If you are one of those people who can’t wait for 2016 to be over, then bad news – you’ll have to wait a second longer.
Clocks around the world will add one additional second to the final minute of 2016 to compensate for Earth’s rotation on its axis, which has actually slowed slightly.
On December 31, 2016, a "leap second" will be added to the world's clocks at 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which corresponds to 5:29:59 am Indian Standard Time on January 1.
UTC is computed in Paris, France, at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.
Historically, time was based on the mean rotation of the Earth relative to celestial bodies and the second was defined in this reference frame.
However, the invention of atomic clocks defined a much more precise "atomic" timescale and a second that is independent of Earth's rotation.
Measurements show that the Earth, on average, runs slow compared to atomic time, at about 1.5 to 2 milliseconds per day.
Scientists have determined that after roughly 500 to 750 days, the difference between Earth rotation time and atomic time would be about one second.
Since 1972, 26 additional leap seconds have been added at intervals varying from six months to seven years, with the most recent being inserted on June 30, 2015.
The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, based at the Paris Observatory in France, tracks the Earth’s rotation and announces when a leap second is needed roughly six months in advance.
However, leap seconds can cause problems for communication networks, financial systems and other applications that rely on precise timing and has to be programmed into computers to avoid mistakes.
It is also possible for a second to be removed from the UTC (Universal Co-ordinated Time) timescale, although this has never happened.