Correction and Addendum Regarding the North Magnetic Pole

Just over a week ago, I wrote about what is interesting about the north magnetic pole. The information I gave was accurate, but it was also dated. There is new information from NOAA in regard to the north magnetic pole that changes some of what I said in that article. For the sake of maintaining accuracy, I need to correct and add to that other article.

In that article, I mentioned that the north magnetic pole is moving and has been moving since it started being tracked in 1831. Originally, the movement amounted to about 9 miles per year. That isn’t a small amount, but it also isn’t great. The movement accelerated several decades ago. The magnetic pole started moving about 20 miles per year. 

New data from NOAA, published a year early, shows that it is now moving at 34 miles per year and it is heading for Russia. It has already crossed the International Date Line and it is nearly out of Canada. 

Again, the signs point greatly to the likelihood of a polar reversal. For one thing, the south magnetic pole isn’t moving anywhere near as fast. For another, one area in the south Atlantic has already reversed polarity. For yet another, Earth’s magnetic field has been weakening for the last couple of decades.

Scientists are now sure that the poles will flip, but they are still uncertain exactly when it will occur. They currently believe that such a shift takes place over the course of about a thousand years, but this is just guessing. We don’t know how long it takes and if the signs are correct and this is indeed part of the polaric reversal, we honestly don’t know how long it has been working toward that eventuality. We’ve only known that the magnetic pole moves for less than 200 years.

The new finding has a big impact. Ships at sea, airplanes, the US Forest Service, the military, many other agencies, and even the weather bureau rely on the accuracy of knowing exactly where the north magnetic pole is. Apparently, there is now considerable doubt because it is changing position so quickly and the progress is still not in a straight line. 

The only scary part is that nobody knows for sure exactly what happens during a polar reversal. Some people suggest that for a time, the earth’s magnetic field drops entirely. The magnetic field prevents over 90% of the sun’s harmful radiation from reaching the surface. If it dropped completely, all life on the planet could be in serious danger. Again, though, we simply don’t know what happens during a reversal. We also don’t know how long it honestly takes. It might be over in seconds or minutes, or it could take years. 

All we know for sure is that we are likely to find out what happens during a polar reversal, and it will probably happen within our lifetimes.

What do you think?

3 points

Written by Rex Trulove

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