A UN agency has decided to take its time deciding on the future of “leap seconds”.

Keeping time at Canary Wharf

Keeping time at Canary Wharf Image by Ofer Desche / CC BY 2.0

The International Telecommunication Union said that it had considered a proposal to abandon the leap second at a conference in Geneva, Switzerland, but recommended further study. The practice of periodically adding an extra second to compensate for the slightly slower rotation of the Earth has kept computers synchronised with the planet’s 24-hour day since 1972. The international timekeepers said they needed more details on the possible impact of ending the practice, and would evaluate the findings at a meeting of the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023. Until then, leap seconds will be added as needed.

The last leap second was added on June 30; the time before that was in 2012.

(Press Association)