John Wheeler: Universal Coordinated Time may not match Astronomical Time any more

Corporations such as Google and Meta, which maintain systems based on extremely precise timekeeping, have asked for the suspension.

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FARGO — Here, literally, is a minute detail that matters, even if it is only a fraction of a second. At the recent General Conference on Weights and Measures in Paris, representatives from world governments decided to suspend, at least until 2035, the practice of adjusting the universal coordinated time (UCT) to match astronomical time (UT1). The tradition has been to make an adjustment to the UCT whenever variations in Earth's rotation causes the UT1 to be more than 0.9 seconds off the ongoing UTC.

Most people will notice nothing. However, corporations such as Google and Meta, which maintain systems based on extremely precise timekeeping, have asked for the suspension, because the occasional adjustments are difficult to manage technologically. One proposed solution would be to scrap solar time altogether and adapt a universal time for the entire Earth in which noon would happen at completely different times around the world.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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