Have you noticed the Earth is spinning faster? Scientists around the world have, in fact the fastest ever recorded.

The next question is – will a second need to be pulled out of the world’s clocks now to compensate for the quicker planet rotation? Computer scientists worry about this aspect since so much modem technology is based on true time, and will the world’s clocks need to shift from solar time to atomic time?

Time has historically involved a 24-hour day/night cycle, driven by the planet’s spin on its axis. Hence, the length of a day lasts about 86,400 seconds. The day/night cycle or solar day has been remarkably consistent despite the fact that it does vary ever so slightly on a regular basis.

The introduction and use of atomic clocks some decades ago, permitted scientists to track time down to the millisecond for any given day. Those clocks revealed that the spin of Earth does vary more than previously conceived. Over these atomic clock decades, measurements showed Earth gradually spinning slower over the years, resulting in plugging in a leap second here and there.

Then this past year, Earth began spinning faster. On July 19th this past summer, the shortest day ever was recorded – 1.4602 milliseconds shorter than the standard.

What is causing the changes in Earth’s daily rotation? Scientists note there are many factors involved in the planet’s rotation including the moon’s gravitational pull, snowfall levels and mountain erosion. But with mountain snows and ice caps shrinking as the planet’s climate warms, and more rain versus snow falling in the mountain’s lower elevations enhancing erosion, have these factors resulted in Earth spinning faster on its axis? Those are the theories right now.

For those of us in the North Sound, will all this impact our sleep cycles? Perhaps this issue is not as grave as murder hornets, but only time will tell.

North Sound Meteorologist Ted Buehner worked more than 40 years for the National Weather Service (NWS) from 1977 to 2018. He is now an Everett Post Media team member. Together with Everett Post Weather Minute Podcasts, he provides morning and afternoon commute traffic and weather updates on both KRKO and KXA Radio, and sports reporting on KRKO.