The leap second survives — for at least three more years.
Delegates at an international telecommunications meeting in Geneva were to decide on Thursday whether to recommend the elimination of leap seconds, which are occasionally added to the world’s atomic clocks to keep them synchronized with Earth’s rotational cycles.
Richard C. Beaird, a State Department official who led the American delegation, said in a statement that discussions at the meeting “revealed a heightened degree of interest that has not previously existed on this issue.” With no consensus among the delegates, officials at the International Telecommunication Union, part of the United Nations, sent the issue back to a panel of experts for further study. A revised proposal will be introduced no earlier than 2015.
Mr. Beaird characterized the delay as “a significant step forward” and said the burst of interest in leap seconds “should allow for a decision that will have the widest possible backing.”