Sunday 31 March 2024

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Though factors involved cannot purely be reduced to the effects of global warming, melting polar ice caps redistributing the mass to the Earth’s equator with other dynamics in play like seismic activity, the prospect of subtracting a leap second to compensate for the lag observed between the solar day and international atomic time does nonetheless—particularly given industry opposition to the adjustments in the first place—seem like a rather outsized development. Scheduled irregularly when the difference is seen to approach six-tenths of a second and bit less than a whole one with a half a year’s lead time for computer networks and servers to prepare, the process is controversial since it can lead to disruption and confusion, twenty-seven have been added since 1972, with the latest on New Year’s 2016. Owing primarily to tidal friction from the world’s oceans and centrifugal force, the Earth is not spinning slower but timekeepers are responding to the cumulative effects of applying precision time to a variable but since 2021, researchers found that the diurnal rotation was increasing, prompting the authoritative body to consider negative leap seconds to reorient the hour and minute and avoid a more significant shift.