Melting Ice and Ticking Clocks: How Global Warming Alters Timekeeping

Exploring the Unexpected Impact of Climate Change on Global Time Standards

7 mins
What is it about?




Timekeeping has historically been tied to the rotation of the Earth, dictating the measure of seconds and thereby influencing the creation of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This system, essential for activities like computing and financial transactions, adapts to the Earth's inconsistent rotation through the addition of leap seconds. Intriguingly, recent global warming trends have slowed down the Earth's rotation by hastening polar ice melt, thereby altering Earth’s angular velocity. This adjustment in velocity has deferred a unique challenge in UTC that might have necessitated a disruptive correction sooner.