quite obvious. Poles are closer to the Earth's centre and centrifugal force creates a bulge of water at the equator.

To illustrate the difference between current and new water distribution have a look at maps below.

Article elaborates on assumption that rotation would stop in a matter of few decades even that would happen over very, very long time.

Here is the final map of the world when all water has moved to polar regions.

I am glad that in this case Auckland would be still on land...

Article is quite interesting to read but I would like to see similar article about more likely scenario - when Earth's rotation is synchronized with revolution. We know that will happen just like it did happen to the Moon. I find this a bit more interesting scenario because effects would be very similar to ones described in the article above - one day would last a year, rotation would be very slow. Additional effect is that only one side of the Earth would face the Sun. This would create a very interesting climate situation. My knowledge of climatology (last time I did a paper on this was at Uni about 20-ish years ago) is little bit faded and not up to the task so I won't even try to imagine.

If you find an article about that scenario please let me know.

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