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Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) will both become obsolete as time standards as the world's prime meridian is to move from its long standing home in Greenwich, London (U.K.) to Paris (France). The change will take place at midnight between June 30 and July 1, 2014, the International Timekeeping Committee (ITC) announced in a press release this morning.
Clocks around the world will have be set back 9 minutes and 21 seconds, the International Timekeeping Committee (ITC) just announced.
Forward 9 minutes 21 seconds
Clocks around the globe will have to be adjusted to reflect mean solar time in Paris, commonly referred to as Paris Mean Time (PMT). It is 9 minutes and 21 seconds ahead of the current local time, which is determined on the basis of UTC/GMT.
“From July, Paris will be the new center of world time”, ITC director Christophe L'Heureux summarized the change. “PMT will be the new GMT.”
According to Mr. L'Heureux, it will be a minor change for most people around the world. “Simply turn your clock from midnight to 12:09:21 a.m. (00:09:21) on July 1.”
He added that the committee works closely with the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), which incidentally is also based in Paris, to make sure that the world's atomic clocks will be adjusted accordingly.
Back to Paris meridian after 100 years
Before the Greenwich meridian was officially declared the world's prime meridian at the International Meridian Conference in Washington D.C. in 1884, Paris was its most potent rival. Even as late as 1914, the Paris meridian was unofficially used by many around the world for timekeeping and navigation purposes.
“2014 is a good choice”, Mr. L'Heureux said. “Paris has waited for exactly 100 years. It is only fair to let us have a go after such a long period of British time rule.”
Sour mood in Greenwich, scolding farmers
Pierre Bontemps, a French ITC delegate, apologized for the inconvenience the time change may cause, but maintained that most people won't mind. “If we inform people about the historical background, I think they will understand. We at the committee don't think that the world will even notice such a minor change.”
However, many have already voiced their disapproval. The online forum at the British Association of Farmers' website abounded with criticism. “What will my animals do?”, one comment read, “Do the French think my cows know what Paris Mean Time is?”
Simon Redcliffe from the Greenwich Royal Observatory couldn't quite hide his dismay. “We wish them luck. I hope the people at the Paris Observatory don't mess it up”, he said in a televised statement.
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Monday, October 21, 2019
In This Article
- Forward 9 minutes 21 seconds
- Back to Paris meridian after 100 years
- Sour mood in Greenwich, scolding farmers