Earth's Magnetic Pole is Quickly Moving Toward Russia, Models Say

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

The Magnetic North Pole keeps moving about and it could be a problem

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

Usually released every five years, the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Monday's early update of the World Magnetic Model (WMM) would "accurately represent the change of the magnetic field" since the last update in 2015.

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

Despite the north pole being a fixed location in the Arctic circle, the Magnetic North Pole is a wandering location which changes year on year.

Over time, and especially in a scenario where Earth reverses polarity and the magnetic poles swap places, the moving of the Magnetic North Pole will affect animals, birds and sea life that use the polls' magnetic fields for navigation.

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There have been a few theories about why the pole's movement has increased in recent years - from around 6 miles a year between 1900 and 1980 before accelerating to around 24 to 31 miles a year in the past two decades.

In a story February 4 about the magnetic north pole, The Associated Press erroneously described the pole's change in speed.

Since the model is created and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States government shutdown delayed the release of the latest data set.

The change in pace was so sudden that scientists have been forced to update the World Magnetic Model one year ahead of its scheduled five-year update in 2020. Navigation systems in cars or phones rely on radio waves from satellites high above the Earth to pinpoint their position on the ground. Smartphone users also rely on WMM data for accurate compass apps, maps, and Global Positioning System.

The WMM is also part of map applications in smartphones, including the Google Maps App. The Fairbanks airport renamed runway 1L-19R to 2L-20R in 2009.

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"The slowly moving plates act as a kind of tape recorder leaving information about the strength and direction of past magnetic fields". Declination is important to compasses as it helps correct navigation systems for a variety of uses.

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 difference in pressure, composition and temperature between the cores creates a convection current, which causes the molten core to move.

Anyway, magnetic field reversals have typically unfolded over the course of 1,000 years or so - giving plenty of time for even the USA federal government to adjust.

The NOAA said Earth's magnetic field changes because of "unpredictable flows in Earth's core".

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The magnetic North Pole's unprecedented movement began in the mid-1990s and it is now headed from the Canadian Arctic toward Siberia at roughly 55 kilometers per year, the journal Nature reported last month.

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