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World News March 28, 2024

Study: Climate change is messing with how we measure time

Daylight savings time can already be confusing for many, but imagine trying to account for how climate change affects Earth’s rotation and timekeeping. A recent study suggests that global warming might actually delay the need for the first-ever “negative leap second” by three years.

Since 1967, atomic clocks have been used for precise timekeeping, but to maintain a connection with Earth’s rotation, “leap seconds” are occasionally added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). However, Earth’s rotation has been speeding up recently, necessitating the potential introduction of a negative leap second.

Melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica has slowed Earth’s rotation, postponing the need for a negative leap second until at least 2029. This delay is seen as a positive effect of climate change on timekeeping, as it buys time for adjusting timekeeping systems to accommodate potential negative leap seconds.

While some experts are skeptical about the need for a negative leap second anytime soon due to the unpredictability of Earth’s behavior, others believe it’s essential to prepare for such scenarios. There’s also a broader discussion about dropping leap seconds altogether before 2035, with some suggesting it could prevent future disruptions in timekeeping systems.

Source – CGTN

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