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Earth sets record with quickest rotation, creating shortest day ever

Scientists thought the Earth was slowing down as recently as 2016.

Published: August 2, 2022 12:01pm

Updated: August 2, 2022 1:29pm

The Earth had its shortest ever recorded day on Friday, spinning 1.59 milliseconds under 24 hours.

Before this, the shortest day was set last month at 1.47 milliseconds under 24 hours, Time and Date reported

The Earth appears have been spinning more quickly over the past few years, according to data from the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service.

Scientists at NASA previously observed that the Earth's daily rotation was slowing down.

The International Earth Rotation Service even added an extra second as recently as December 2016 to make up for what appeared to be a slower spin.

A possible reason why the Earth is speeding up includes climate change as glaciers are melting and putting less weight on the poles, Forbes reported.

Other possible causes include seismic activity, molten inner core movements and the "Chandler wobble," which is a small change in the Earth's axis. 

If the Earth continues to rotate more quickly, the world will be forced to add have a negative leap second to keep the sun in sync with atomic clocks.

This could possible confuse computers, smartphones and other similar systems that synch with the Network Time Protocol.

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