[LEAPSECS] Changing the name of TAI?

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Sun Oct 19 23:56:18 EDT 2014

As has been discussed there is no proposal to rename UTC.  The same cannot be said about TAI, however.

For whatever reason the proposal from the 2003 Torino colloquium to define a new leapless timescale called Temps International (TI) has been ignored.  But it isn't only UTC that TI was meant to supplant:

“In the case of a redefinition of UTC without leap seconds, the CCTF would consider discussing the possibility of suppressing TAI, as it would remain parallel to the continuous UTC." (http://www.bipm.org/cc/CCTF/Allowed/18/CCTF_09-27_note_on_UTC-ITU-R.pdf <http://www.bipm.org/cc/CCTF/Allowed/18/CCTF_09-27_note_on_UTC-ITU-R.pdf>)

What is being proposed is not only to redefine UTC, but also to rename TAI (as UTC).

Rather, the least cost alternative, in terms of time, money, risks, documentation...and of general aggravation, was identified in 2003 in Torino.  Define a new timescale with a new name and new properties and justify it on its own merits.  Leave both TAI and UTC alone for backwards compatibility.  Drop the controversial proposal loathed by many.  Take the clear path.

Rob Seaman
National Optical Astronomy Observatory

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