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

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

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

On June 29, 2022, the Earth made a complete revolution that took 1.59 milliseconds less than the average day length 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. Around It was defined when the Earth ended its day 1.50 milliseconds shorter than usual, as I mentioned before Whatch out and time tracking website clock and date. The time and date indicate that 2020 saw the fewest number of 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, the day length has been increasing in the long term since the Earth-Moon system formed. This is because, over time, the force of gravity has transferred energy from Earth – via tides – to the Moon, pushing it slightly away from us. Meanwhile, since the two bodies are in tidal state—which means the rate of rotation and rotation of the Moon is such that we only see one side of it—physics dictates that the Earth’s day be extended so that the two objects remain in the tidal cycle. As the moon moves away. Billions of years ago, the Moon was much closer and the length of the Earth’s day is much shorter.

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While scientists know that Earth days do shorten in the short term, a specific cause remains unclear — other than the impact it might have on how we track time as humans.

“Earth’s rotation rate is a complex business. It has to do with the exchange of angular momentum between the Earth and the atmosphere, the effects of the oceans and the influence of the Moon,” Judah Levine, a physicist in the Department of Time and Frequency at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Discover magazine. He said. “You cannot predict what will happen in the distant future.”

But Fred Watson, an itinerant 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 it has an atmosphere and all of this stuff spins a little bit.”

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

“Something has obviously changed, and it has changed in a way we haven’t seen since the beginning of precision radio astronomy in the 1970s,” King said.

Could it be related to extreme weather patterns? As I mentioned Whatch outNASA reports that the Earth’s rotation can slow down strong winds In El Niño years it is possible slowing down the rotation of the planet. Similarly, melting polar ice caps moves matter around the Earth, and thus can change the rate of rotation.

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While 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 would subtract a second from the day to keep the world on track for the atomic time system, if the trend is to continue. Since 1972, leap seconds have been added every few years. The last one was added in 2016.

“It is very likely that a second negative jump would be necessary if the Earth’s rotation rate increased even more, but it is too early to say if that is likely to happen,” said physicist Peter Whibberley of the UK’s National Physical Laboratory. telegraph. “There are also international discussions about the future of leap seconds, and it’s also possible that the need for a negative leap second could lead to the decision to end leap seconds forever.”