May 23, 2024

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The Earth is spinning faster than usual

The Earth is spinning faster than usual

If the days seem to get shorter; They were and are since the summer solstice in June. But the Earth recently recorded its shortest day for a completely different and unusual reason – the Earth is spinning faster. Scientists have found this development puzzling, although they have some theories about why it happened and the effect it has on our lives.

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Scientist Leonid Zotov told CBS News that June 29, 2022 was 1.59 milliseconds shorter than today’s average. The normal length of a day is 24 hours, or 86,400 seconds. But in the past few years, the Earth’s rotation has rebounded, shrinking milliseconds away on some days. “Since 2016, the Earth has started to accelerate,” Zotov said. A study was published last March About what may be the cause of changes in the Earth’s rotation. And this year it rotates faster than it did in 2021 and 2020.

Peak alarm

This increased circulation doesn’t get shorter every day – only once in a while. But if it continues, the main method for measuring time on Earth — a universal, high-accuracy method known as atomic time — may need to change. A negative leap second may need to be added, as the hours can skip one second. “Since we cannot change the clock arrows associated with the Earth’s rotation, we adjust the scale of the atomic clock,” Zotov said.

In the system control room, the technical operator stands and monitors the various activities that appear on multiple screens with graphics
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But not all scientists support the negative leap second. In fact, Meta engineers Oleg Obleukhov and Ahmad Byagowi recently wrote a blog post criticizing the idea. They said it could cause serious malfunctions in the technology, such as data corruption. The concept has never been tested.

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polar ice tower
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Some scientists imagine tides on Earth. Others believe that the constant melting and refreezing of polar ice caps is causing the Earth’s rotation to be accelerating and slowing down.

“It’s all about the law of conservation of momentum that applies to planet Earth,” Obleukhov and Byagowi told CBS. “Every atom on this planet contributes to the momentum of Earth’s angular velocity based on the distance to Earth’s rotation axis.” . “So, once things are moving, the angular velocity of the Earth can vary.”

Professional figure skater Valentina Marchi.
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“This phenomenon can be visualized simply by thinking of a snowboarder who manages angular velocity by controlling their arms and hands,” they said. “As they extend their arms, the angular velocity decreases, which maintains the skater’s momentum. As soon as the skater flexes their arms again, the angular velocity increases. The same is happening here at this moment due to the warming on the ground. Ice caps melt and cause bullets to increase velocity. the corner “.

An International Telecommunication Union (ITU) skyscraper in Geneva on a sunny summer day.
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In 2020, the planet experienced 28 of its shortest days in the past 50 years. The United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union started adding leap seconds occasionally in June or December. The first leap second was added in 1972, and 26 have been added since then.

According to Ars Technica, within a leap second, the clock ticks from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 to 00:00:00. The mean “leap second” has caused technical problems in the past: a leap second feature added in 2012 caused crashes on Reddit, Gawker, and Australian airline Qantas. In 2017, it jumped a leap second from Cloudflare.

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