Do you sometimes feel as if 24 hours in a day aren’t enough to do all the things you want to do? Well, scientists recently found that our planet’s day are actually getting longer.
To give you some background on this matter, the speed of the Earth’s rotation is never constant, and there are variances worth microseconds in the lengths of our days.
According to Science Alert, scientists found out that our our planet’s days are actually seemingly longer, despite the fact that Earth recorded the shortest day on 29 June this year since we have the technology (atomic clocks) to measure time down to the smallest microsecond.
It was also found that Earth’s days were actually getting shorter until 2020 but it has took a reverse and our days are getting longer.
However, nobody knows the exact reason for this change and experts claimed the change to be the most drastic in the last 50 years, which is also since when we’ve been able to measure the planet’s spin with such accuracy.
Nonetheless, scientists have still attempted to guess the reason behind this change. Some said one possible reason for the slowing down of the spin is due to the relationship between our planet and the Moon, with it exerting gravitational forces that slowly remove energy and cause Earth to slow down. This takes about 2.3 milliseconds off the length of each day per century.
However, over the last 20,000 years, there have been forces that have been speeding up Earth rotation. When the last ice age ended, melting polar ice sheets reduced surface pressure, and Earth’s mantle started steadily moving toward the poles.
For illustrative purposes, it is just like a ballet dancer who spins faster as they bring their arms toward their body, with their rotation only growing faster the closer their hands came closer inside. This process is said to have shortened each day by about 0.6 milliseconds each century.
Apart from this, there are also other factors and events that have caused our planet to speed up its rotation over the course of time. One example is Japan’s Great Tōhoku earthquake of 2011 which was thought to have sped up the planet’s rotation by about 1.8 microseconds.
Other cited reasons include climate change and weather events on the extreme end, such as major storms that release massive volumes of water closer to the equator, which slows down Earth’s spin, while snowfall at higher elevations will cause the opposite effect until the ice melts and the water trickles back down to the oceans.
Nonetheless, there are various reasons and factors that can affect the planet’s spin rate.
However, scientists remained puzzled as to why the trajectory has shifted in favor of the Earth spinning more slowly since 2020.
What do you think about this? Share your thoughts!