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Siberian rivers and the rotation of the earth

9.92Voted: 126

    The project of transferring water from the large rivers of Siberia to the regions of Kazakhstan and Central Asia has been discussed and studied for a long time. It is supposed to take about a quarter of the annual flow of the Ob and Yenisei - about 200 cubic kilometers per year. Siberian water will turn large areas of semi-deserts into fertile lands, and will make the level of the Caspian and Aral Seas constant. It is also possible that in the vast territory southwest of the Urals, the volume of groundwater will increase by 850 cubic kilometers.

    The plan for a grand restructuring gave rise to some scientists' fear: will the redistribution of groundwater and the change in the Coriolis forces, caused by the fact that part of the water of the two great Siberian rivers will flow in the other direction, affect the mode of rotation of the globe?

    Suppose the globe is covered with a thin film of water. It rotates together with the ball around a fixed axis passing through its center. Then all the water instantly collects at one point on the surface. Moreover, its mass remains unchanged. (Such an abstract diagram best illustrates the accumulation of groundwater in some part of the globe.)

    Calculations show that even if this mass is equal to a thousand cubic kilometers of water, then even then it will only negligibly change the rotation of the Earth - by 1010 of its full angular velocity. Seasonal fluctuations in speed are known to be 100 times greater.

    Reducing the flow of the Ob and Yenisei will indeed reduce the Coriolis force caused by their northward flow. And this will affect the rotation of the Earth - it will slow down. But again, by a negligible amount. This value, when calculated for 1,000 years, turns out to be 5 times less than the secular deceleration of the rotation of the globe.

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