Scientists are saying that the earth is spinning faster than 24 hours. The UK’s National Physical Laboratory has new measurements that show this.
A typical day’s length is 24 hours or 86,400 seconds, but researchers notice that in recent years, the Earth’s rotation has accelerated, shortening some days by milliseconds.
A study — Admittance of the Earth Rotational Response to Zonal Tide Potential — has already been published, disclosing what may have caused the changes in Earth’s rotation.
It is proposed however that, if the trend continues, atomic time – the universal way time is measured on Earth – may have to change.
June 29, 2022 set the record for the Earth’s shortest day ever with a full rotation of 1.59 milliseconds less than the 24-hour mark. This was followed quickly by a day that lasted 1.50 milliseconds less on July 26, 2022.
Read also: The world should think better about catastrophic and existential risks
Once, the Earth took exactly 24 hours to rotate on its axis but a few years ago, scientists thought that Earth’s rotation was slowing down. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) had even begun adding leap seconds to make up for the slower spin.
This was done until December 31, 2016.
Theories have it that this experience may be a result of motions of our planet’s inner molten core, activities of earthquakes that have happened over a period of time, or deviations in the Earth’s axis of rotation.
The faster rotation of Earth has consequences because it could lead to the introduction of the negative leap second (which means that clocks will skip one second) in order to keep the rate that the Earth orbits the Sun consistent with measurements from atomic clocks.
The negative leap second will also in turn affect IT systems as well as software relying on timers or schedulers.
The previous record for the shortest rotation was July 19, 2020, when the Earth’s rotation took 1.4602 milliseconds less than 24 hours.