The north magnetic pole of Earth is moving faster towards the East – Ben Gelber of NBC4 explains what it means


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Hearing the news that the north magnetic pole is moving fairly fast eastward towards Russia seems somewhat alarming. But is it a real concern south of the Arctic Circle?

The term "polar error" explains the constant gradual movement of the magnetic poles of the Earth relative to the axis of rotation of the planet.

This is different from the North Pole we study in the Geography class, which lies under the Arctic Ocean at 90 degrees North, mainly in a fixed position and currently at 4 degrees north of the North Magnetic Pole.

The earth is shaking a little on its axis of rotation, which causes a slight drift of the geographical poles, which, according to scientists, correlate with the melting of glaciers and glaciers. that move the mass balance.

But the acceleration of the north magnetic pole, normally wandering, has attracted the attention of NOAA and academic researchers.

"In the last 100 years or so, he has migrated from northern Canada to Siberia," said Wendy Panero, a professor at Ohio State University at the School of Earth Sciences.

This has raised concerns because the navigation systems used in aviation and to locate your iPhone rely on magnetic compasses. The magnetic heading of airport runways that appear in large white numbers must be redone as the magnetic field moves.

Scientists and mathematicians are aware of the erratic movement of the North Magnetic Pole for hundreds of years, but the drifting faster and faster that has occurred recently – about 30 to 35 miles a year since 2000 – has been the subject of extensive studies with the help of satellites and surface data.

The Earth's magnetic field is created by wave movements that generate convection currents – upward and downward liquid iron – in the outer fluid core of the Earth, a 1500-kilometer layer between the surface and a solid inner core under the Earth's mantle. .

The other problem concerns the protective role of the magnetic field against intense solar radiation, when the geomagnetic poles change position for several thousand years.

The Earth's magnetic field has inverted every 200,000 to 300,000 years in most of the last 20 million years. However, the last event was 780,000 years ago.

A weaker magnetic field triggered by a field reversal results in an increase in cosmic microwave background radiation reaching the Earth, with potentially damaging effects on life on Earth, not to mention the modern power grids.

Lonnie Thompson, a scientist at Ohio State University, at the Byrd Center for Polar and Climate Research, said: "If the Earth's magnetic field collapses, we would have intense cosmic radiation for a short time. period, all these intense cosmic rays coming in. "

NOAA researchers have just completed the update of the North Magnetic Pole map, which is integrated with smartphones and navigation systems, taking into account the recent acceleration to the East in recent years.

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