North magnetic pole fast moving towards Siberia, forcing navigation fix

Check your compass: The magnetic north pole is on the move

Earth's magnetic north pole has been drifting so much in recent years that scientific estimates are no longer accurate for navigation, prompting the National Centers for Environmental Information to publish updated information almost a year early. Over the last 780,000 years, fossil records indicate that the poles have moved and switched a number of times, with no recognizable harm to living organisms.

Earth's north magnetic pole is on the move, and it's moving so quickly scientists are struggling to keep up as it moves towards Siberia.

Earth's magnetic north pole - the north that your compass points toward - is leaving the Canadian Arctic and moving towards Russia's snowy Siberia at a rate of more than 55 kilometres (34 miles) per year, according to an update by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British Geological Survey. Earth's poles change due to unpredictable flows of molten liquid iron at the Earth's core caused by the planet's rotation, changing the Earth's magnetic field. It crossed the global dateline in 2017 and is leaving the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia.

The magnetic north pole's movement over the past five decades.

At the end of 2017, the magnetic north pole crossed the worldwide date line.

The update will help navigation services that rely on the World Magnetic Model to calibrate users' geolocation data, the NOAA said.

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Daniel Lathrop of the University of Maryland said, '"It has changes akin to weather".

In general Earth's magnetic field is getting weaker, leading scientists to say it will eventually flip, where the North and South poles change polarity, like a bar magnet flipping over.

NASA has poured cold water on the idea that magnetic field reversals could lead to an apocalypse, saying in 2012 that, 'The science shows that magnetic pole reversal is - in terms of geologic time scales - a common occurrence that happens gradually over millennia.

When it does, it will not be like a coin flip, but will take 1,000 or more years, experts said.

Lathrop sees a flip coming sooner rather than later because of the weakened magnetic field and an area over the South Atlantic has already reversed beneath Earth's surface. The magnetic field shields Earth from some risky radiation, Lathrop said.


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