Scientists note that 2020 had the 28 shortest days since 1960. The shortest day in 2021 was longer than it was in 2020, reversing the trend from the previous year.
But on June 29, 2022, our planet made its fastest-ever rotation, and on July 26, 2022, there was a day that lasted 1.50 milliseconds less, apparently.
The Earth rotated in 1.4602 milliseconds less than 24 hours on July 19, 2020, breaking the previous record for the shortest revolution.
But, why is the Earth’s spin apparently accelerating?
The cause of the differing speed of Earth’s spin is unknown, but theories abound:
- Some have postulated that less weight on the poles results from the melting of the glaciers.
- Others note that the molten core of our planet’s interior is moving over time.
- Seismic activity could be another related cause,
- Yet others surmise that the movement of Earth’s geographic poles across its surface — known as the “Chandler wobble.”
Whether any of these theories hold water is yet to be ascertained, but it could also be either a combination of these factors or something different entirely.
The significance of Earth’s rotational speed
Earth’s quickening rotation has consequences because atomic clocks—which are used in GPS satellites—don’t take into account the Earth’s changing rotation.