February 21, 2019

Magnetic North Pole Moving Fast Toward Russia, Scientists Say

06 February 2019, 12:42 | Dale Webster

Check your compass: The magnetic north pole is on the move

The magnetic north pole is wandering about 34 miles a year. At the end of 2017 it crossed the international date lin

A more serious possible effect of the "tug of war" between magnetic field patches in northern Canada and Siberia, which some scientists say is causing the accelerated movement of the magnetic north pole, is its potential to weaken the magnetic shield sparing earth from deadly solar and cosmic radiation.

Earth's geographic north pole is fixed.

On Monday, February 4, the World Magnetic Model has found the pole is moving by an approximate 34 miles (55km) a year. It crossed the global dateline in 2017 and is leaving the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia.

The U.S.' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a statement Monday that scientists had updated the World Magnetic Model, used by smartphone and consumer electronics for maps and Global Positioning System services, ahead of time to account for unplanned changes in the Earth's magnetic field. Planes and boats also rely on magnetic north, usually as back-up navigation, said University of Colorado geophysicist Arnaud Chulliat, lead author of the newly issued World Magnetic Model.

Since 1831 when it was first measured in the Canadian Arctic it has moved about 1,400 miles (2300 kilometers) toward Siberia. In the five years between public updates, magnetic observations from the European Space Agency's Swarm mission are studied to track the movement of the poles.

"The declination has changed just over 2.5 degrees over the past 22 years since Denver opened", Heath Montgomery, former Denver International Airport spokesperson, said in a statement after the last update.

Today, however, reports suggest that these changes are occurring at a speed which was not anticipated and scientists were forced to release an emergency update for the World Magnetic Model. "They were caused by processes in the core that we don't yet understand". Research into rock signatures has shown that this can happen about every 250,000 years, except for the last one - that happened around 780,000 years ago.

The wandering pole is driven by unpredictable changes in liquid iron deep inside the Earth.

The magnetic north pole's movement over the past five decades. "It didn't move much between 1900 and 1980 but it's really accelerated in the past 40 years", said Ciaran Beggan, of the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh.

Also, migratory animals such as birds, butterflies, and whales use the magnetic field for directions.

Some scientists believe that Earth could be heading for a magnetic pole reversal.

The magnetic field shields Earth from some unsafe radiation, Dr Lathrop said. Most recently, it appears that magnetic north is shifting more rapidly towards Siberia, but that could change without warning at any time. "The northern end of this planet-size bar magnet is what's known as geomagnetic north-a point sitting off the northwest coast of Greenland that's changed position little over the last century", explained National Geographic of the phenomenon.

Researchers from the US's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintain the WMM.

'Your orientation, the direction you are facing, comes from the magnetic field'.

'All of these examples need the WMM to provide your proper orientation'.

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