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| Last Updated:14/11/2018

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Melting glaciers are making days longer

TORONTO: Melting of glaciers near the Earth's poles and the resulting rise in sea level is slowing down the Earth's rotation, thereby increasing the length of our days, a new study suggests.

Scientists are studying past changes in sea level in order to make accurate future predictions of the consequence of climate change, and they are looking down to Earth's core to do so.

"In order to understand the sea-level change that has occurred in the past century, we need to understand the dynamics of the flow in Earth's core," said Mathieu Dumberry, a professor in physics. The connection is through the change in the speed of Earth's rotation.

Melting water from glaciers not only causes sea-level rise, but also shifts mass from the pole to the equator. The gravity pull from the Moon also contributes to the slow down. As a consequence, the length of our days is slowly increasing. In fact, a century from now, the length of a day will increase by 1.7 milliseconds, researchers said.