The planet is currently going through some of the worst natural catastrophes in history. Well, they might not be natural considering that climate change brought on by humans is causing many more disasters to happen. Now, new studies are finding that on top of record temperature changes, Earth seems to be spinning far more rapidly than it ever has. This sped-up rotation has been clocked at 1.59 milliseconds less than the normal 24-hour time period we measure our lives in. Although 1.59 milliseconds do not sound like a lot, this trend could cause even more issues with technology around the world if it continues.
Scientists seem to be baffled as to why the Earth is spinning much faster than it has half a century ago. The most recent data was collected on July 29th, when the 1.59 milliseconds change was recorded. Again, that might not seem like much of a difference now, but the rotations could increase over time, making scientists take a second away from our atomic clocks. Atomic clocks are how we developed the second, which turned into the measurement of time. Atomic clock readings along with solar time, which measures the movement of the sun across the sky, are how the 24-hour period was created. However, should that extra second be taken away, it could cause many systems around the world to go haywire.
This might seem like an odd doomsday situation, which points to something as silly as the Y2K frenzy, but computer systems around the world are often enacted at certain time intervals, and if a second is taken away, that would spell plenty of trouble. Think of how houses have sprinkler systems that are placed at a certain time interval. If that system doesn’t understand that a second has now been taken away in an hour period, things might get confusing. People could end up with oversaturated grass and dying plants. That is a bit of a less alarming analogy, but the Earth spinning faster would cause all that to happen.
Researchers that work for Meta have stated that Earth spinning faster would have detrimental effects on most technological systems that depend on the 24-hour time measurement. It would become a “major source of pain” for infrastructures that have depended on the minute and hour system. Again, a second may not sound like a lot, but when there are only 59 seconds in a minute instead of 60, things might go a bit crazy for the computer’s system attempting to understand that fact. Time placement would be a huge mess in this case.
The irregular speed of the Earth spinning might have something to do with the geographical poles that are on the planet. Those poles could be shifting due to polar ice caps melting. This goes back to the dangers of climate change, as we know that the North and South poles have been affected greatly by the planet heating up in a way that it shouldn’t. We might be in some trouble if those poles continue to shift and the Earth spins more rapidly.