You must have thought at least once about the Earth stopping its spin and taking a rest for a while. While nobody is quite sure how, there have been some concrete theories about what would happen if it really did stop turning on its axis. Remember, we are just talking about the spinning, not revolving around the Sun as stopping that would only mean the end of Earth plain and simple. Stopping the spinning, on the other hand, presents a more curious style of global Armageddon. Let’s see what the world’s premium authority on these matters has to say!
NASA believes that a lot is dependent on the way the planet suddenly decides to stop spinning. If it suddenly stops out of nowhere, the atmosphere and much of the Earth’s top surface will be uprooted and sent rocketing towards space. It is because the Earth is spinning at an astonishing 1100 miles per hour and stopping it suddenly, would mean a heavy jerk at the top of the surface which will throw everything into the atmosphere not attached to bedrock. It could come crashing back due to gravity but not until it has reached a certain distance!
The other more likely scenario is that the spinning stops gradually over billions of years as it is happening right now. The results however, will be very different. As rotation gets slowed, the days and nights well become longer thus inviting extreme temperatures for us to survive. If the rotation eventually cools down to 1 rotation per year, the Earth will be synchronous with the motion of the Earth, very much like the Moon is synchronized to ours right now. Every spot on Earth will either have daylight or night all year long. The temperatures will rise to be unbearably hot in the equators and polar ice caps receiving the all-year long sunshine will melt as well.
If the rotation gets stopped altogether, a particular spot on Earth will have a day and night that will encompass an entire year. The heat will depend on your latitude as equators will again be affected the most and the poles not so much heat-wise. It will also heavily influence the pattern of the winds around the world as they will now rise from equator and directly to the poles instead of going parallel to the poles. This could effectively change the whole wind system and so much abnormal rain will pour that it may lead many areas to be entirely submerged.
The yearly motion of the Earth around the Sun and the axial tilt will be the only thing affecting our climate throughout the year. As you will move across the parallels of latitude, the Sun will appear moving just like the way it moves when the Earth is rotating. Both the elevation and intensity of our star will change. For six months, there will be day and six months there will be night. Just like the dark side of the moon, half of Earth will totally plunge into darkness but just for six months. Moon is geo-synchronous so its dark side is completely invisible from the Earth.
But what can cause such fascinating yet practically horrifying thing to happen? The magnetic field of our planet will be the first to get affected. Once it stops, the field will cease to sustain and numerous other problems will emerge as the incoming cosmic rays and high-energy particles from space will descend upon us and create great biohazards. Most probably, we will have to live just like those Martian settlement concepts with astronaut gear to move from one place to another. Extreme heating and cooling will be required to make the conditions livable for us.