Scientists have been baffled after discovering that the Earth is spinning faster than usual – making the days shorter than usual.
New measurements by the UK’s National Physical Laboratory show that the Earth is currently spinning faster than it did half a century ago.
On June 29, the Earth’s full rotation of 1.59 milliseconds took less than 24 hours – the shortest day ever recorded.
Scientists have warned that if the rate of rotation continues to accelerate, we may need to remove a second from our atomic clocks.
Astrophysicist Graham Jones said via TimeandDate.com.
“This would be required to keep civil time – which depends on the super-stable rhythm of atomic clocks – in sync with solar time, which depends on the movement of the sun across the sky.
“Negative leap seconds means that our clocks skip one second, which can lead to problems for IT systems.”
Meta researchers said a second leap would have huge impacts on technology and would become a “major source of pain” for hardware infrastructures.
“The effect of a negative leap second has not been tested extensively; it can have a devastating effect on software that relies on timers or schedulers,” claimed a blog post on the topic, authored by researchers Oleg Oblukhov and Ahmed Biagoy.
“In any case, every second hop is a major source of pain for people who manage hardware infrastructures.”
Scientists Leonid Zotov, Christian Bezoar, and Nikolai Sidornikov claim that the irregular rotation is caused by something called the Chandler Wuble, the irregular movement of the Earth’s geographic poles across the surface of the globe.
“The normal amplitude of Chandler’s wobble is about 3 to 4 meters at the Earth’s surface, but from 2017 to 2020 it disappeared,” Zotov said.
Some experts believe that melting and refreezing ice caps on the world’s highest mountains could contribute to the speed irregularities.
TimeandDate reports: “Earth has recorded its shortest day since scientists began using atomic clocks to measure its rotation speed.”
“On June 29, 2022, Earth completed one revolution in 1.59 milliseconds in less than 24 hours. This is the latest in a series of Earth speed records since 2020.”
Professor Zotov told time and date that there is a “70 percent chance” that the planet has already reached its minimum day length, meaning we’ll likely never have to use a negative leap second.
However, Zoltov admitted that there is no way to know for sure yet with the current technology.