Is Earth's Axis Shifting?

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Do you believe in human-caused global warming?  Do you know that the earth wobbles? 

Do you know that the Antarctic ice shelf is growing and shifting from one side of the earth to the other? 

If you answered a throaty, certain “yes” to the first question but a less confident “I think so” to the next two, you better do some homework.  Your prejudice toward human-cause global warming could be in danger.

In 1955, Time Magazine described the effects of the earth’s wobble on climate.  

If the earth were a perfect sphere, he says, it would not be stable on its axis. The “smallest beetle crawling over it would change the axis of rotation in relation to markings on the sphere” because there would be no force to resist the kickback of the beetle’s crawling. But the earth is not a perfect sphere; it is a geoid slightly flattened at the poles by the centrifugal force of its rotation. So it spins like a fat flywheel on the short axis between the poles.

Fair enough.  Most of us learned this in fifth grade science class.  But the next paragraph provides an “aha!” moment to people following the global warming debates.

But what if the shape changes because of the rise of mountains or the accumulation of glacial ice? In this case, says Gold, the axis will shift to take account of the new distribution of mass. Slowly, the plastic earth will swell in the proper places to make itself a geoid again. When this process is complete, it will settle down with its North and South Poles in new places. Gold figures that modest crustal changes could make the earth turn 90° in less than 1,000,000 years, relocating its poles on its former equator.

When we look around for evidence of such enormous changes to earth’s weight distribution, we find a stellar example in Antarctica.  I could have linked any of thousands of sites for this, but, in the interest of balance, I go with a lefty site,

The vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet - a 2-mile-thick wasteland larger than Australia, drier than the Sahara and as cold as a Martian spring - increased in mass every year from 1992 to 2003 because of additional annual snowfall, an analysis of satellite radar measurements showed.

They determined that the icecap appeared to be thickening at the rate of 1.8 centimeters every year. The ice is thinning in West Antarctica and other regions of the continent.

So, how could that affect the earth’s attitude?   Let’s go back to Dr. Gold’s research from 1955:

According to one school of geology, something of the sort may have happened many times already. The shift of the poles would explain remains of tropical vegetation found near the present poles and signs of glaciation found in the present tropics. Another proof: the magnetic particles in many ancient rocks do not point toward the present magnetic poles

My guess is that someone keeps an out for changes in magnetic North.  The problem is that if such a shift is occurring, many irresponsible scientists will ignore it for fear of weakening their claims of human-caused global warming.  But such a shift could explain why, for a year now, Asia and North America are getting colder and northern Europe is getting warmer.