It’s almost like when the world awaited the predicted crash at the end of the second millennium. Stock markets, banks’ software, airlines, trading floors and technology companies are braced for chaos today as world timekeepers prepare to add a leap second to global clocks.
Just before midnight tonight, dials will read 11:59:60 pm, as clocks pause for a second to allow the Earth’s rotation to catch up with atomic time.
When the last leap second was added in 2012 Mozilla, Reddit, Yelp, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon all recorded crashes and there were problems with the Linux operating system and programmes written in Java.
The “leap second” is to allow extremely precise devices to keep in sync with the Earth’s rotation, which is gradually slowing. The extra second added by atomic clocks at 11:59:60 pm will keep official time in tune with when night and day are supposed to happen.