it was the shortest day since we have records and we don’t know why

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On June 29, 2022, the Earth recorded a very rare record: that day was the shortest since the 1960s. That is, from the moment we began to measure the planet’s rotation with highly accurate atomic clocks. It shouldn’t surprise us: in recent years, these kinds of records have been produced more and more frequently. However, it is inevitable to ask ourselves, what is happening?


The days are getting longer. Above all, because historically, the days get longer and not shorter. Today, days last (approximately) 24 hours; but if we went back 1.4 billion years, we would find days of less than 19 hours. Guilty? There are many factors, but the biggest is the moon. As the Moon gets closer, the tides pose more friction to the Earth’s rotation on itself.

an extra second. We are talking about very small, imperceptible variations; but they are there. In fact, this phenomenon of lengthening the days is so strong that, from time to time, the International Telecommunications Union is forced to add an extra second. The first was in 1972 and the last one was added in 2016.

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something happens on earth However, in recent years the thing is weird. To put it in figures: 28 of the 50 shortest days that we have identified since the 1960s took place in 2020. What is more, until June 29 of this year, the shortest day had been June 19, 2020 with 1.47 milliseconds less than expected. June 29 was a bit shorter: midnight was moved forward by 1.59 milliseconds.

The problem is that we don’t know why this is happening. Don’t get me wrong: the Earth is still slowing down in the long term and we know that in the short term, things like core fluctuations or even atmospheric events like El Niño can change that trend. Without going any further, the 2004 earthquake sped up the length of days by almost three milliseconds. What we don’t know is what is happening now.

Does it have any implications? In principle, there would be no reason. We suspect that strange things are happening in the core of the Earth and many scientists are working to discover the possible consequences of this. But, while we find them, the consequences of all this are a mystery. What we do know is that if things continue like this, it is very likely that in a few years the International Telecommunications Union will have to take a second.

The first ever removed. We will be there to tell it.

Image: POT

On June 29, 2022, the Earth recorded a very rare record: that day was the shortest since the 1960s. That…

On June 29, 2022, the Earth recorded a very rare record: that day was the shortest since the 1960s. That…

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