Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yes, they even regulate Gravity in Norway

It started as a conversation with Dolores and Reginald about how tall people are in Norway. Norway is the second tallest country, after the Netherlands. (Sweden is #3). Could it be that there is less gravity in Scandanavia so people grow taller, I wondered tongue-in-cheek. Reginald is a geologist and had lots of ideas about gravity variations. Soon we were looking up gravity maps of earth, such as this one:
Two satellites fly around the earth and they measure each other to see how their orbits change. The variations indicate differences in gravitational pull due to landmasses and densities. Crazy! India has some of the least gravity in the world, about 1% less than average. That's a lot!

Finally, we pulled up a document with this:

It's a chart showing gravitational variations in Norway, labeled at "Concerning national regulations on gravity zones in Norway." Yes, the government regulates many things in Norway, including gravity it would seem! Trondheim has 0.03% more gravity than Oslo (g in Trondheim is 9,8211 m/s2, in Oslo it's 9,8191 m/s2). We wondered if Pam would not have broken her leg two years ago when she slipped on ice had she been in Oslo instead (>0% chance of this!) We are probably entitled to some kind of Norwegian gravity payment for the injury.

In truth, these differences in gravity can have an effect on shipping. Imagine 10 000 metric tons of food being shipped to or from Norway. A difference of 0.1 % makes a difference of 10 000 kg in weight. If the shipment is valued at $1/kg, that's a $10,000 difference in price, just because of gravity. Weird.


  1. Hey Mike
    The "weight" difference would only be noticed if you were using a spring scale. A balance scale (like at the Dr's office) would not show a difference in weight since the counter-weight is subject to the same gravitational shortfall.
    Godt nytt år!

  2. I hadn't thought of that! If balance scales are used at both ends, no need for adjustments. Cool!