An unusual movement of the Earth caused us to live the shortest day in history: it happened on June 29


The Earth lived, on June 29, the shortest day in its history, registering a complete revolution 1.59 milliseconds before 24 hours established. The data was released by the National Physical Laboratory of England, using highly accurate atomic clocks.

What happened on June 29 broke the 2020 record, when scientists recorded 28 of the shortest days in the last 50 years. On July 19 of that year it was reduced 1.47 milliseconds, of the 86,400 seconds that make up 24 hours.

It is said that the strong winds during the El Nino phenomenon they can slightly slow down the rotation of the planet, due to the drag of the atmosphere; and that earthquakes can have the opposite effect, shortening the days.

But the explanation of what happened on June 29 points more to the so-called Chandler Wobble (Chandler Wobble, in English).

The possible origin of Chandler’s Wobble

Leonid Zotov, Christian Bizouard and Nikolay Sidorenkov, three scientists cited by ZME Science, define this wobble, discovered by the American astronomer Seth Carlo Chandler in 1891, as a movement possibly driven by changes in pressure at the bottom of the oceans.

It is caused by fluctuations in salinity, temperature and ocean circulation.

Chandler’s Wobble it has a period of 433 days, with a normal amplitude of 3 to 4 meters at the Earth’s surface.

Zotov points out that the movement was not between 2017 and 2020, which may explain the melting and refreezing of the polar ice caps in the highest mountains in the world, but that from the last year referred to it returned.

Are we generally affected by the unusual movement of the Earth? Nope. However, astronomers are harmed, as it affects the navigational accuracy of the Global Positioning System.

The reappearance of the leap second in our time, due to the movement of the Earth

It is possible that, in the future, scientists will reintroduce a measure that was already taken in 1972: the leap seconds. In total, 27 intercalary seconds have been added, in order to keep Coordinated Universal Time updated.

But for Popular Mechanics, one would not have to add a leap second, but a negative leap second, to keep “the dance of the Earth in tune with time.”

Scientists from Meta, Mark Zuckerberg’s company, were against this. “The leap second and the offset it creates cause problems throughout the industry,” they noted in a recent statement.

The Chandler Wobble is a movement possibly driven by changes in pressure at the bottom of the oceans.

“Leap second events have caused problems across the industry and continue to present many risks. As an industry, we run into problems every time a leap second is introduced.”

“And because it’s such a rare event, it devastates the community every time it happens. With a growing demand for clock precision in all industries, leap second is now doing more harm than good, which generates interruptions and interruptions”.

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