from the moving-slowly-along dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "We all know about the current controversies associated with the ozone layer or the global warming phenomenon. Now, the NASA's Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) is warning us that atmospheric changes or El Niño events can affect the Earth's rotation. During El Niño years, for example, the rotation of the Earth may slow ever so slightly because of stronger winds, increasing the length of a day by a fraction of a millisecond. David A. Salstein, an atmospheric scientist from Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., led a recent study about this possible effect. Salstein looked at meteorological and astronomical measurements from different sources and found they were in good agreement. Check this column for a synthesis. For technical explanations, images and animations, please read this NASA paper, Changes in the Earth's rotation are in the wind."
"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not
Compute' -- I forget which."
-- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982