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, which means we’ll 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.
The second negative effect and its possible consequences are due to the theories of the year 2000, in which many believed that computers would not be able to cope with the hours waiting for the new millennium.
Although Y2K software eventually proved to be nothing more than a hiccup in our highly computing civilization, other programming limitations were discovered in 2014.
The vast majority of computer servers use the same system that stores the date and time in a 32-bit integer that counts the number of seconds since January 1, 1970 – often referred to as epoch time.
On March 19, 2038, exactly 03:14:07 (UTC) clocks will reach the largest number that can be represented by a 32-bit integer.
As things stand, it is likely that many computers will not be able to tell the difference between 2038 and 1970.
However, by 2038, many 32-bit systems will likely be worn out or replaced.
Infrastructure is probably the biggest problem to fix, but planning the change well in advance should eliminate most major issues with date and time issues with computers.
Originally published as baffling scientists because the Earth rotates faster than usual, making days shorter