Is it really true, that human population growth doesn't affect Earth's weight?

Hello everyone!

Well I had just ordered some pepperoni pizza tonight, and noticed the pepperoni was rather unevenly distributed…Which certainly affected my pizza’s weight distribution. (and overall experience, of course)
And, being a down-to-Earth person I am, these two following question came in mind:

  1. To begin with, is it really true that Earth’s weight remains unaffected, regardless of human growth? Yes, I can understand that we feed and use Earth’s resources here, so what comes from our planet, pretty much stays in our planet…But is that really the case?

  2. So, assuming my pizza’s box lid is the ‘north’ side, (ranch sauce always rests on the ‘south’), my pizza has a very dense east side, compated to its’ west side. So, its’ eastern side should be slightly heavier…Is China heavier than the Sahara desert? And would the Pacific Ocean weigh much more? Has anyone ever conducted any reasearch on Earth’s weight distribution and formulation?

Of course I can understand that the Earth’s surface is pretty much nothing, compared in her massive scale and density, but still, wouldn’t such differences have any effects?

The Earth weighs about 13,170 with 21 zeros behind it pounds.

All the people on Earth combined weigh 632 with nine zeros behind it pounds.

That 12 zero difference may be somewhat more than a rounding error, but not much.

yes the weight remains the same. plants and animal die to feed humans. that pepperoni gave up its life to feed you.

What about animals?

I would think that the uneven distribution of mountain ranges and the like would have more effect that the uneven distribution of people around the planet.

As we grow the number of people, the people consume more energy and turn it into heat eventually. They burn stuff to keep warm, they use machines that generate heat. They also use more EMF energy (light, radio, etc.). Doesn’t this all radiate out into space thereby reducing the earth’s mass?

Now preparing to read how I don’t really understand mass/energy equivalence.

That’s what I though.
For example,I’m convinced that a fair share of that pepperoni mass,will be burned, and transformed to heat (not that I’ll go to the gym or something-just by sitting on my couch), which will -ehm-radiate somehow (I hope not all the way into space)

as long as we keep on producing pepperoni, beef jerky, bacon, and other nice stuff from them, we need animals.
But their mass should probably be reduced, over time

Sorta semi-related question: If everyone in China jumped off chairs at once, would the earth be thrown out of its orbit?

You cannot add weight to the Earth by turning existing materials into something else like through manufacturing processes. You tend to get a very tiny weight loss through such actions because the resulting heat does radiate into space. However, the Earth is always constantly bombarded by space debris. It doesn’t tend to be much on an an individual scale. Almost all of it burns up in the atmosphere and then floats to the ground but it does add up to the tune 40,000 tons a year world wide. That is a rounding error that isn’t even worth noting but it also greatly offsets all material that the Earth sends back into space. The net effect is a slight weight gain over time.

The distribution of total Earth mass is completely trivial when compared to things like tectonic plate shifting and volcanos. Humans do not and never will have the capability to change the mass distribution on a planetary scale. It is all superficial and barely notable in physical terms.

Earth, in space as it is, does not have weight. It is weightless. The Earth has mass, and its mass is steadily growing on the order of 40,000 metric tons per year in space debris. On Earth, there is gravity, creating “weight” in its attempt to draw everything to its core. Wouldn’t that balance out?

(I’m not a scientist)

The amount of mass lost as heat is minuscule - e = mc^2 and all that….

A WAG but I’d speculate that the weather probably has a bigger effect on weight distribution than all of humanity. Which direction the wind is blowing probably has more effect than the location of seven billion people.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have nuclear reactions going on when I burn pepperoni.

You understand mass-energy equivalence fine AFAIK. What you are missing is the fact that the energy that people consume mostly arrived here (and continues to arrive) from the Sun.

Doesn’t matter. Tiny compared to the overall weight of the earth. Wiki entry.

All the earth’s living things still comprise a tiny portion of its weight, even if you include their habitats (air, soil, water). Even using a super high estimate of the biosphere’s weight, it’s .0000019222402% of the Earth’s mass.

Still doesn’t matter. The entire crust, upon which all our mountains reside, is less than 0.5% of the Earth’s mass.

(Correct me if I’m wrong, but:)

Basically living things play with sunlight and use it to turn carbon into plants, or oil into electricity, but at the end of the day you’re just transferring the energy into chemical bonds and then re-releasing it when those bonds break again. (Explanations 1, 2) 3)

In these instances, basically all that energy goes into transforming carbon (and other elements) back and forth, modifying their chemical bonds, and then gets re-radiated back out into space.

Some Cambridge scientists say the Earth is slowly getting lighter, but for a different reason: we’re losing helium and hydrogen quicker than we’re sucking up space dust. At a rate of 0.000000000000001% mass per year.

I don’t quite either, so any physicists out there, do feel free to tell me how that answer was wrong.

Basically: Living things matter only to other living things.

The Earth isn’t really a big habitat for creatures. It’s a big glop of iron and magma coated with a microscopic layer of germs on top. In terms of the biosphere, our actions matters a lot. In terms of geology and astronomy, we’re not even a rounding error.

To repeat a popular “fun fact”, if the Earth were reduced to the size of a billiard ball, it would be smoother than one.

I do, sometimes…

But, that’s irrelevant. The mass converted into heat in a chemical reaction is still described by e=mc^2.

What? Nobody’s mentioned the law of conservation of mass yet?

The Earth got lighter when all the dolphins left.

(The mass just went somewhere else.)

Maybe the Earth as a whole is fine, but what about Guam? You can put a bunch of Marines on one side, and the dang thing just might tip over!