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Plugging holes with stratospheric winds.

In spite of its seemingly wispy nature, the atmosphere that enshrouds the globe can alter the rotation rate of the earth. Scientists have long been able to detect the atmosphere's part in speeding up and slowing down the planet.

But in matching the circulation patterns of the atmosphere--principally the troposphere, the layer closest to the ground--with changes in the rotation rate, researchers have uncovered some discrepancies. And to explain these, they have suggested a number of causes ranging from the redistribution of ground-water to changes in sea level.

Now, in the Aug. 20 JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, Richard Rosen and David Salstein of Atmospherid and Environmental Research, Inc., in Cambridge, Mass., show that most of the discrepancies can be accounted for by including data from the stratosphere, the layer just above the troposphere. After incorporating newly available stratospheric wind data, the meteorologists conclude that "tropospheric plus stratospheric winds can fully account for seasonal, nontidal changes in the length of day [or rotation rate] without invoking other geophysical processes."
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Title Annotation:research on atmosphere's effect on rotation rate of the earth
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 31, 1985
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