Climate change may have changed the direction of the North Pole’s drift

A sudden zag in which way the North Pole was drifting in the 1990s probably stemmed in large part from glacial melt caused by climate change, a new study suggests.

The locations of Earth’s geographic poles, where the planet’s axis pierces the surface, aren’t fixed. Instead, they wander in seasonal and near-annual cycles, largely driven by weather patterns and ocean currents (SN: 4/15/03). But in addition to moving about in relatively tight swirls just a few meters across, the poles drift over time as the planet’s weight distribution shifts and alters its rotation around its axis.

Before the mid-1990s, the North Pole had been drifting toward the western edge

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