Earth's Variable Rotation

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Science  09 Aug 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5020, pp. 629-637
DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5020.629


Recent improvements in geodetic data and practical meteorology have advanced research on fluctuations in the Earth's rotation. Theinterpretation of these fluctuations is inextricably linked with studies of the dynamics of the Earth-moon system and dynamical processes in the liquid metallic core of the Earth (where the geomagnetic field originates), other parts of the Earth's interior, and the hydrosphere and atmosphere. Fluctuations in the length of the day occurring on decadal time scales have implications for the topography of the core-mantle boundary and the electrical, magnetic, and other properties of the core and lower mantle. Investigations of more rapid fluctuations bear on meteorological studies of interannual, seasonal, and intraseasonal variations in the general circulation of the atmosphere and the response of the oceans to such variations.

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