Earth’s north pole is moving at unprecedented speeds and scientists are still unsure of why this is often the case.
What makes these recent changes so interesting is that the sheer speed at which they’re occurring.
Some fear that the rapid movement of the north pole could cause problems for Global Positioning Systems (GPS), military operations, airliners, and other navigation systems that believe pinpointing where precisely the pole is found.
Migratory animals like birds, butterflies, and whales also use the magnetic flux for directions.
The latest report from NOAA, the “World Magnetic Model” for 2020, shows the pole rapidly speeding within the direction of Siberia. However, the trajectory of the pole will likely change.
NGA in partnership with @NOAA and therefore the @BritGeoSurvey, has released the planet Magnetic Model 2020 update, providing more precise navigational data for all military and civilian planes, ships, submarines and GPS units.
This isn’t the primary time that this has happened—polar wandering has been constant since the North Pole was first discovered, consistent with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NOAA’s National Centres for Environmental Information explained:
“Since its first formal discovery in 1831, the north magnetic pole has travelled around 1,400 miles (2,250 km).
This wandering has been generally quite slow, allowing scientists to stay track of its position fairly easily.”
As recently as 2000, the north Pole was clocked at moving 6.2 miles per annum toward Northern Russia, but data for subsequent 20 years shows the typical rate suddenly increasing to roughly 34 miles per annum within the same direction, while the newest readings in 2019 show it slightly decreasing to about 31 miles per annum.
The World Magnetic Model predicts the typical speed will hamper to roughly 25 miles per annum from 2020 to 2025.
“The WMM2020 forecasts that the northern magnetic pole will continue drifting toward Russia, although at a slowly decreasing speed—down to about 40 km per annum compared to the typical speed of 55 km over the past twenty years.”
For the primary time in recorded history, the pole has even gone by the Greenwich meridian—the imaginary line wont to indicate 0° longitude and determine time zones.
Geomagnetic specialist Ciaran Beggan from British Geological Survey (BGS) told the Financial Times:
“The movement since the 1990s is far faster than at any time for a minimum of four centuries.
We really don’t know much about the changes within the core that’s driving it.”
The team of researchers that maintain the planet Magnetic Model has updated it and released it a year before schedule. The newly updated model shows the north pole moving faraway from Canada and toward Siberia.
The new model also confirms that Earth’s magnetic flux is weakening. If this continues, scientists say the sector could collapse entirely and flip polarity—changing north to south and vice versa—and the results might be dire for the earth.
But before we start to panic, we should always remember that the Earth’s magnetic poles have already flipped up to 100 times within the past 20 million years, the last reversal occurring roughly 773,000 years ago.
Earlier this year, the rapid movement of the North Pole garnered headlines when scientists revealed that the north was moving so fast that that they had to update their model of the planet’s magnetic flux much before expected.
At the time, the Mind Unleashed reported:
“The drift is that the results of processes deep within the center of the earth, where the liquid outer core comprised of iron and nickel spins and flows like water, serving as a conductor for Earth’s magnetic flux.
The recent change within the flow of the fluid is believed to be almost like the formation of a airstream within the atmosphere, resulting in changes within the planet’s magnetic flux.
… these changes are all part and parcel of the natural behavior of the world and haven’t been caused by act. Rock samples reveal that the Earth’s magnetic flux has been in motion for many years.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison geologist and NOAA study author Brad Singer told CNN that while the shifts within the pole could, within the future, cause impacts on satellites, communication, and navigation, researchers will likely have generations to affect any major instability within the magnetic flux.
“The decrease in geomagnetic field is far more important and dramatic than the reversal,” said Dr. Nicolas Thouveny from the ecu Centre for Research and Teaching of Environmental Geosciences (CEREGE) in Aix-en-Provence, France.
“It is extremely important to know if this field will decay to zero within the next century, because we’ll need to prepare.”