Drift of the North Pole forces early magnetic map update ars_ab.settitle(1451611)


Federal organizations like NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration use something called the World Magnetic Model for navigational purposes as well as surveying and mapping, satellite tracking, and air traffic management. Scientists say the Earth's internal processes might cause these erratic changes, CNN noted.

The pole has been the friend of navigators for millennia, beckoning compass needles from virtually every point on the planet. The northern magnetic pole always moves, resulting in a new map of the World Magnetic Model (WMM) every five years. Since 1831, the magnetic north pole in northern Canada has been moving across the Arctic toward Russian Federation.

Earth's magnetic North Pole has been wildly shifting towards Russian Federation so quickly that scientists have been forced to publish an update on its actual location a year early.

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

The model, which is commissioned by the British and U.S. military agencies, is typically updated every five years, the most recent being in 2015.

Scientists have now released an update to the WMM to account for the unexpected movement of the northern magnetic pole. It also ensures the safe navigation of ships, military and civilian aircraft, as well as search & rescue operations.

Compasses have been used for navigation long before Global Positioning System was ever even dreamed of.

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The constant shift is a problem for compasses in smartphones and some consumer electronics. It is also used by smartphone providers for Global Positioning System, maps and compass apps. If the mathematically expected location of the Magnetic North Pole is wrong, navigation equipment will be off kilter.

That could bother some birds that use magnetic fields to navigate, and an overall weakening of the magnetic field is not good for people and especially satellites and astronauts.

Accounting for the shift in the pole's location is particularly important in areas above the 55th parallel, which covers northern Canada, Scandanavia, and much of Russian Federation.

"The slowly moving plates act as a kind of tape recorder leaving information about the strength and direction of past magnetic fields". "The average user is not going to be overly affected by this unless they happen to be trekking around the high Arctic", he told National Geographic. Comparing it's predictions to real time measurements on the shifting magnetic field.

The reason is turbulence in Earth's liquid outer core of iron and nickel, says University of Maryland geophysicist Daniel Lathrop.

Why it matters: An unpredictable magnetic north is making it hard for high accuracy navigation systems to remain fully functional. The Magnetic North Pole describes the point where the Earth's natural magnetic field points inwards and down to the ground.