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Earth’s magnetic field is moving erratically, has scientists scrambling to update global models

Earth’s magnetic field is moving erratically, has scientists scrambling to update global models

Meanwhile, American press scrambles to connect this development to the government shutdown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6Ggs7nUjxA

While many climate scientists have been focused on “global warming,” other Earth scientists are reporting that another planetary phenomenon of true importance is occurring.

The Earth’s magnetic field is moving, and the important magnetic “North Pole” is changing position.

Earth’s magnetic fields are shifting – and scientists are unsure why.

Researchers say the magnetic North Pole is ‘skittering’ away from Canada, towards Siberia.

The problem has got so bad, researchers around the world are scrambling to update a global model of the fields.

Called the World Magnetic Model, it underlies all modern navigation, from the systems that steer ships at sea to Google Maps on smartphones.

The Earth’s magnetic poles have always been on the move. The concern for scientists at the present time is that the rate of increase has increased, which means all the technology that relies on the magnetic North Pole needs to be adjusted.

The most recent version of the model came out in 2015 and was supposed to last until 2020 — but the magnetic field is changing so rapidly that researchers have to fix the model now. “The error is increasing all the time,” says Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Centers for Environmental Information.

The problem lies partly with the moving pole and partly with other shifts deep within the planet. Liquid churning in Earth’s core generates most of the magnetic field, which varies over time as the deep flows change. In 2016, for instance, part of the magnetic field temporarily accelerated deep under northern South America and the eastern Pacific Ocean. Satellites such as the European Space Agency’s Swarm mission tracked the shift.

By early 2018, the World Magnetic Model was in trouble. Researchers from NOAA and the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh had been doing their annual check of how well the model was capturing all the variations in Earth’s magnetic field. They realized that it was so inaccurate that it was about to exceed the acceptable limit for navigational errors.

In fact, the magnetic North-South Poles have flipped during Earth’s history. Iron-bearing rocks can be dated based on the magnetic alignment detected. The field of paleommagnetism is based on this occurrence, and researchers have determined the last pole switch happened hundreds of thousands of years ago.

The Matuyama–Brunhes boundary now describes an event 780 thousand years ago when south became north, and north became south.

It was the last time this monumental reversal occured. Smaller deviations in the pole’s positions called geomagnetic excursions seem to occur far more frequently, including a weak flip-flop about 41,000 years ago when the field weakened to just 5 percent of its current strength for a few centuries.

The importance of the magnetic field to the Earth’s climate cannot be over-stated. That field deflects charged particles from the Sun, which would destroy the atmosphere if we didn’t have this protection. If you want to know what Earth would look like without our strong magnetic field, you need look no farther than Mars.

However, magnetic pole flips have occurred frequently through geologic history. Typically, the switch occurs every 200,000 – 300,000 years, so Earth is overdue for one. Their occurrence does not correspond to extinction level events and continental chaos despite dramatic claims to the contrary that I have read. The two chief problems associated with today’s activity are dealing with the global models and coverage by science-ignorant reporters.

Of course, the American media is keen to connect every single issue to the government shutdown. The magnetic field movement is no exception. As an example, here is the lede to the report in Fortune.

The north magnetic pole’s rapid and inexorable shift requires the early release of a new model of Earth’s magnetic field for military and civilian navigation around the Arctic. The partial federal government shutdown will delay the release of this model from January 15 until at least January 30, despite the U.S. military’s request for the update ahead of schedule.

And while our magnetic poles may change through time, our press remains completely the same.

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Comments

Why do I get the feeling that we are leading to some kind of sci fi disaster movie cataclysm?

The earth’s core is presumed to be made of a collection of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, some of which could alter our magnetic field substantially if stirred up.

    NotCoach in reply to healthguyfsu. | January 14, 2019 at 10:35 am

    Who is doing the stirring?

    Anyways, our poles periodically flip. It is a regular thing, and research in the past 50 years has shown that Earth’s magnetic field has been weakening for over 5,000 years. Probably an early indicator a flip is coming, but it may not be a smooth transition. We might go through thousands of years of a very spotty magnetic field with magnetic “north” popping up all over the place before it settles down.

    Earth’s Magnetic Field is drunk and needs to go home!

