UNITED STATES: On July 29, the Earth beats its previous record for the shortest day as it spun around in 1.59 milliseconds less time than it usually does in 24 hours.
The Independent claims that the globe has recently started speeding up. The shortest month on record for the planet since the 1960s occurred in 2020. The shortest day ever was recorded on July 19 of that year. It was shorter than a typical 24-hour day by 1.47 milliseconds.
The globe continued to spin faster overall the following years, but it didn’t set any new records. However, sources assert that a 50-year era of shorter days may already be beginning.
It is still unclear what is causing the Earth’s spin to vary in speed. However, experts hypothesise that this might be caused by processes in the core’s inner or outer layers, oceans, tides, or even shifts in the climate.
The “Chandler wobble,” or the shifting of the Earth’s geographic poles across its surface, is another theory put out by specific experts as to why this might be the case. Scientists Leonid Zotov, Christian Bizouard, and Nikolay Sidorenkov explain this by comparing it to the quiver one notices when a spinning top begins to pick up speed or slows down.
According to sources, the introduction of negative leap seconds might be necessary if the Earth’s rotational speed keeps rising to maintain the accuracy of atomic clock measurements.
However, the negative leap second would have potentially confusing consequences for smartphones, computers and communications systems. Citing a Metablog, the outlet reported that the leap second “mainly benefits scientists and astronomers” but that it is a “risky practice that does more harm than good”.
This is because the clock advances from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 before ceasing to function at 00:00:00.
Because of the timestamps on the data storage, a time jump like this might destroy data and cause programmes to crash.
The clock will change from 23:59:58 to 00:00:00 if a negative leap second occurs, according to Meta, and this could have a “devastating effect” on software that uses timers and schedulers. International timekeepers might need to add a “drop second”, a negative leap second to resolve this, as per sources.
Notably, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the fundamental time reference used to govern clocks and time throughout the world, has already undergone 27 leap second updates.
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