The Earth has been discovered to be spinning faster than usual, and this is resulting in shorter days. It is a phenomenon that has left scientists perplexed.
According to new measurements by the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, the Earth is currently spinning faster than it was half a century ago.
On June 29th, the Earth’s full rotation took 1.59 milliseconds less than 24 hours, the shortest day ever recorded leading to a warning by scientists that if the rotation rate continues to speed up, we may need to remove a second from our atomic clocks.
Astrophysicist Graham Jones via TimeandDate.com. reported that, “If Earth’s fast rotation continues, it could lead to the introduction of the first-ever negative leap second.”
According to Jones, “this would be required to keep civil time which is based on the super-steady beat of atomic clocks in step with solar time…based on the movement of the Sun across the sky.”
Earth spinning faster may cause colossal effects on technology
Researchers at Meta said a leap second would have colossal effects on technology and become a “major source of pain” for hardware infrastructures.
They indicated that “a negative leap second would mean that our clocks skip one second, which could potentially create problems for information technology systems.”
According to a blog post on the topic, authored by researchers Oleg Obleukhov and Ahmad Byagowi, they claimed that “the impact of a negative leap second has never been tested on a large scale; it could have a devastating effect on the software relying on timers or schedulers.”
“In any case, every leap second is a major source of pain for people who manage hardware infrastructures” they further noted.
Various aspects attributed to the unusual spinning of the earth
Scientists Leonid Zotov, Christian Bizouard, and Nikolay Sidorenkov claim the irregular rotations are the result of an irregular movement of Earth’s geographical poles across the surface of the globe, something called the Chandler wobble.
Zotov told timeanddate.com that “the normal amplitude of the Chandler wobble is about 3m to 4m at Earth’s surface, but from 2017 to 2020 it disappeared.”
Some experts believe the continuous melting and refreezing of ice caps on the world’s tallest mountains could be contributing to the irregular speed the earth is currently spinning.
Professor Zotov told timeanddate.com that there’s a “70 percent chance” the planet has already reached the minimum length of a day, meaning we will most likely never have to use a negative leap second.
Zoltov, however, admitted that with current technology, there is no way to know for certain yet.