Unexpected magnetic north pole changes mean new world magnetic model map
06 February, 2019, 16:11 | Author: Sherry Houston
It has already crossed the International Date Line in 2017 and now is on its way to cross the Canadian Arctic and then Siberia. But the planet's magnetic north pole - the north that every compass points toward - is moving at a speed of about 55 kilometers per year.
It's caused by turbulence in the liquid outer core of our planet, where a hot ocean of iron and nickel generates a magnetic field.
The magnetic north pole has been moving so fast that scientists on Monday released an update of where it really was, almost a year ahead of schedule.
For most civilian purposes in Western Europe and North America, British Geological Survey geophysicist Ciaran Beggan says the changes would be relatively minor. The military depends upon where magnetic north is intended for navigation and parachute drops, whereas NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration and the US Forest Service use it.
What is the Magnetic North Pole?
The South Magnetic Pole is moving far slower than the north.
It could be thousands of years before the magnetic field reverses again, the researchers believe. Research into rock signatures has shown that this can happen about every 250,000 years, except for the last one - that happened around 780,000 years ago. Since 1831, the magnetic north pole in northern Canada has been moving across the Arctic toward Russian Federation.
Earth's magnetic North Pole has been shifting towards Russian Federation so quickly scientists have been forced to publish an update on its actual location a year early.
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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.
Global Positioning System navigation isn't affected because it is satellite based.
While the geographic north pole is fixed, the magnetic north pole - the north that your compass points toward - is not.
North isn't quite where it used to be.
"The dynamo of Earth's core creates a magnetic field that is slightly tilted from the planet's rotational axis". By the summer, the discrepancy between the World Magnetic Model and the real-time location of the north magnetic pole had almost exceeded the threshold needed for accurate navigation, said William Brown, a geomagnetic field modeler for the BGS.
Also, migratory animals such as birds, butterflies, and whales use the magnetic field for directions. Everyday users of maps applications will never notice the subtleties caused by a misplaced magnetic pole, but submarines and aircraft do still rely on compasses in addition to newer technologies.
'Although GPS is a great tool for navigation, it is limited in that it only provides your position, ' geodetic scientist James Friederich from the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency explained in 2014.
'All of these examples need the WMM to provide your proper orientation'.
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