International Atomic Time

International Atomic Time (TAI, from the French name temps atomique international[1]) is a high-precision atomic coordinate time standard based on the notional passage of proper time on Earth's geoid.[2] It is the principal realisation of Terrestrial Time (with a fixed offset of epoch). It is also the basis for Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is used for civil timekeeping all over the Earth's surface. As of 1 January 2017, when another leap second was added,[3] TAI is currently exactly 37 seconds ahead of Unix time. The 37 seconds results from the initial difference of 10 seconds at the start of 1972, plus 27 leap seconds in UTC since 1972.

TAI may be reported using traditional means of specifying days, carried over from non-uniform time standards based on the rotation of the Earth. Specifically, both Julian days and the Gregorian calendar are used. TAI in this form was synchronised with Universal Time at the beginning of 1958, and the two have drifted apart ever since, due to the changing motion of the Earth.