Unexpected magnetic north pole changes mean new world magnetic model map

Unexpected magnetic north pole changes mean new world magnetic model map

At the moment, the northern magnetic pole is moving away from the Canadian Arctic and toward Siberia.

Our planet's magnetic field has weakened 15% in the past 200 years.

The US and United Kingdom tend to update the location of the North Magnetic Pole every five years in December, but this update came early because of the pole's faster movement. The early update was initially scheduled to be released at the beginning of the January, but the government shutdown forced a delay.

The drift is caused by processes deep inside the planet, he said.

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.

NOAA noted that the "military uses the WMM for undersea and aircraft navigation, parachute deployment, and more", adding that "NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Forest Service, and many more use this technology for surveying and mapping, satellite/antenna tracking, and air traffic management".

Airport runways are named with numeric identifiers based on where magnetic north is. The Fairbanks airport renamed runway 1L-19R to 2L-20R in 2009.

Since the pole was first measured in 1831, it has moved an estimated 1,400 miles (2,300km) towards Siberia.

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For most civilian purposes in Western Europe and North America, British Geological Survey geophysicist Ciaran Beggan says the changes would be relatively minor.

"Due to unplanned variations in the Arctic region, scientists have released a new model to more accurately represent the change of the magnetic field between 2015 and now", the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Center for Environmental Information wrote in a press release. The rate of the North Pole's motion, however, has been fast enough that the agencies who produce the model aren't comfortable with waiting for the current model expiration at the end of 2019.

On Monday, NOAA announced the release of an update to the World Magnetic Model, a tool that tracks how the Earth's magnetic field changes depending on where you're located on the planet. 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.

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

"We've updated the model on a five-year cycle, because in the past, that's the average amount time it takes for the errors to become too large", Chulliat said.

It might sound like something out of a Hollywood disaster movie, but the world's magnetic northern pole has changed. Speaking at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December, he suggested that the tumult far below the Arctic may explain the movement of magnetic field lines above it. And an overall weakening of the magnetic field isn't good for people and especially satellites and astronauts. The magnetic field shields Earth from some unsafe radiation, Lathrop said.

The charts, known as the World Magnetic Model (WMM), are used to convert between compass measurements of magnetic north and true north.

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