Earth is mysteriously spinning faster, resulting in the shortest day ever
Our planet Earth is strangely spinning faster, clocking in less than 24 hours on June 29. The mysterious speed-up of the Earth’s rotation resulted in a lack of 1.59 milliseconds on an average 24-hour period. After decades, Earth recorded its shortest day when it finished a complete spin.
According to Timeanddate.com, the planet Earth set a record for its fastest time and rotation. This is the first since atomic clocks began recording their orbit in the 1960s. This new record proves that the Earth has been spinning faster in the past years. However, the exact reason remains a mystery.
Since 2020, Earth has overlapped its average speed record more than two dozen times. This resulted in the reverse of a decades-long run of marginally longer days.
JUST IN: The Earth is spinning faster than USUAL 😳‼️ pic.twitter.com/CRqfTdkquK
— RapTV (@Rap) August 3, 2022
For a more precise understanding, the usual length of the day is 24 hours. But in recent years, Earth’s rotation has sped up. Zotov, a worker at Lomonosov Moscow State University, recently published a research concluding on what might cause the acceleration of the Earth’s rotation. “This year, it rotates quicker than in 2021 and 2020.” Zotov and his team concluded that the Earth’s tides might be the culprit.
Earth’s shape is not a perfect sphere. Thus, eccentric factors may affect and push the differences in its rotation. Some of these factors are the tidal waves of the Moon, its indifferent structure, and climatic changes.
Another team of researchers suggested that the current records can also be linked to the changes in Earth’s geographical poles. This phenomenon is called the Chandler wobble.
A professor at the University of Tasmania who specializes in Earth research, Matt King, also made an observation. He said, “It’s certainly odd. Something has changed, and changed in a way we haven’t seen since the beginning of precise radio astronomy in the 1970s.”
Leap Second Option
Soon, scientists will have no choice but to reduce a second from the atomic clocks if Earth will continue to record shorter days. Though it isn’t looking good, it could be the first record of a negative leap second in history. Scientists have already added leap seconds in the past to correct the time. However, nobody had trimmed them yet.
Spinning faster: Earth has recorded its shortest day since scientists began using atomic clocks to measure its rotational speed.
Why is this happening? We check the latest numbers: https://t.co/iD4K9rnaiy
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— timeanddate.com (@timeanddate) July 27, 2022
While some engineers are against the leap second, there might not have any other option as this event could lead to major devastating tech issues. Researchers and meta engineers Ahmad Byagowi and Oleg Obleukhov released a blog post about this for Meta. The study supports a major-scale effort to prevent future introductions of leap seconds.
The two told CBS News, “Negative leap second handling is supported for a long time, and companies like Meta often run simulations of this event. However, it has never been verified on a large scale and will likely lead to unpredictable and devastating outages worldwide.”
According to their blog post, the leap second concept was introduced in 1972. They added that it “mainly benefits astronomers and scientists as it allows them to observe celestial bodies using UTC for most purposes.”
They also wrote, “Introducing new leap seconds is a risky practice that does more harm than good. And, we believe it is time to introduce new technologies to replace it.”
Their argument leans toward the adverse effects it may cause. While leap seconds could fill in and cause a time jump, they could also crash or corrupt data of IT programs. A trimmed or negative leap second could do far worse.
While there are other conclusions around, the two believe that one of the many factors causing the Earth to spin faster is the unstoppable melting and refreezing of the ice caps on the mountains.
Though the recent record-breaking shorter days are still a mysterious phenomenon, the Earth’s interaction with the moon will undoubtedly slow the rotation over time. Previous studies show that in 6.7 million years, one day will be a minute longer.