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Negative leap second may be needed to adjust for Earth spinning slower.

ScienceNegative leap second may be needed to adjust for Earth spinning slower.

Universal time will have to skip a second for the first time ever because of Earth's slower rotation. According to a report published last week in the scientific journal Nature, the Earth is rotating slowly enough to require a negative leap second due to climate change. The need for a leap second was originally set for 2026, but has been delayed to 2029, according to Duncan Agnew. The former director of the Time Department at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures said "we do not know how to cope with one second missing." If Earth is rotating slower over millions of years then a Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) minute would need to be 61 seconds long for the planet to catch up. Leap seconds have been used to adjust the official time from atomic clocks with Earth's unstable speed of rotation. The United States Navy states that the difference between a uniform time scale defined by atomic clocks does not differ from the Earth's rotation time. The last leap second happened on December 31, 2016 according to the Navy.

The scientists voted to stop the leap seconds.

Leap seconds will be ended by a global panel of scientists and government representatives. Elizabeth Donley heads the time and Frequency division at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Donley said there is no accounting for it in the computer codes.

There is still uncertainty about when a negative leap second would occur. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service will determine when a leap second will be introduced.

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