A Day Was Shorter Than 24 Hours In 2020 Because Of Earth's Speed

If Earth Spins Faster Days Would Be Shorter Or Could Cut It In Half. That Means Instead Of Having 24 Hours A Day, It Will Become 12 Hours

A Day Was Shorter Than 24 Hours In 2020 Because Of Earth's Speed
By Erika P.

Do you know that the Earth spun less than 1.4602 milliseconds in 2020? Yes, that’s right. On July 19, 2020, the Earth spun shorter than the full 24 hours, which makes it the shortest day that scientists ever recorded since they began timekeeping in the 1960s. The Earth is spinning faster than usual, making the day slightly shorter than the regular 24 hours. The timekeepers, or the scientists keeping track of time, are debating whether to delete a second from time to account for change and make it accurate in line with the Earth’s rotation. Although adding a negative leap second is something new, scientists have added a total of 27 days since the 1970s to keep atomic time in line with solar time, according to MailOnline. This has been done for decades because it has taken the Earth a bit longer than 24 hours to complete. However, 2020 is indeed special because it is the year when the world spun a little bit faster.

The Earth Has Shorter Days Than It Has 50 Years Ago

Scientists said that the Earth is spinning faster than it has in the last five decades which causes the day to be slightly shorter than 24 hours. For decades, Earth took longer to finish its rotation but it all changed last year. Timekeepers at the International Earth Rotation Service in Paris have added leap seconds since the 1970s, with the most recent one on New Year’s Eve in 2016. The extra seconds help the satellites and communication devices to keep in line with the solar time that is determined by the position of stars, the Moon, and the Sun.

On the other hand, the addition of leap seconds also wreaked havoc in 2012 throughout the internet with Reddit, Yelp, and other websites reported a Y2K crashes due to the time adjustment. Some scientists have called to stop using leap seconds and the World Radiocommunication Conference said that it may abolish the practice by 2023. But since the world is spinning faster since last year, the days are now 0.5 seconds shy of the full 24 hours. Experts warn the timekeepers that they may have to add a negative leap second to stay accurate.  According to a study published in 2015, the world may be spinning faster because of global warming. The melting of glaciers makes the mass redistribution all over the Earth shift and spin faster on its axis. That is why experts, such as senior research scientist Peter Whibberley of the National Physical Laboratory’s time and frequency group, suggest adding negative leap second will increase Earth’s rotation.

What Happens to Earth If It Spins Faster?

According to Popular Mechanics, if Earth spins faster than its usual pace, the days would be shorter or could cut it in half. That means instead of having 24 hours a day, it will become 12 hours. Also, the water level will rise by 100 meters as the centrifugal force of the Earth pull the water from the poles to the equator which would likely wipe out Indonesia and most of South America, and Africa will turn into two disconnected islands with Mt. Kilimanjaro poking at the tip of the newly high oceans. Additionally, the quickened speed of Earth’s rotation would cause more hurricanes because the increased water levels near the equators would come along with huge amounts of humidity that will create a band of fog around the equator.

This news was originally published at Science Time’s