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Since this system of correction was implemented in 1972, 27 leap seconds have been inserted, the most recent on December 31, 2016 at UTC.
The UTC time standard, which is widely used for international timekeeping and as the reference for civil time in most countries, uses the international system (SI) definition of the second, based on atomic clocks.
Since the introduction of leap seconds, the mean solar day has outpaced UTC only for very brief periods, and has not triggered a negative leap second.
Because the Earth's rotation speed varies in response to climatic and geological events, UTC leap seconds are irregularly spaced and unpredictable.
Leap seconds in Unix time are commonly implemented by repeating the last second of the day.
Network Time Protocol freezes time during the leap second.
However, the duration of one mean solar day is now slightly longer (by roughly 0.001 seconds) than 24 hours (86400 SI seconds) because the rotation of the Earth has slowed down.When the Coordinated Universal Time standard was instituted in 1961, based on atomic clocks, it was felt necessary to maintain agreement with the GMT time of day, which, until then, had been the reference for broadcast time services.