Magnetic North Pole Moving Fast Toward Russia, Scientists Say

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

Scientists say the Earth's internal processes might cause these erratic changes, CNN noted.

Location of the north magnetic pole (white point) and the magnetic declination (contour interval 2 degrees) at the beginning of 2019. The model, which is updated and released every five years, had to be changed before 2020 because Earth's northern magnetic pole is shifting at a rate of roughly 34 miles per year from the Canadian arctic toward Siberia, CNN reported.

The magnetic pole is what compasses recognize as north - that's different from the North Pole, where all the lines of longitude meet.

Scientists for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British Geological Survey collaborate to produce a new World Magnetic Model - a mathematical representation of the field - every five years. It crossed the global date line in 2017, and is leaving the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia.

The model, which is commissioned by the British and United States military agencies, is typically updated every five years, the most recent being in 2015. On Monday, they released an update of where magnetic north really was, almost a year ahead of schedule. Since unplanned variations occurred, the map update was released out-of-cycle.

The NOAA said the WMM is used by the military, NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Forest Service for mapping, navigation, and air traffic management.

WMM helps to calibrate accurate geographical data for a host of consumer uses including compass apps, maps, and Global Positioning System services found on cellphones and other electronic devices.

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However, your favorite mapping app can not be trusted as the World Magnetic Model plays a role in Global Positioning System service.

"Airport runways are perhaps the most visible example of a navigation aid updated to match shifts in Earth's magnetic field". The Fairbanks airport renamed runway 1L-19R to 2L-20R in 2009. And an overall weakening of the magnetic field isn't good for people and especially satellites and astronauts.

The South Magnetic Pole is moving far slower than the north.

That could bother some birds that use magnetic fields to navigate.

"The average user is not going to be overly affected by this unless they happened to be trekking around the high Arctic", Ciaran Beggan, a geophysicist, told National Geographic. There is a hot liquid ocean of iron and nickel in the planet's core where the motion generates an electric field, said University of Maryland geophysicist Dr Daniel Lathrop.

The magnetic north pole, or south pole, does not coincide with the geographical north or south pole.

But its swift pace toward Siberia in recent years at a rate of around 55 kilometres per year has forced scientists to update the World Magnetic Model - used by civilian navigation systems, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and U.S. and British militaries - a year ahead of schedule.



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