Science & Tech

Scientists predict Earth's days are going to get longer and longer

Scientists predict Earth's days are going to get longer and longer
Planet Earth III trailer

Experts have predicted the length of days on Earth are going to get longer and longer as time goes on.

Thanks to the ever-evolving amount of research, scientists are now able to predict how life on Earth might change. Due to factors like climate change, experts believe there is a chance we are heading for a “triple whammy” extinction event within the next 250 million years.

But before that happens, experts have predicted Earth's days are going to become longer and longer due to changes in the planet’s rotation.

It’s a well-known fact that every 24 hours, the Earth does one full rotation on its axis, giving us light in the day and dark at night time hours.

However, according to experts in the field, this rotation schedule has not always been the case.

"Earth has experienced days that were both shorter and longer than it is now at different points in history,” Sarah Millholland, an assistant professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explained to Live Science.

“Most importantly, it was affected by tidal interactions with the moon. About a billion years ago, the length of day was only about 19 hours.”

And, according to other experts, the rotation of Earth may have even been as short as 10 hours at some points. Now though, it seems things are heading in the other direction as they are getting longer.

Millholland suggested Earth’s rotation is continually changing and very slowly lengthening by approximately 1.7 milliseconds every century.

Konstantin Batygin, a professor of planetary science at Caltech, explained the change is so slow that it allows nature and evolution to adapt.

They explained: “The change in Earth's spin rate is happening gradually enough that evolutionary processes can adapt to the changes over time. The relative change in orbital speed would not be noticeable in daily life.”

According to Batygin, the main reason for the slowing rotation is due to the Earth’s relationship with the moon and the forces that are creating a kind of friction effect. It is occurring at a glacial pace and could take around 200 million years to add one hour to the 24-hour rotation.

In addition, other factors such as natural events such as earthquakes and asteroid collisions could have an effect on the planet’s rotation as they apply torque.

“Climate change could also play a role due to redistribution of Earth’s mass due to glacial melting, sea level changes and tectonic activity,” Millholland added. “As the polar ice caps melt, the rotation is slowing down.”

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