Earth's northern magnetic pole is so frail that scientists need to update the global model of a magnetic field that they published just four years ago. Can this be a sign that the magnetic field will jump soon?
The World Magnetic Model (WMM) – the name of the updated magnetic field representation on Earth – is expected to be released no earlier than January 30th. It is about two weeks later than planned, with a delay in closing the government, according to a report in Nature.
The magnetic field moves unpredictably from the Canadian Arctic and to Siberia, so it is unpredictable that the scientists were surprised. That update for 2015 was to remain valid until 2020, told the nature of Arona Culiat, a geomagnetist at the Colorado University Bowden and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Environmental Information Centers (NOAA). [Earth’s Colorful Atmospheric Layers Photographed from Space]
It's not news that the sex is moving; long-term records from London and Paris (held in 1580) show that the northern magnetic pole moves impractically around the rotational north pole for periods of several hundred years or more, Ciaran Beggan, a geophysicist with a British geological survey who is involved in WMM updates Space.com in e-mail. He cited the 1981 study of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in London.
But what really attracts attention is the acceleration in the movement. Around the mid-1990s, the regiment suddenly accelerated the movement of just 15 kilometers annually to 55 kilometers per year. Since last year, pole has taken care of the international data line towards the eastern hemisphere.
The main reason for the movement comes from the outer core of the Earth's liquid iron, also called the "primary field". Smaller factors also affect the movement. These impacts include magnetic minerals in the crust and the upper coat (especially for local magnetic fields) and electric currents created by seawater moving through an "ambient magnetic field," according to a 2015 WMM report.
"One of the reasons we can update the map is that the European Space Agency launched a series of high-precision magnetic field satellites in 2013," said Began, referring to the swath.
"We have a top data set from which we can make very good magnetic maps and update them every six to 12 months," Beggan added. "We noticed that the WMM specification was not filled in a region with a high geographical coverage around the gender because the error exceeded 1 degree angle of the grid on average. This has caused us to investigate whether it is worth the new update."
What's more, the core field seems to be weakening – which may be a sign that the planet's magnetic field will flip. To better understand how this will happen, here's how the primary field works, according to Ronald Merrill, a professor of Earth and Space Science at the University of Washington, who spoke with the comprehensive site of Space.com.
An easy way to imagine the field is to think of a bar-magnet that passes through the center of the earth and has a northern sex and a south pole, said Merrill, who was not involved in the new WMM research. This magnet is strong, representing approximately 75 percent of the intensity of the Earth's magnetic field on the surface.
Of course, a bar magnet is not a perfect play – in fact, it is an electric current that generates a magnetic field on Earth – but the model makes it easier to assume what happens to Earth, added Merrill. Specifically, the "bar-magnet" does not move, but it also becomes weaker by about 7 percent every 100 years.
As for the remaining 25 percent of the magnetic field, Merrill says that it is generated by another field, which can be represented as another magnet for movement. Here is an interesting part: Since the central magnet loses its intensity, this second, weaker magnetic field generates a greater impact on the global magnetism of the Earth. "And that's what causes this field to move in the direction [of Siberia], "Said Merryl for Live Science.
Earth's northern and southern columns periodically change locations, with the last flip that takes place around 780,000 years. (Poles also weakened temporarily and quickly about 41,000 years ago, but Began added, but never underwent a full flip.) A study of the year 2018 in the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences's Collection suggests that the earth's magnetic field is weaker before the great change.
While every flip of the magnetic field would be thousands of years away, the effects could be profound in technology, if it is similar to today's technology. This is because the weaker magnetic field would be slightly poorer in protecting the Earth from the solar wind (a constant flow of charged particles emanating from the sun) and cosmic rays (explosions of radiation from a deep space). Magnetic compasses will not be so accurate, and satellites that track time or carry telecommunication signals could be disturbed, said Monica Corte, head of the GFZ Potsdam working group on the evolution of the geomagnetic field in Germany.
"In connection with increased radiation, it will go along with a reduced protective layer, [but] it seems the atmosphere will continue to provide enough protective material on the Earth's surface so that humans and animals will not be significantly affected, "she told Space.com.
"However, all the effects we see only during strong solar / geomagnetic storms are likely to increase and will occur … during moderate solar activity," she added. "This includes satellite discharges or damage to satellites, increased radiation doses of long-range aircraft and the ISS [International Space Station], [and] distortion of telecommunication and GPS signals. "
The current tracking of the Earth's geomagnetic field (which includes the pillar) will continue after WMM's publication, mainly through the mission of the European Space Agency Swarm, said Corte. But she stressed that measuring the position of the northern magnetic pole is a challenge. This is because the pole is in a remote area and the measurement of the Earth's magnetic field is influenced by all sources of magnetic fields – including the magnetic fields found in the Earth's atmosphere (the ionosphere and the magnetosphere).
"It will depend on the future change of the magnetic field, which we can not predict if another model update can be requested from the usual schedule," she added.
The next WMM update this year is expected in early 2020, Beggan said. You can read more about WMM here.
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