Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Climate Change Could Impact Timekeeping, Study Says


Fri 29 Mar 2024 | 11:16 PM
Rana Atef

Climate Change is not only impacting all activities on Earth but also the speed of the Earth's rotation. This will impact how people and systems keep time, a study, cited by BBC on Thursday, found.

The study said that the melting of the ice of Greenland and Antarctica is adding extra water to the world's seas, which slowing the Earth's rotation, however, the Earth is still spinning faster that it used to.

Due to this, global timekeepers may need to subtract a second from our clocks.

The study, published in the Journal Nature, said: "Global warming is already affecting global timekeeping."

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) - which is used by the majority of world clocks, and time measures, is calculated based on the Earth's rotation.

Since the 1970s, about 27 leap seconds were added to the global clock, however, timekeepers plan on subtracting a second for the first time in 2026. This second is called the "negative leap second."

The study finds that ice melt caused by climate change is somehow partly slowed down that acceleration.

Ice sheets are now melting five times faster than 30 years ago, that's why the negative leap second change could not be needed before 2029, the study highlighted.

Duncan Agnew, the author of the study, told NBC News: "It's kind of impressive, even to me, we've done something that measurably changes how fast the Earth rotates," 

"Things are happening that are unprecedented."