Earth is spinning faster than usual and had its shortest day ever

Scientists say the Earth is spinning faster, and has recently recorded its shortest day. June 29, 2022 was 1.59 milliseconds short of the average day, scientist Leonid Zotov told CBS News.

The typical length of a day is 24 hours or 86,400 seconds. But in recent years, Earth’s rotation has accelerated, shortening some days by milliseconds. “The Earth has started accelerating since 2016,” said Zotov, who works for Lomonosov Moscow State University. A recently published study What can be the reason for the change in the rotation of the earth. “This year it spins faster than in 2021 and 2020.”

Zotov and his colleagues believe that the fluctuations may have been caused by Earth’s tides.

He says that every day is not shorter, but if the trend continues, atomic time – the universal way time is measured on Earth – may have to change. Some scientists propose introducing a negative leap second. “Since we cannot change the clock arrows associated with Earth’s rotation, we adjust the scale of the atomic clock,” he said.

Unlike leap years, in which an extra day is added, a negative leap second would mean that the clocks skip a second.

Some engineers oppose the introduction of leap seconds, as it could lead to large-scale and catastrophic technical problems. Meta engineers Oleg Oblukhov and Ahmed Byagovi, who is also a researcher, wrote a blog post about it for Meta, which is supporting an industry-wide effort to prevent future introductions of leap seconds.

“Negative leap second handling has long been supported and companies like Meta often run simulations of this phenomenon,” he told CBS News. “However, this has never been verified on a large scale and could lead to unpredictable and disastrous consequences around the world.”

The concept, which was introduced in 1972, “benefits scientists and astronomers primarily because it allows them to observe celestial bodies using UTC. [Coordinated Universal Time] for most purposes,” he wrote in blog post,

“Introducing new leap seconds is a risky exercise that does more harm than good, and we believe it is time to introduce new technologies to change that,” they write.

While positive leap seconds can cause a time jump, resulting in IT programs crashing or even data corruption, a negative leap second would be worse, he argues.

“The effect of a negative leap second has never been extensively tested; it can have disastrous effects on software relying on timers or schedulers,” they write. “In any case, every leap second is a major source of pain for the people managing the hardware infrastructure.”

The pair believe that one of the many contributing factors to Earth’s fast spin may be the frequent melting and re-freezing of ice caps on the world’s highest mountains.

“It’s about the law of conservation of momentum that applies to our planet Earth. Each atom on the planet contributes to the Earth’s angular velocity of motion based on the distance to Earth’s rotation axis,” Oblukhov and Bygovi told CBS Told the news. “Therefore, once things spin, the Earth’s angular velocity can vary.”

“This phenomenon can be visualized by simply thinking of a spinning figure skater, who manages the angular velocity by controlling her arms and hands,” he said. “As they extend their arms, the angular velocity decreases, conserving the speed of the skater. As the skater moves their arms back in, the angular velocity increases. This is due to rising temperatures on Earth. Time goes the same way. Ice caps melt and lead angular velocity increases.”

Zotov and his colleagues Christian Bijourd and Nikolay Sidorenkov will present their research this month Asia Oceania Geosciences Society According to the Convention for Geology, timeanddate.comThe one who first reported the Earth’s faster rotation and shorter days.

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