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The Future of Leap Seconds

All leap seconds added so far

UTC DateUTC TimeUTC–TAI after insertion
1972-06-3023:59:60-11 seconds
1972-12-3123:59:60-12 seconds
1973-12-3123:59:60-13 seconds
1974-12-3123:59:60-14 seconds
1975-12-3123:59:60-15 seconds
1976-12-3123:59:60-16 seconds
1977-12-3123:59:60-17 seconds
1978-12-3123:59:60-18 seconds
1979-12-3123:59:60-19 seconds
1981-06-3023:59:60-20 seconds
1982-06-3023:59:60-21 seconds
1983-06-3023:59:60-22 seconds
1985-06-3023:59:60-23 seconds
1987-12-3123:59:60-24 seconds
1989-12-3123:59:60-25 seconds
1990-12-3123:59:60-26 seconds
1992-06-3023:59:60-27 seconds
1993-06-3023:59:60-28 seconds
1994-06-3023:59:60-29 seconds
1995-12-3123:59:60-30 seconds
1997-06-3023:59:60-31 seconds
1998-12-3123:59:60-32 seconds
2005-12-3123:59:60-33 seconds
2008-12-3123:59:60-34 seconds
2012-06-3023:59:60-35 seconds
Further leap seconds not yet announced.

Leap seconds are added to our clocks to compensate for the Earth's slowing rotation.
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However, some scientists propose abolishing leap seconds in the future, redefining the way we measure time. This issue will be put to a vote in 2015.

Should the planet's rotation define time on Earth?

Triggered by a questionaire about Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) distributed by the IERS in 1999, scientists around the world began discussing the use of leap seconds. The argument revolves around the question:

Should we adjust our clocks to the Earth's slowing rotation, or should
atomic clocks be solely responsible for measuring time?

A never-ending argument?

The scientific community has so far failed to reach an agreement on this topic.

Leap seconds: pros and cons

Dr Markus Kuhn (University of Cambridge) lists the following arguments against leap seconds:

His arguments in favor of leap seconds include:

Despite calls by some people to retain leap seconds, atomic time advocates also argued that leap seconds were a burden because they were unpredictable.

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