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    Re: The future of the leap second
    From: Andrés Ruiz
    Date: 2012 Jan 24, 14:41 +0100

    -----Mensaje original-----
    De: central_bureau@iers.org [mailto:central_bureau@iers.org]
    Enviado el: martes, 24 de enero de 2012 13:08
    Para: messages@iers.org
    Asunto: IERS Message No. 202: Decision to eliminate the leap second deferred



    IERS Message No. 202                                    January 24, 2012




    Decision to eliminate the leap second deferred



    The ITU Radiocommunication Assembly, held at Geneva, Switzerland, from

    16 to 20 January 2012, decided to defer the development of a continuous time standard in order to address the concerns of countries that use the current system of the leap second in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).


    The decision has been reached to ensure that all the technical options have been fully addressed in further studies related to the issue. These studies will involve further discussions within the ITU membership and with other organizations that have an interest in this matter and will be referred to the next Radiocommunication Assembly and World Radiocommunication Conference scheduled for 2015.


    Adjustments made in one second steps, known as 'leap seconds', have been implemented since 1972 to compensate for variations in the speed of the earth's rotation within the framework of UTC.


    UTC is defined by ITU's Radiocommunication Sector and is maintained by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in cooperation with the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS). Measurements from timing centres around the world are used in the determination of UTC, which is adjusted to within 0.9 seconds of Earth rotation time (UT1) by IERS-determined values of the Earth's rotation.


    The suppression of the leap second would make continuous time scale available for all the modern electronic navigation and computerized systems to operate with and eliminate the need for specialized ad hoc time systems. This however may have social and legal consequences when the accumulated difference between UT1 - Earth rotation time - would reach a perceivable level (2 to 3 minutes in 2100 and about 30 minutes in 2700).


    ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure considered the decision taken by the Radiocommunication Assembly will ensure that all stakeholders have been adequately associated with a step which will clearly influence our future.



    Source: ITU Press Release,





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