Would Earth be any different if it spun the other way? © Getty Images

Would Earth be any different if it spun the other way?

Published: 11th March, 2022 at 11:00
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The sun would rise in the west and set in the east.

An Earth spinning in the opposite direction would have very different atmospheric and ocean currents. Although the global mean temperature would remain almost the same, the major ocean currents would switch from the Atlantic to the Pacific, changing the planet’s climate drastically.

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The result would be about a quarter of all deserts in Africa and Eurasia disappearing (being replaced by woodland or grassland). The Amazon basin would become an arid wasteland, the Russian steppes would be positively balmy, northwestern Europe would suffer extremely harsh winters, and the Atlantic sea ice would have a much greater southern extent. Although survivable, you might not recognise your particular spot on the planet!

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Asked by: Roy Young, Leeds

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