New measurements: Earth will rotate around its fastest axis in decades

Pablo Tucker
January 11, 2021

The Daily Mail reported scientists as saying that the rotation of the home planet is faster than normal as a result of which a day on earth is now shorter than the usual 24 hours, albeit slightly so.

According to the IERS, Earth has been slowing overall during the last few decades, not speeding up.

According to Dailymail, there is a debate among the "timekeepers of the world" on how to adjust time with the faster spinning of the planet.

A year ago the International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service (IERS) had announced that in December 2020 the worlds' official timekeeping would not be getting the addition of a "leap second". The average day is expected to last.05 milliseconds less than 86,500 seconds, the standard length of a day as determined by our clocks.

"It's quite possible that a negative leap second will be needed if the Earth's rotation rate increases further, but it's too early to say if this is likely to happen", physicist Peter Whibberley of the National Physics Laboratory in the United Kingdom, told The Telegraph.

But, as the planet continuously speeds up, the need for a negative leap second may eventually be needed.


Do you know that the Earth spun less than 1.4602 milliseconds in 2020?

So as Whibberley also mentioned above for the time ever scientists are thinking about a "negative leap second" from the astronomical time.

If the rotation of the planet and the steady beat of atomic clocks go out of sync, scientists can use a positive or negative leap second to bring them back in sync. Although the co-authors acknowledge that the Earth's 24-hour rotation is not always ideal.

The earth is now revolving faster than it has in the last half of the century, according to scientists.

There are also global discussions going on about the future of leap seconds, and the need for a negative leap second may push the decision to end leap seconds forever.

The Earth is spinning faster than usual, making the day slightly shorter than the regular 24 hours.


But they haven't added any leap seconds since 2016. When this is not done, the measurement of time based on rotation may differ from atomic measurement, due to an irregular and decreasing variation in the speed of movement. This phenomenon is not particularly risky because the rotation of the planet, which is driven by variations in atmospheric pressure, wind, ocean currents, and the motion of the center, varies slightly. Throughout the year, this represents a 19 millisecond delay in nuclear time.

Prior to 2020, the shortest day occurred in 2005, but this record has been shattered a staggering 28 times in the last 12 months.

The World Radiocommunication Conference will decide on the fate of the leap second in 2023. However, the atomic clock continued to race ahead, so at least once every 10 years scientists added an extra leap second to the UTC to keep them closer together.

Also, stronger hurricanes are inevitable if the Earth's rotation picks up the pace with the spins.

But scientists worry it could actually have a lasting impact if left unattended to, seeing as satellites and communications equipment need to align the true time with the solar time in order to maintain precision.


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