The Earth is spinning faster than it should and no one knows why

If you feel like the days are getting shorter as you get older, you can’t even imagine.

On June 29, 2022, the Earth completed a full revolution that took 1.59 milliseconds less than the average length of a day of 86,400 seconds, or 24 hours. While the 1.59ms shortening may not seem like much, it’s part of a larger, weird trend.

In fact, on July 26, 2022, there was another new record. About Set when Earth has finished its day 1.50 milliseconds shorter than normal, as I mentioned before Attention and time tracking site time and date. The time and date indicate that 2020 has had the fewest days since scientists began using atomic clocks to make daily measurements in the 1960s. Scientists began noticing this trend in 2016.

While the average day length may vary slightly in the short term, day length has been increasing in the long term since the formation of the Earth-Moon system. Indeed, over time, the force of gravity has transferred energy from the Earth – via the tides – to the Moon, pushing it a little away from us. Meanwhile, since both bodies are in a tidal state – meaning the rate of rotation and rotation of the Moon is such that we only see one side of it – physics dictates that on the day of the Earth must be extended for both objects to remain in a tidal cycle. . As the moon recedes. Billions of years ago, the Moon was much closer and Earth’s day length is much shorter.


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While scientists know Earth’s days are getting shorter in the near term, a specific reason remains unclear – other than the impact it may have on how we track time as humans.

“The Earth’s rotation rate is a complex matter. It has to do with the exchange of angular momentum between Earth and the atmosphere, oceanic effects and the influence of the Moon,” said Judah Levine, a physicist with the Time and Frequency Division of the National Standards Institute. and technology. Discover Magazine. said. “You can’t predict what will happen very far in the future.”

But Fred Watson, a traveling Australian astronomer, For ABC News in Australia that if nothing is done to stop it, “the seasons will gradually come out of the calendar seasons”.

“When you start looking at the actual details, you realize that the Earth is not just a solid spinning ball,” Watson said. “It’s liquid on the inside, it’s liquid on the outside, and there’s an atmosphere and all of these things spin around a bit.”

Matt King of the University of Tasmania described the trend to ABC News Australia as “certainly bizarre”.

“Clearly something has changed, and it has changed in a way that we haven’t seen since precision radio astronomy began in the 1970s,” King said.

Could it be related to extreme weather conditions? As I mentioned AttentionNASA reports Earth’s rotation can slow strong winds In El Niño years, it can slow down the rotation of the planet. Similarly, the melting of the polar caps moves matter around the Earth and can therefore change the rate of rotation.

Although this simple absorption of time has little effect on our daily lives, some scientists have called for the introduction of a negative “leap second”, which subtracts one second from the day to keep the world on track for the atomic time system, if the trend to continue. Since 1972, leap seconds have been added every few years. The last one was added in 2016.

“It’s very likely that a second negative jump will be needed if Earth’s rotation rate increases further, but it’s too early to tell if that’s likely to happen,” said physicist Peter Whibberley of the National Physical Laboratory. from the United Kingdom. Telegraph. “There are also international discussions about the future of leap seconds, and it is also possible that the need for a negative leap second could lead to the decision to end leap seconds forever.”

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