The Earth began to rotate at a slower speed, which made the days longer. Scientists struggle to understand why.
Broadly speaking, there are two processes to indicate the lengthening of an Earth day from its length of approximately 86,400 seconds.
Over millions of years, the planet’s rotation has slowed due to friction caused by the Moon.
– Every 100 years, about 2.3 milliseconds are added to the length of the day – billions of years ago, a day on Earth lasted only 19 hours.
Now, however, the Earth’s decreasing rotational speed is an indisputable fact and has been going on for 50 years.
“It is found that the rate of rotation deviates from regularity, so the change in the mean length of the solar day (lodge) increases at a rate of +1.8 ms per century. This is well below the speed expected based on tidal friction, which is +2.3 ms seconds in the century,” the researchers wrote in the report.
The shortest day in the world
Earth reached its shortest day since the invention of the atomic clock on June 29, 2022, but the general trend is for the days to get longer — with no readily available explanation.
There are some theories: Weather systems melting the ice caps could have a long-term effect, as the planet at lower altitudes shrinks inward. However, these have been declining at a steady rate, so it might not suit such a sudden change.
It’s possible that fluctuations in the planet’s rotation rate known as the “Chandler Oscillation” – where small, irregular movements of Earth’s geographic poles across the Earth’s surface can cause an effect.
Finally, it can be caused by processes in the inner or outer layers of the Earth, oceans, tides, or even climate.
Large earthquakes can also change the length of the day, but this effect is usually negligible.
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