Science & Tech

The Earth's rotation is starting to interfere with time and experts are concerned

The Earth's rotation is starting to interfere with time and experts are concerned
Earth's axis shifting faster due to climate change — study
News Direct / VideoElephant

The way the Earth is rotating is changing because of climate change and the experts are concerned.

Scientists have long been concerned about the effects of global warming, with research suggesting that up to half of the entire world will change climate by the end of the century.

New research published in the journal Nature has revealed that melting ice at the poles of our planet may change the Earth’s spin.

This could see a delay to the “leap second” that was due to be added to the world clock, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), in 2026. It may now have to be delayed until 2029.

It is down to the Earth spinning slightly quicker and is linked to melting ice caps, which are contributing to the constant decrease in the angular velocity of the planet’s liquid core. This has led to an increase in the angular velocity of the solid Earth.

As a result, the melting ice caps may influence the Earth’s orbit to such a significant extent it affects the world’s time-keeping.

The impact on computer networks could be huge, affecting everything from the financial markets and other industries that rely heavily on a standard global clock (UTC).

UTC is adjusted by experts when the Earth’s rotation varies, in order for it to remain consistent in relation to the stars.

Over the last 30 years, a few seconds have been added to the global clock, with the next one due to be scheduled in 2026. But, it may have to be delayed due to the impact of melting ice caps.

Duncan Agnew, from the University of California San Diego, explained in the paper: “Extrapolating the trends for the core and other relevant phenomena to predict future Earth orientation shows that UTC as now defined will require a negative discontinuity by 2029.

“This will pose an unprecedented problem for computer network timing and may require changes in UTC to be made earlier than is planned. If polar ice melting had not recently accelerated, this problem would occur 3 years earlier: global warming is already affecting global timekeeping.”

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