How might we cope with shorter days and less sleep? How would it affect our climate and geography? Can we survive any faster?
We don’t feel the Earth spinning because, along with everything else on this planet, we’re spinning right along with it.
At the equator, the world turns at roughly 1600 km per hour (1,000 mph), completing a full rotation in 24 hours. But the further you get from the equator, the slower you’ll spin, since the Earth gets more narrow the more you move North or South.
So if you stood on the equator, you would travel 40, 234 km (25,000 miles) in one day. But if you stood about 3 meters (10 feet) away from the North Pole, you’d only rotate about 20 meters (63 feet) in 24 hours.
Spinning twice as fast, you’d make it back in half the time. That is, if there was any ground left to stand on… Spinning twice as fast, you’ll lose half your day. Time will fly, but you won’t be having any fun. Let’s start with the good news: weightloss!
That’s right, if the world spun twice as fast, you’d weigh a lot less. All day, every day, centrifugal force from Earth’s rotation threatens to shake you off the planet.
Luckily, gravity is stronger, and keeps you grounded. Still, at the equator, you weigh about 0.5 kg (1 pound) less, because more centrifugal force is generated where Earth is spinning faster, which ever so slightly decreases gravity’s hold on you.
So double the speed of Earth’s spin, and we’re all the biggest loser! That is… because things are about to get a lot worse.
Think of all your favorite TV shows, and try come to terms with the fact that you’ll never catch the next episode. Most of our satellites that are used for communication, military intelligence, and television broadcasting, are synchronized to the Earth’s rotation. Even the smallest increase of speed would cause them to spin out of orbit.
But who’s even got time for TV these days? When days are only half as long? Do you think you could function on 4 hours of sleep instead of 8?
How about one or two meals a day, instead of three? Humans would have to design new schedules and new calendars. Because instead of 365 days in a year, there would now be 730. Hopefully there’d be twice as many holidays as well…
Adjusting to a new biological clock would be tough, and not everyone would make it. For example, nocturnal species would have fewer hunting hours, and may face extinction if they couldn’t adapt. But humans would need to become more efficient too, especially in terms of energy.
For the average person who drives to work, they would now have to commute twice as often, doubling fuel consumption and its affect on our climate. But really, the climate would be beyond saving.
For starters, extreme weather would be much more, well, extreme. Due to the curvature of the Earth, wind and water curve too as they travel across Earth’s surface.
This is the Coriolis Effect, and it’s this phenomenon that gives hurricanes their spin. So, the faster the rotation of the Earth, the more the winds curve, the more hurricanes spin, and the more energy they carry with them. Put simply: deadlier disasters.
But if you like to think of yourself as a storm chaser, then hopefully you’re a strong swimmer too. With the earth spinning at 3200 km per hour (2000 mph), the centrifugal force would essentially pull all the water from the northern and southern hemispheres towards the equator. Countries like, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Kenya, Indonesia, Singapore, and Australia would be partially, if not completely, submerged.”
On top of this, reduced gravity in the equatorial region would produce more moisture. A ring of dense fog and constant rain would permanently cover Earth’s waistline. So the next time you have a long day, be glad it wasn’t shorter. Our way of life depends on it. Live in the moment – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
One of your worst WhatIfs. All your complaints are based on us having evolved at the current speed and then suddenly being at the 2x speed. Not very meaningful. In time we would fix each of your complaints. It would have been more interesting to look hat what differences would have evolved.