The ongoing drought in the western United States has caused so much loss of groundwater that the Earth, on average, has lifted up about 0.16 inches over the last 18 months, according to a new study.
The situation was even worse in the snow-starved mountains of California, where the Earth rose up to 0.6 inches.
Researchers from UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the groundwater loss from the start of 2013 to be 63 trillion gallons — the equivalent of flooding four inches of water across the United States west of the Rocky Mountains.
Hundreds of GPS sensors installed around the western United States to detect seismic activity also can detect shifts in elevation. Loss of the weight of all that groundwater seems to have allowed the very crust of the planet to rise, with the greatest amount measured in the Coast and Sierra mountains.
And as a jawdropping side note, the abstract of the study also offers this:
We estimate the total deficit to be about 240 Gt, equivalent to a 10 cm layer of water over the entire region, or the annual mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet.
Simply put, global warming is global
, and climate change is changing the planet itself.