[tz] Negative leap seconds in mainstream media

Steve Allen sla at ucolick.org
Tue Jan 12 16:41:59 UTC 2021

On Tue 2021-01-12T08:09:58-0700 Jonathan Leffler hath writ:
> There were a number of articles about a week ago with some details about
> the amount by which the earth is spinning faster.
> One such is:
> https://www.space.com/earth-spinning-faster-negative-leap-second.html

> That appears to be a report from Live Science — I've not tracked down the
> original.

> On Tue, Jan 12, 2021 at 7:57 AM Koning, Paul <Paul.Koning at dell.com> wrote:
> > Yes.  The other point, though, is that leap seconds lengthen the day.  In
> > theory we can have omitted seconds, in practice we have not had those.  The
> > article speaks of the days getting shorter.  Is there any data that
> > supports this assertion?

Apologies, I forget that not everyone is running weekly cron jobs that
interrogate the ongoing publications of IERS bureaus in order to track
earth rotation.  It has been faster during 2020, but not enough that
a negative leap second looks likely.  Still, predicting the weather
in the earth's core is hard, so it is not impossible.

The original impetus for the articles was almost certainly Time and
Date dot com who have been running an ongoing page of the IERS numbers
with sports statistics about how fast the earth is rotating.  See
and their year end summary at

It looks like a reporter for a UK newspaper picked up on that and
interviewed Peter Whibberley of NPL in order to start the sequence
of bots reproducing the original and other reporters rephrasing.

Steve Allen                    <sla at ucolick.org>              WGS-84 (GPS)
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