Drift of the North Pole forces early magnetic map update ars_ab.settitle(1451611)

  • Drift of the North Pole forces early magnetic map update ars_ab.settitle(1451611)

Drift of the North Pole forces early magnetic map update ars_ab.settitle(1451611)

Earth's magnetic north pole has been drifting so much in recent years that scientific estimates are no longer accurate for navigation, prompting the National Centers for Environmental Information to publish updated information almost a year early.

Over time, and especially in a scenario where Earth reverses polarity and the magnetic poles swap places, the moving of the Magnetic North Pole will affect animals, birds and sea life that use the polls' magnetic fields for navigation. The magnetic north pole is the point that compasses point to as north and is important to all sorts of navigation technologies.

According to National Geographic, there appears to be a "tug-of-war" between two patches of magnetic field under northern Canada and Siberia thousands of kilometers below Earth.

This is causing a navigational nightmare for compasses in smartphones, boats and for airport navigators as well as in some consumer electronics, and WMM was forced to update a year early in order to keep it accurate.

Global Positioning System isn't affected because it's satellite-based, but airplanes and boats also rely on magnetic north, usually as backup navigation, said University of Colorado geophysicist Arnaud Chulliat, lead author of the newly issued WMM.

Since 1831 when it was first measured in the Canadian Arctic it has moved about 1400 miles (2300 km) towards 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. 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.

The updated model was released in October 2018, but the United States government shutdown meant that some critical details were left off.

Magnetic North is always moving, but recently the movement has significantly increased in pace, although scientists don't really know why.

The pole's movement towards Russian Federation can be attributed to the Earth's molten outer core.

"The slowly moving plates act as a kind of tape recorder leaving information about the strength and direction of past magnetic fields".

It has happened numerous times in Earth's past, but not in the last 780,000 years.

With the magnetic field of the Earth changing more than predicted, the values can be off requiring an out-of-cycle update such as this.

When it reverses, it won't be like a coin flip, but take 1,000 or more years, experts said.

The magnetic field shields Earth from some risky radiation, Mr Lathrop said.

North is not quite where it used to be.

They can be found in the navigation systems of ships and airplanes as well as geological applications - such as drilling and mining. Now the WMM has been updated, researchers are working to understand the changes.