Earth recorded its shortest day in modern history at 1.59 milliseconds, but scientists say that’s not exceptional as the length of each day varies.

Some people on social media (here and here) wonder if they should worry current news reports which claimed the Earth spun faster than usual on June 29, 2022.

“They brought the news that the earth is spinning faster, which apparently should be bigger news. We are so desensitized to the catastrophe at this point that whatever comes next is the same thing,” one person tweeted.

THE QUESTION

Did the Earth spin faster than usual on June 29, 2022?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, the Earth spun faster than usual on June 29, 2022, but scientists insist this is nothing to worry about.

WHAT WE FOUND

The Earth spun faster than usual on June 29, 2022, resulting in the shortest day in modern history, according to NASA. in a (n Blog post from August 12thThe space agency explained that June 29 was 1.59 milliseconds shorter than a normal 24-hour day, which is approximately 86,400 seconds long.

NASA wrote that June 29 is a record in the era of atomic clocks“it’s nothing out of the ordinary” because the length of each day actually varies over time.

“June 29, 2022 was not the shortest day in Earth history, but it was the shortest day in recent modern times,” NASA wrote.

Stephen Merkowitz, Ph.D., a scientist and project manager at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, also told VERIFY that this is not an event of concern because the Earth’s rotation changes every day.

“It’s nothing out of the ordinary. It’s not even that extreme of an event. It’s definitely not something to worry about. It’s not like the Earth is changing its rotation drastically that will affect anyone’s life,” Merkowitz said.

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NASA and the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a nonprofit organization that supports 130,000 Earth and space scientists, both say the speed at which the Earth spins can be affected by a number of factors, including ocean currents or melting ice sheets.

“The currently observed increased rotational speed can be attributed to various geophysical phenomena alone or in combination, including post-glacial rebound effects after melting ice masses especially in the polar regions, climatological effects on global hydrology recent consecutive La Nina events, and Changes in the parameters of the Earth’s Chandler wobble‘ wrote NASA.

“Storms, tides, melting ice, internal mantle churning, etc. can change the way mass is distributed on the planet and that can change the Earth’s rotation in the short term,” AGU told VERIFY.

According to NASA and AGU, the Earth’s rotation had slowed in recent years, largely due to friction caused by tidal changes. To adjust to that, Merkowitz told VERIFY leap seconds were added to account for the slowed rotation. A leap second is a second added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) – the time people use in their daily lives – to synchronize it with astronomical time.

“Earth continues to rotate very close to 24 hours, but in this case it takes just over a millisecond…. and since that can accumulate over time, let’s introduce leap seconds here,” Merkowitz said.

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https://www.kvue.com/article/news/verify/science-verify/earth-spinning-faster-june-29-2022-shortest-day-in-modern-history-space-fact-check/536-29cc466b-ff7b-4ff8-9e8a-bbc31bd50651 Earth spins faster: shortest day recorded in modern history

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