If the days seem shorter; They have been and are since the summer solstice in June. But the Earth recently recorded its shortest day for a completely different and unusual reason – the Earth is spinning faster. Scientists found this development intriguing, although they have some theories about why it happened and the effect it has on our lives.
Scientist Leonid Zotov told CBS News that June 29, 2022 was 1.59 milliseconds shorter than today’s average. The normal length of a day is 24 hours, or 86,400 seconds. But in recent years, the Earth’s rotation has recovered, declining milliseconds in just a few days. “Since 2016, the Earth has been accelerating,” Zotov said. A study was published in March About what may be the cause of changes in the Earth’s rotation. And this year it’s spinning faster than 2021 and 2020.
This increased circulation doesn’t drop every day – just now and then. But if it continues, the main method for measuring time on Earth – a universal, high-accuracy method known as atomic time – may need to change. A negative leap second may have to be added because the hours may skip seconds. “Because we cannot change the clock arrows associated with the Earth’s rotation, we adjust the scale of the atomic clock,” Zotov said.
But not all scientists support the second negative jump. In fact, Meta engineers Oleg Obleukhov and Ahmad Byagowi recently wrote a blog post criticizing the idea. They said that this could cause serious problems with the technology, such as data corruption. The concept has never been tested.
Some scientists imagine tides on Earth. Others believe that the constant melting and refreezing of polar ice caps is causing the Earth’s rotation to accelerate and slow down.
“It’s all about the current conservation law that applies to planet Earth,” Obleukhov and Byagowi told CBS. “Every atom on this planet contributes to the momentum of the Earth’s angular velocity based on the distance from the Earth’s axis of rotation.” . “So once things are moving, the angular velocity of the Earth can vary.”
“This phenomenon can be visualized simply by thinking of a snowboarder who manages angular velocity by controlling his arms and hands,” they said. “As they extend their arms, their angular velocity decreases, conserving the skater’s momentum. Once the skater flexes their arms again, the angular velocity increases. The same is happening here now because the ground is warming. The ice caps melt and cause bullets to accelerate.”
In 2020, the planet experienced 28 of its shortest days in 50 years. The United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union started adding leap seconds occasionally in June or December. The first leap second was added in 1972, and 26 have been added since then.
According to Ars Technica, within a leap second, the clock moves from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 to 00:00:00. The average “leap second” has caused technical problems in the past: A leap second feature added in 2012 caused accidents on Reddit, Gawker, and Australian airline Qantas. In 2017, it jumped again over Cloudflare.