      WoadKnode in reply to EBL. | January 15, 2019 at 8:39 am

      Gee, no science geeks hangout here. The first comment by healthguyfsu included “collection of ferrous and non-ferrous metals”. That should set the tone of following comments.
      Anyway what is not taught is this collection is radioactive. This attractiveness keeps the core hot since radioactive decay generates heat. I cold core would not generate the magnetic field. Disaster. Radiation saves earth and all of nature!

The Friendly Grizzly | January 13, 2019 at 4:06 pm

It’s not the government shutdown. It’s global warming.

What “American media?” It’s the democrat/GOPe media we’re talking about.

We don’t want to bunch-in American non-democrat/GOPe media outlets with corrupt propagandists, do we?

Conservative media:
https://www.conservapedia.com/Conservative_media

“Meanwhile, American press scrambles to connect this development to the government shutdown.”

No. It does NOT. Bollocks.

What it DOES do is simply report a set of facts.

    Colonel Travis in reply to Ragspierre. | January 13, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Unreal. You go out of your way to look as stupid as possible. Again, I have to question how you got into law school and/or any other school.

    Connecting this story to the shutdown, which was in most ever story I’ve read about this subject (not just Fortune), did, in fact, factually happen – you alleged lover of facts.

      Ragspierre in reply to Colonel Travis. | January 13, 2019 at 5:56 pm

      And here you are with your name-calling, ad hominem bullshit.

      Cite to anything that is NOT a fact regarding the response to this phenomenon.

      Cite to anything FALSE.

      Which is all I said.

        Colonel Travis in reply to Ragspierre. | January 13, 2019 at 6:03 pm

        It’s not name calling. I genuinely think you go out of your way to look dumb when it’s not necessary. Why you do that I cannot answer.

        Also, I genuinely do not understand how you got in and out of law school, because if you used the, ah, reasoning you commonly present here you should have been rejected.

        Citing anything for you only gets blown off by you, so why bother? I’ve done it in the past and you don’t care. You blame everyone else for your intellectual shortcomings.

          Ragspierre in reply to Colonel Travis. | January 13, 2019 at 6:21 pm

          The snip cited by Leslie was not anything partisan. It wasn’t anything but factual.

          You cannot manage to respond except with more ad hominem. Just FYI, that isn’t part of reasoning, much less legal logic.

          Colonel Travis in reply to Colonel Travis. | January 13, 2019 at 6:52 pm

          Oh, I get it. So the despicable word used is “partisan.” Sorry – can you, the one who went to law school and is a lover of facts and citations, tell me where Leslie Eastman typed “partisan”?

          Gee, I did a search for the word “partisan” and the only place I found that word on this entire page was in your comment (and now mine). I wonder why? Oh that’s right, I couldn’t find “partisan” because that’s not what she typed. This is what she typed (and I think you, regional vice president of the Citations Are Only For Fact-Loving Law School Graduates Club, would appreciate this):

          Of course, the American media is keen to connect every single issue to the government shutdown.”

          And, yes, Leslie Eastman was 100% correct in saying that, while you went ape-shit saying that what she said was incorrect. Since I am intellectually honest, unlike you, I will submit that “partisan” is what was inferred by her. I will also ask: is that inference wrong? You have given zero reasons why it is or is not. All you’ve done is show us how you go out of your way to look stupid.

          Ragspierre in reply to Colonel Travis. | January 13, 2019 at 9:12 pm

          The snip cited by Leslie was not anything partisan. It wasn’t anything but factual.

          You cannot manage to respond except with more ad hominem. Just FYI, that isn’t part of reasoning, much less legal logic.

          Colonel Travis in reply to Colonel Travis. | January 13, 2019 at 9:47 pm

          I have no idea what you’re complaint is. Was it implied partisan? Was it a fake connection? Was it a real connection? What the hell was wrong with it other than the regional vice president of the Citations Are Only For Fact-Loving Law School Graduates Club does not approve?

          Ragspierre in reply to Colonel Travis. | January 13, 2019 at 9:55 pm

          “I have no idea what you’re complaint is.”

          Obviously. But you’re all about name-calling and having your hair on fire just the same.

          Such a shame…

          What Leslie quoted was a simple, bald statement of fact that she implied was partisan “fake news”.

          It isn’t. That’s all. The full alpha and omega.

