Earth has begun spinning slower and scientists are baffled as to why

Earth's rotation has begun to slow down, despite speeding up last year – and scientists are baffled as to why.

The planet's rotation varies slightly all the time depending on the movement of the core, oceans and atmosphere – but this time there could be an effect on our time.

Each day contains 86,400 seconds, on average but timekeepers say we still may need a "negative leap second" in the next decade or the clocks would be out of sync, Live Science reports.

When the Universal Coordinated Time (UTC), the official international timekeeping method, don't quite sync up by more than 0.4 seconds, our clocks require an adjustment in the form of a "leap second."

The last time an adjustment was needed was on New Year's Eve 2016 as a second was added at 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds.

According to theNational Institute of Standards and Technology, scientists have added a leap second about every 18 months on average since 1972.

Nick Stamatakos, one of the US Naval Observatory representatives to the IERS Directing Board, told Time and Date: "We've tried internally modelling things for the next two or more years.

"But we run into trouble predicting more than six months or one year ahead."

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  • US preparing to build 'Space Superhighway' complete with pit stops for trips to Moon

The news comes after scientists have raised fears Earth could one day become unstable as the moon "drifts farther away" from our planet.

During its 4.5 billion years of life, the moon has been slowly moving away. Although this has always been the case, it is now believed that the moon could one day leave us entirely.

According to the science journal Earth, Planets and Space, this could wreak havoc on almost every aspect of our lives, as the gravitational rotations of Earth and moon impact on the sea, sun, mammals, plant life and more, Express reports.

It currently sits around 240,000 miles away.

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