Earth Mass Gain and Long Term Climate
If the Earth gains about a million kilograms of mass everyday
over a long period of time would that cause drastic changes to the earths
environment and relationship with the sun?
I am not sure where the million (10^6) kg/day comes from, since Earth is
both gaining and losing material, as well as changing mass distribution,
but assuming it is a "good" approximation, the mass of the Earth is ~
6x10^24 kg (and that number is known very accurately, I just did not write
all the digits down.). So the mass change is a tiny fraction of the
The Earth gains about 100 million kilograms of material per day
from meteorites and space dust and loses virtually nothing to
space. So, it is constantly increasing in mass.
However, the increase in mass is trivial compared to the mass
of the Earth (around 10 to the 25 power kilograms). Thus the Earth
gains only 0.000003% in mass per year, resulting in no changes
to the Earth's environment and no change in its relationship with
and orbit around the Sun.
You can find more details about this subject by doing a search on
the internet using the phrase "earth gains mass".
David R. Cook
Climate Research Section
Environmental Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory
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Update: June 2012