Britain’s status as the keeper of the world’s time standard is under threat following new recommendations by the International Telecoms Union (ITU) to create a more accurate means of measuring time.
According to reports, the new recommendations may see the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in Paris take the reins of world time.
Speaking to a reporter from FRANCE 24 at last week’s ITU event in Geneva, US Navy scientist Ronald Beard who chaired the working group making the proposals said: “GMT has been recognised as flawed by scientists since the 1920s, and since the introduction of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) [measured by highly accurate atomic clocks] in 1972 it has effectively been obsolete.”
Currently, the system works by measuring time against the rotation of the earth according to the movement of the sun over a north-south meridian line which runs directly through the centre of Greenwich in London. However, this is flawed under scientific terms due to the fact that the earth’s rotation slows down by a second each year, and even by adding back on these ‘leap seconds’ every few years the old GMT system is not suitable for increasingly complex communications technology that rely on scientific accuracy.
No decisons will be made until the ITU vote on the proposals in January next year.