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Scientists suggest deleting a second from a minute as Earth’s rotation speeds up


LAST UPDATED: Jan. 7, 2021, 6:55 p.m.

New Delhi (Anish Yande): Scientists are considering to remove a second from a minute after observing the faster rotation speeds of the Earth. Scientists hold the belief that the Earth could be rotating faster as compared to the previous 50 years. According to researchers, Earth has completed its rotations around its axis quicker than the average of previous years.  

Timekeepers suggest adding negative leap second:

Timekeepers are researchers who use atomic clocks, which are ultra-accurate to keep track of the Coordinated Universal Time. They have stated that Earth took 1.4602 milliseconds lesser than the usually required 24 hours to complete a rotation on July 19, 2020.

Since the 1970s, the Earth has taken longer than 24 hours to complete the rotation around its axis. Since then, timekeepers have adjusted the time by adding leap seconds to 27 days.  

However, in 2020, the trend changed notably, where the Earth is taking lesser amounts of time to complete its rotation around the Sun. There have been 28 instances in 2020 where the time required to complete a rotation is less than 24 hours. 

Some scientists are suggesting adding a ‘negative leap second’. This phenomenon would effectively remove a second with the Earth spinning faster around its axis. The deletion of the second from a minute would help to reorder the time system following the rotation of the Earth, these scientists suggest. 

Physicist Peter Whibberley of the National Physics Laboratory has stated that, ‘A negative leap second may be needed if the Earth’s rotation rate increases further, but it’s too early to say if this is likely to happen.’

Rotations of Earth could be affected by global warming:

The planet’s rotation is affected by the changes in ocean currents, winds, movements of the core, and atmospheric pressure.

A study published in the 2015 issue of Science Advances, has stated that global warming could be the cause of the phenomenon. The report suggested that global warming, which is causing the melting of glaciers, is leading to a redistribution of mass on the planet. 

This redistribution of the mass of glaciers is leading to the planet rotating faster on its axis. 

Image Credit: Google

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