Leap second to be retired by 2035

A group of international experts has decided to retire the leap second, and many countries have endorsed the move

It’s a matter of just time for the leap second to disappear into oblivion. The leap second, which was first introduced in 1972, has always been a headache for timekeepers. With technologies ranging from satellite navigation to computer networks, telecommunication and aviation, taking over almost all activities around the globe, the significance of the leap second had come up for debate.

And now, international group of experts has decided to send the leap second into retirement phase. If things work out as planned, the leap second will not exist by the year 2035. The demand for extreme accuracy in time has increased with the arrival of technologies as earlier mentioned. The experts are now working on keeping the leap second by the wayside.

Leap second came into being in 1972

When its inception came about, 10 leap seconds were added to the atomic time scale, said a report. Later on, 27 more additions were made whenever the two time systems drifted apart by more than 0.9 seconds, the report added quoting The New York Times. However, adding leap seconds resulted in confusion and it came to a point that technical difficulties could occur and thereby affect financial transactions, energy transmissions and what not!

On November 18, international experts arrived at a decision to phase out the leap second methodology when they met in France. The occasion was an event organised by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), which is responsible for global timekeeping.

For those who are not aware, leap seconds, akin to leap years, are a measure of time that get added periodically to clocks to make up for the difference between astronomical time (Universal Time 1, or UT1), also known as the Earth’s rotation, and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is based on the atomic clock, according to web reports.  When the Earth’s rotation slows down, it accumulates one minute of delay each century and one hour of delay over 5,000 years. This paved the way for the inception of leap second.

Many countries endorse decision

It has been realised that owing to the leap second, airlines have been facing issues with regard to scheduling of flights as there is a difference in time. Different computing networks have developed their own methods to add in extra leap seconds. The errors come clear if there isn’t international synchronization when applying the leap second.

Now that the experts have decided to do away with the leap second, things will be different. Many countries have said yes to the decision already.

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