April 14, 2021

Sambaad Patra

Stay updated. Always.

Earth’s rotation sped up in 2020, we may need a “negative leap second” – Boing Boing

2 min read

Another weird thing about 2020: The planet sped up.

The planet’s rotational speed often drifts around slightly, depending on changes in wind, ocean currents, or the sloshing around of the Earth’s molten core. But for the last few decades, generally this produced a microscopic slowing of the rotation. The upshot of that is that every year and a half (or so), we’ve needed to add a “leap second” to the atomic clock.

But in 2020, the opposite happened — we had the 28 fastest days on record since 1960. This sped up the planet’s rotation so much that the Time Lords in charge of clocks on our planet are considering adding a “negative leap second”: They will remove time.

Not quite Tenet, but I’m super excited nonetheless. As Live Science writes:

“It’s quite possible that a negative leap second will be needed if the Earth’s rotation rate increases further, but it’s too early to say if this is likely to happen,” physicist Peter Whibberley of the National Physics Laboratory in the U.K., told The Telegraph. “There are also international discussions taking place about the future of leap seconds, and it’s also possible that the need for a negative leap second might push the decision towards ending leap seconds for good.”

Screenshot of Superman reversing time, above.

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