What If Earth Started Spinning Backward?

Live Science | 4/25/2018 | Staff
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For billions of years, Earth has rotated in the same direction as the sun — but what if that direction were reversed?

Deserts would cover North America, arid sand dunes would replace expanses of the Amazon rainforest in South America, and lush, green landscapes would flourish from central Africa to the Middle East, according to a computer simulation presented earlier this month at the annual European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018 in Austria.

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Earth - Orbit - Sun - Planet - Rotation

During Earth's yearlong orbit around the sun, our planet completes a full rotation on its axis — which runs from the North Pole to South Pole — every 24 hours, spinning at a rate of about 1,040 mph (1,670 km/h) as measured at the equator. Its rotation direction is prograde, or west to east, which appears counterclockwise when viewed from above the North Pole, and it is common to all the planets in our solar system except Venus and Uranus, according to NASA.

As Earth rotates, the push and pull of its momentum shapes ocean currents, which, along with atmospheric wind flows, produces a range of climate patterns around the globe. These patterns carry abundant rainfall to humid jungles or divert moisture away from rain-parched badlands, for example.

Earth - Climate - System - Rotation - Scientists

To study how Earth's climate system is affected by its rotation, scientists recently modeled a digital version of Earth spinning in the opposite direction — clockwise when viewed from above the North Pole, a direction known as retrograde, Florian Ziemen, co-creator of the simulation and a researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany, told Live Science in an email.

"[Reversing Earth's rotation] preserves all major characteristics of the topography like sizes, shapes and positions of continents and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Live Science
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