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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.

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.