[LEAPSECS] dismaying news

Steve Allen sla at ucolick.org
Wed Nov 18 00:25:27 EST 2015

Last Thursday the chair of WRC-15 Special Working Group 5A3 submitted
Temporary Document [68]
Proposals relating to agenda item 1.14
No further meetings of SWG 5A3 are on the calendar.

The contents of that will not be available until after it is
considered by a plenary session, but Saturday the CEPT ECC published a
MSWord document of news from the second week of WRC-15 at

The dismaying news in that document says there will be no decision
from WRC-15.  That means the earliest decision is at WRC-19, so there
will be leap seconds in the radio broadcast time scale at least until
2023.  The news item reads

    The sub working group (SWG 5A3) has finished its work and has
    developed a draft new WRC Resolution (as part of way forward)
    which will be discussed at WG5A meeting.

    The draft Resolution sets out the framework for further work in
    collaboration with relevant bodies (i.e.  BIPM/CIPM/CGPM etc) as
    ITU is not a proper body to decide the definition of UTC, and will
    report back in 2023 and meanwhile the ITU-R Recommendation TF
    460-6 (with leap seconds) will continue to apply until 2023.

    The draft resolution was agreed in the sub working group however
    the group could not reach an agreement on proposals to modify the
    article 1.14 of the Radio Regulations (RR) and both options now
    will be will be discussed at the next WG5A level.

    Next step: Further discussions at the WG5A level.

By 2023 the process of reconsidering leap seconds will have gone on
for more than two decades.  I suspect that many technical applications
will find they have enough agency to choose a better time scale in the
absence of an international recommendation.

Steve Allen                 <sla at ucolick.org>               WGS-84 (GPS)
UCO/Lick Observatory--ISB   Natural Sciences II, Room 165   Lat  +36.99855
1156 High Street            Voice: +1 831 459 3046          Lng -122.06015
Santa Cruz, CA 95064        http://www.ucolick.org/~sla/    Hgt +250 m

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