A year early, the National Centers for Environmental Information was pressured to publish updated information because Earth’s magnetic north pole has shifted much more than they expected.
In recent years, the Earth’s magnetic north pole has been drifting away from what some mistakenly believe to be a fixed point, so much that now, previous scientific estimates used for navigation are no longer accurate.
It was pointed out that this could sound potentially apocalyptic, but as things tend to be in life, there’s not necessarily a lot of cause for alarm. At the same time, there are a lot of situations where people believe there is no reason to be alarmed when there truly is.
It is estimated that over the last 780,000 years, fossil records provide evidence to suggest that the Earth’s magnetic poles have switched and moved a variety of times. No recognizable harm to the living organisms inhabiting our planet were observed if the fossil records were correct.
According to analysis of recent geological records, our Earth’s magnetic field is currently weakening, and this phenomenon that they can’t seem to find the cause of “may or may not” lead to an occurrence of geomagnetic pole reversal. The north and south poles flipping is what that would entail.
Almost placing the possibility in the minds of people ironically, one article pointed out that a dramatic north and south pole reversal doesn’t necessarily precede disastrous events such as swarms of earthquake clusters or volcanic events. Although life would go on, repercussions could ensue for technology such as smartphones, navigation technology, and all kinds of electronics in the event of such a dramatic event as a pole reversal.
For navigational purposes, mapping and surveying, federal agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA use what is known as the World Magnetic Model. All kinds of tasks are dependent on the measurements put down in the WMM, as it also is necessary for air traffic management and satellite tracking. This is the model that they have to update now.
Only people really familiar with this particular topic know this, but the magnetic north pole already moves around 34 miles (55 kilometers) annually. Therefore, governing agencies over the World Magnetic Model make sure to update it every five years.
This time, they certainly had to update it early. “The declination has changed just over 2.5 degrees over the past 22 years since Denver opened,” said a former spokesperson from the Denver International Airport, a peculiar airport to choose a spokesperson from if you’re familiar with their murals.
A few terms become relevant when delving into this topic. One is the term magnetic declination, and that is the angle between true north and the magnetic north pole. It is continuously changing of course, and it is estimated that since the year 1831, the magnetic north pole has been moving across the Arctic toward Russia, away from northern Canada.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mentioned in a blog post that the “slowly moving plates” of the planet act as a sort of “tape recorder,” leaving information about past magnetic fields behind, helping them understand what is going on today.
In conclusion, they assured people that when the record of Earth’s magnetism is “played backwards,” it is apparent that in the past, the field strengthened, weakened, flipped, and did all kinds of things. The question is, do we have more evidence to confirm they are telling the truth?