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Movements of the earth at the point of axis

29 April 2011

The New York Times (see www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/science/26qna.html?_r=1=science 'As the World Turns' asks, do shifts of the earth's axis produced by earthquakes alter world weather? – presumably a question an earnest AGW enthusiast might be concerned about – why is snow still falling in parts of the US and Canada? Its supposed to be spring. Its very warm over here in NW Europe but other parts of the northern hemisphere are not so lucky. Anyway, the answer given is that the changes to the axis are too small – but of course, if the shifts had been much greater they might have impacted the weather. The Japanese earthquake moved the axis of rotation by a grand 6 inches while the Chile earthquake earlier in the year moved it by just 3 inches. However, this tiny shift has to be compared to what happens naturally year by year where a shift of 39 inches occurs annually – as earth's mass moves. The post then describes the Milankovitch changes and axial tilt on a cycle of 41,000 years. Climate is thought to change gradually and slowly as the tilt of the earth moves between 22 degrees and 24 and a half degrees – but over thousands of years of time. Catastrophism on the other hand is much more simple and climate change is instant as it would inevitably involve axial tilt in some form or other (temporarily or permanently). 

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