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

According to him, the current movement of the magnetic north pole "is pretty fast". Currently, the northern magnetic pole is moving from the Canadian Arctic towards Siberia. The next update was not scheduled to happen until 2020, but due to the North Pole's sudden shift, researchers have to bring it forward as magnetic north heads out of the Canadian Arctic and moves towards Siberia.

It's a problem for organisations (such as the United States military) which use magnetic north for navigation, and it's now moving so quickly scientists are having to update their estimates ahead of schedule.

The pole is moving about 34 miles a year, scientists say, crossing the global date line in 2017 on a journey towards Russian Federation.

Phil Livermore of the University of Leeds told an American Geophysical Union meeting: "The location of the north magnetic pole appears to be governed by two large-scale patches of magnetic field, one beneath Canada and one beneath Siberia". 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 World Magnetic Model.

Since 1831, the magnetic north pole in northern Canada has been moving across the Arctic toward Russian Federation.

Federal organizations like NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration use something called the World Magnetic Model for navigational purposes as well as surveying and mapping, satellite tracking, and air traffic management.

"It has changes akin to weather", Lathrop said.

In general Earth's magnetic field is getting weaker, leading scientists to say it will eventually flip, where the North and South poles change polarity, like a bar magnet flipping over. "By sampling these rocks and using radiometric dating techniques, it has been possible to reconstruct the history of the Earth's magnetic field for roughly the last 160 million years", wrote the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in a blog post.

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

Our planet's magnetic field has weakened 15% in the past 200 years. And an overall weakening of the magnetic field isn't good for people and especially satellites and astronauts.

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.