          Rant on if you insist…

          Colonel Travis in reply to Colonel Travis. | January 13, 2019 at 10:28 pm

          Again, your first comment said nothing about partisanship. You blame me for your inability to use English? I find that kinda funny. I can only go by what you type. Do I need to cite your comment again, you citation-lover of facts?

          Yeah let’s do that because I enjoy watching the instant replay of when your pompous foot steps on a rake.

          You specifically disagreed with a quote that never contained the words “partisan” or “fake news” or anything of the sort. The operative word was “connect”, yet you morphed that into a different word because you were compelled to tell everyone how awesome you were for figuring this out, when all you were doing is looking like an idiot. You have to look hard to find a story that does not connect this news with the shutdown. I don’t know why pointing this out is a big no-no with you.

          I thought a fact-loving, law school graduate could understand that “connect” doesn’t mean “fake news”? And that even if the connection being made is a partisan one, it still doesn’t eliminate the connection? Did they teach you how to forget how to read in law school?

          Instead of making up words, just go with the ones that literally show up on the screen. Or if you do not understand something, like I couldn’t understand what the hell your point was because you were not as clear as you pretend you were, put your magnetic pole-sized ego to the side for a minute and ask what was meant.

Rashida Tlaib just released a statement: “The Jews did it! PLO uber alles!”

Gidget Cortez released a related self-care statement: “If the poles are shifting, be sure to shift where you are pole dancing.”

A Hollywood idiot from the Woman’s March also released a related statement: “I will give a lung to the North Pole.”

Mooochelle obama even got into the act: “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of the @#$%ing Poles.”

Barack was not far behind: “The Polish people have the right to emigrate into the racist 57 states we call America.”

Followed by Crazy Nancy Pelosi: “We have to move the poles to see what’s in them. But do not doubt: this is the fault of Donald Trump.”

Ruth Ginsburg chimed in: “Hey, did everyone see that movie about me?”

Hillary clinton couldn’t resist, trying to shake down the poles for money. But its been reported neither the north or south pole has returned her calls.

Boehner started crying.

Romney said: “What Nancy Pelosi said.”

John McCain, when reached for comment, said: “I don’t know about up there, but down here, it’s hot as hell.”

DouglasJBender | January 13, 2019 at 5:09 pm

I actually noticed Google Maps seemingly getting confused on which way was north, starting about two weeks ago. I registered a complaint with Alexa, who told me she’d get around to informing Google’s Assistant when she had the opportunity.

There are fads in the news, and even in scientific writing. It all has to do with what journals want to publish, and grant reviewers want to see.

One time I was reading a paper to check for stray patent information, and I noticed reference to “nanoparticles.” It’s true the particles were in the nanometer size range, but they were the same size particles that had been previously published. The reference to particle size did not add any new information to the discussion.

Thinking that I had missed something new about particle size that could be important, I asked about it, and my inventors freely admitted that “Everybody wants to talk about nanoparticles, so we put it in the paper.”

This was well before editors began telling scientists to add a tie-in to climate change to their papers. It’s a wide-ranging silliness.

https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/environmentalists-climate-change-blame/

    MajorWood in reply to Valerie. | January 15, 2019 at 11:05 am

    The challenge in medical sciences these days is to somehow tie one’s research to AIDS. Obammy needed to tell the Hollyweird types that he was doing something, and so everyone jumped on the bandwagon in order to get funding.

Yes, update the models or hypotheses to conform with observation.

Erratically… a chaotic, incompletely, and, in fact, insufficiently characterized, and unwieldy process. Thus the advent and retention of a near-space and time logical domain a.k.a. “science”.

Well, it is a big deal. If you worry about navigation, you have to buy new maps. If you’re the government, you have to buy a lot of new maps.

As for who to blame, they usually pin this sort of stuff on El Niño.

    ultraskeptic in reply to tom_swift. | January 15, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Back when I was navigating, maps were aligned with True North. I’ll grant you that this was back when we wrote with quills & used inkwells, but nonetheless I doubt that maps have changed in all that time. As a navigator, one corrects magnetic variation (and deviation) to the map which is aligned to an unchanging constant.
    And if you want to blame human activity, why not accuse the various drilling factions? It’s certainly more conceivable that deep underground extractions impart more movement of subterranean magnetic materials than surface influences. And if you want to arouse people’s ire and simultaneously impart fear, we can thus blame petrochemicals. We’ll demand a halt to all such modern devices and go back to horses and sailing ships.

