Weather Blog: Shorter days in 2020

2020 was a difficult year, and many wanted it to end faster than it did. Earth felt the same way because it has been spinning unusually fast. On average, the planet spins once on its axis every 86,400 seconds.

Posted: Jan 12, 2021 3:08 PM
Updated: Jan 12, 2021 3:09 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — 2020 was a difficult year, and many wanted it to end faster than it did.

According to timeanddate.com, Earth felt the same way because it has been spinning unusually fast.

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28 of the shortest days since 1960 happened in 2020.

On average, the planet spins once on its axis every 86,400 seconds.

That equals 24 hours, or one solar day.

If you remember the Broadway musical Rent, it takes 525,600 minutes to rotate the sun.

Highly accurate atomic clocks were developed in the 1960s.

They showed that a mean solar day can vary by milliseconds.

Certain factors can either speed up or slow down the Earth's spin each day.

These factors include atmospheric pressure, ocean currents, wind, and movement of the planet's molten core.

This impacts the milliseconds of Earth's spin, but they can add up.

A millisecond equals 0.001 second.

It results in the highly accurate atomic clock being knocked out of sync with astronomical time.

Atomic clocks are important because they are used to set Coordinated Universal Time, UTC.

That's how everyone on the planet can agree on what time it is.

Before last year, the shortest day was July 5, 2005.

That's when the Earth rotated in 1.0516 milliseconds less than the average 86,400 seconds.

The shortest day in 2020 happened on July 19.

Earth completed its rotation in 1.4602 milliseconds less than 86,400 seconds.

Scientists believe Earth's faster rotational spin will continue into 2021.

Using a mathematical equation to calculate the mean solar day, the researchers believe the average day in 2021 will be 0.05 milliseconds shorter than 86,400 seconds.

Over the course of the year, atomic clocks will be off by 19 milliseconds.

According to livescience.com, when astronomical time deviates from UTC by more than 0.4 seconds, UTC will be adjusted.

Positive or negative leap seconds can be added to the equation to sync the clocks back up as needed.

Leap seconds were introduced in 1972 and they have only been positive so far.

That means they have added an extra second to clocks, allowing Earth to catch up.

Leap seconds have been added every year and a half on average, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology

If the Earth continues to spin at a faster rate, then we may need to add a negative second to catch up.

This year is predicted to be the shortest in decades.

1937 was the last time an average day was shorter than 86,400 seconds over a full year.

A leap second is different from a leap year.

Leap seconds are used as needed, whereas leap years are necessary.

A solar year is actually 365.2422 days, not 365.

Therefore, February 29th is added every 4 years to compensate for the partial day.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
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Hi: 33° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 27°
Angola
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Huntington
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Hi: 32° Lo: 30°
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Fort Wayne
Cloudy
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Feels Like: 27°
Lima
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