The melting of glaciers as a result of climate change has knocked the Earth off its axis, according to new research.
The North and South poles have moved about 13 feet since 1980 – with melting glaciers accounting for most of the shift since the 1990s, according to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Also contributing to the shift were natural factors, including ocean currents, and the pumping of groundwater, according to the study in the American Geophysical Union’s journal.
“The accelerated terrestrial water storage decline resulting from glacial ice melting is thus the main driver of the rapid polar drift toward the east after the 1990s,” the study said.
“This new finding indicates that a close relationship existed between polar motion and climate change in the past,” it added.
The project, which was funded by the Chinese government, included data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites, which have tracked polar drift since 2002.
The North and