Time Is Up for the Leap Second

If you’re like most people these days, it seems like times goes by pretty quickly. Although it may seem that way, in 2035 time will literally stop skipping ahead. That’s because the practice of adding a leap second will end for at least 100 years. In November 2022, the General Conference on Weights and Measures — the international timekeeping body that determines global standards for measuring time — passed a resolution to let clocks run in the future without adding or subtracting time. The decision is a move toward atomic timekeeping and away from timekeeping’s connection with universal time, which tracks time using the speed of the earth’s rotation around its axis and the movement of the sun across the earth. The addition of leap seconds was meant to bridge the difference between measurements of atomic and astronomical time. After the first leap second was used to pad atomic time in 1972, only 27 have been added since. The most recent leap second was introduced in 2016.