Wait! I thought the earth was flat! What’s all this “global” business?

Apparently, the North magnetic pole is the aggregate of two bifurcated north magnetic poles.
One is in Hudson Bay and the other is in Siberia. Of late, the pole in Siberia has been getting stronger.

It’s Trump’s fault,

Funny stuff.

“The error is increasing all the time,” says Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder

Which is true of anything which moves. Jeeezzzz.

So we all have to buy new maps in 2019, rather than next year, as the big model predicted. Well, cue the weeping and gnashing of teeth. But unless they can work zombies into it (and if anybody can conjure up zombies, it’s NOAA) I’m not going to get too excited.

“”Researchers say the magnetic North Pole is ‘skittering’ away from Canada, towards Siberia.””

There you have it. The Russians are stealing the North Pole, and obviously Trump is colluding with them.

I have been kind of geeky on this subject for a number of years out of general interest and it tangentially intersects with warming / cooling. This guy has a daily feature on “space weather” and has discussed the shifting poles in the past. This is a good representation of his work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIayxqk0Ees

Roy in Nipomo | January 13, 2019 at 8:41 pm

The real (and unasked) question is: what is happening in Canada to cause the pole to flee to Russia? Didn’t most Poles have a surfeit of Russians after 1945?

I foresee a tax on magnets

What a dilemma, where to place the blame on Trump, Russia,or global warming.

Putin hacked the North Pole to destabilize the United States! Paging Robert Mueller!

DouglasJBender | January 14, 2019 at 1:30 am

“I feel the Earth’s magnetic pole move under my feet;

I feel the sky tumbling down.”

Here’s another theory.

Nothing terribly unusual is happening, but NOAA wants to cause some headache for the Admin. And everybody there finally realizes that yet another Global Warming Gloom & Doom alarm will be ignored, since NOAA is now well-known as the government’s Chicken Little headquarters.

So they need something else to get people overheated. Some of them might even want to look at the historical records.

Which are on the NOAA website.

Which is shut down. (It’s not saving any money; they’re still paying ICANN for noaa.gov, and renting server space for the site, even when non-operational, but it makes a good show, like Bama throwing veterans off the Mall and German tourists out of Yellowstone.)

So—in theory—pitchfork-bearing mobs of angry citizens will force the White House to cave to the D’rats and their open-border program just so they can look at graphs of old geomagnetic data at their computer-chair convenience.

Pretty goofy idea, but not too bad for career bureaucrats.

I’m curious why this would affect even GPS; you would think that would be based on the relative positions of various stars to assign a stable orientation referred to as “North”.

    gmac124 in reply to SDN. | January 14, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    It wouldn’t affect most people or GPS. It could affect anything that navigates by compass. I am thinking airplanes and boats(ships) mostly and maybe military.

    Latus Dextro in reply to SDN. | January 14, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    GPS unaffected as it relies on satellites. Maps are unaffected because they rely on established latitude and longitude.
    Magnetic N and its deviation from true N is the issue. If the magnetic poles flip 180deg someday soon or not, I guess we’ll simply rename them.

I am going to put “pole-flipping” right next to “the sun burning out” and Yellowstone erupting” in my list of stuff to worry about.

This is obviously the result of Trump and the Russians conspiring. I expect multiple indictments of fringe players in the Trump administration by Mueller.

It’s not just the shifting position of magnetic north relative to true north that is changing but the contours of the magnetic waves that point to different “norths” depending on where you are located. Those of us who use the old compasses when hiking have learned the importance in adjusting our compasses to the declination for wherever we will be hiking. There are many places on earth where compasses are not reliable, particularly the south Pacific which is plagued by numerous anomalies.

https://wapinfo.co/2017-magnetic-declination-map-of-the-us.html#

Try to imagine using your compass in locations where magnetic north is pointing east or west and is unstable.

A few months back I read an article about some people in Finland, I think, that erected a sculpture marking the Arctic Circle. It was built to be moved because they knew that the Earth wobbled and the circle changes. This is nothing new but I’m certain the effect on the climate must be significant. It has to be the dirty little secret calculation that global cooling deniers can never solve for.

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