On July 29, the Earth broke its record for the shortest day by completing a complete revolution in 1.59 milliseconds less than its standard 24-hour rotation.
According to the Independent, the planet has recently been increasing its speed. In 2020, Earth saw its shortest month ever recorded since the 1960s. July 19 of that year saw the shortest time ever recorded. It was 1.47 milliseconds shorter than a typical 24-hour day.
The following year, the planet continued to rotate at a generally higher rate, but did not break any records. However, according to Interesting Engineering (IE), a 50-year phase of shorter days may be starting right now.
The cause of the different rate of rotation of the Earth is still unknown. But scientists speculate that this could be due to processes in the inner or outer layers of the core, oceans, tides, or even changes in climate.
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Some researchers also believe this could be related to the movement of Earth’s geographic poles across its surface, known as the “Chandler wobble.” In simpler words, this is similar to the tremor one sees when a top begins to gain momentum or slows down, according to scientists Leonid Zotov, Christian Bizouard, and Nikolay Sidorenkov.
according to him Independentif the Earth continues to rotate at an increasing rate, it could lead to the introduction of negative leap seconds, in an attempt to keep the speed at which the Earth orbits the Sun in line with the measurement of atomic clocks.
However, the negative leap second would have potentially confusing consequences for smartphones, computers, and communication systems. Citing a Meta blog, the outlet reported that the leap second “mainly benefits scientists and astronomers,” but that it is a “risky practice that does more harm than good.”
This is because the clock advances from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 before resetting at 00:00:00. A time jump like this can therefore crash programs and corrupt data due to timestamps in data storage.
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Meta also said that if a negative leap second occurs, the clock will change from 23:59:58 to 00:00:00, and this could have a “devastating effect” on software that relies on timers and schedulers. According to NAMELYto solve this, international timekeepers may need to add a negative leap second: a “falling second”.
In particular, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the main time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time, has already been updated with a leap second 27 times.