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middle of the night questions

During an ice age, would the earth become more spherical or more of an oblate spheroid?

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
wolfeskitchen
May. 8th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC)
Is this something you need to know? Are you an alien?
jitrbug52
May. 8th, 2008 09:36 am (UTC)
Insomnia
You've been staying up awfully late recently, I think the lack of sleep may be getting to you...
thisgirliknow
May. 8th, 2008 09:46 am (UTC)
Re: Insomnia
I also slept late.

Wednesday (today?) I intended to go to sleep on time, but instead I'll stay up all night to fix the problem, and hopefully not fall asleep in class tonight (Thursday).
teenonfire4lord
May. 8th, 2008 10:25 am (UTC)
Either more spherical or the same it is now, depending on the intensity.

Were it a less intense ice age, it would equalize the other portions of the globe with the upper and lower. The North and South poles would not change much due to their being closer to the new temperature.

Were it more intense, it would stay the same shape. The other portions would become as cold as the poles were, but the poles would also become colder, causing more ice to form. The growth would be equal.

For the earth to become MORE spheroid, the temperature would have to decrease more intensely at the poles than anywhere else.
tboneblue
May. 8th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree
Because we're already squished into an oblate spheroid, distributing water in the form of snow and ice across the surface of the planet wouldn't necessarily change its overall shape. No additional material is being added uniformly over the poles to alleviate the effects of centripetal force from our planet's rotation, so we would still be squished instead of spherical.

Maybe if we altered the axis of rotation from north-south to east-west, we could even everything out, but I imagine we'd have much bigger problems then.
tevarin
May. 8th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
Hard to say. Off the top of my head, I figure:

Any land that already stays below freezing all year even without the ice age won't change. Any land that stays above freezing all year even during the ice age won't change.

Any land that spends more time below freezing than usual will accumulate extra snow and ice, and presumably the ocean level would drop to compensate.

Suppose a really severe ice age puts glaciers 1 kilometer thick over the whole temperate land mass of North America, Asia, Africa, etc..

It won't do much to the overall shape. According to wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_of_the_Earth

the equatorial radius is 20km more than the polar radius, so 1 km of ice doesn't make a huge difference in the overall shape.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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thisgirliknow
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