Earth's Magnetic Pole is Quickly Moving Toward Russia, Models Say

The Magnetic North Pole keeps moving about and it could be a problem

The Magnetic North Pole keeps moving about and it could be a problem

North isn't quite where it used to be.

A more serious possible outcome 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. Since it's always on the move, scientists update their model every five years, the last update being in 2015. Since 1831, the magnetic north pole in northern Canada has been moving across the Arctic toward Russian Federation. It crossed the worldwide dateline in 2017 and is leaving the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia.

The constant shift is a problem for compasses in smartphones and some consumer electronics.

Airplanes and boats also rely on magnetic north, usually as backup navigation, said University of Colorado geophysicist Dr Arnaud Chulliat, lead author of the WMM.

The magnetic shift might not be an issue for satellite-based Global Positioning System but USA military ships in the region rely on the pole for navigation. For example, the airport in Fairbanks, Alaska, renamed a runway 1L-19R to 2L-20R in 2009.

'While the conditions that cause polarity reversals are not entirely predictable - the north pole's movement could subtly change direction, for instance - there is nothing in the millions of years of geologic record to suggest that any of the doomsday scenarios connected to a pole reversal should be taken seriously'.

Since 1831 when it was first measured in the Canadian Arctic it has moved about 1,400 miles (2300 kilometers) toward Siberia. Its speed has jumped from about 9mph to 34mph since 2000. Earth's magnetic field is created in its liquid outer core, which is made of liquid iron and nickel.

"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.

Earth's magnetic field is now getting weaker, and scientists believe the poles could "flip" at some point in the future.

This is the Earth's magnetic field, but perhaps not for much longer, because scientists fear the magnetic field will flip.

NASA said: "The last time that Earth's poles flipped in a major reversal was about 780,000 years ago, in what scientists call the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal".

"It's not a question of if it's going to reverse, the question is when it's going to reverse", Lathrop said.

For this reason, the recently announced update to the World Magnetic Model, the mathematical foundation for navigation which allows magnetic north to be precisely fixed, is crucial, and could not have come a moment too soon. And an overall weakening of the magnetic field isn't good for people and especially satellites and astronauts. The magnetic field shields Earth from some unsafe radiation, Lathrop said. Scientists have, however, noticed in recent years an increased rate at which the pole appears to shift from location to location.

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

'Our war fighters use magnetics to orient their maps.

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