Some have speculated that Earth is overdue for another magnetic-field reversal - an event that hasn't happened for 780,000 years - and the North Pole's recent restlessness may be a sign of a cataclysm to come. The individual lines in red and blue show the magnetic field lines of Earth.
Some scientists think a jet stream of molten liquid is pushing the north pole, while others have suggested that the south and north magnetic poles are reversing positions.
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 dynamo of Earth's core creates a magnetic field that is slightly tilted from the planet's rotational axis".
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The World Magnetic Model (WMM) is a representation of Earth's magnetic field.
Even though the magnetic North Pole has never stayed idle, scientists have been left wondering as to why it has been moving so erratically. It is used extensively in navigation by the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.K. Ministry of Defense and many civilian systems-so knowing exactly where the northern and southern magnetic poles are is of paramount importance. By the early 2000s magnetic north was moving at a pace of 34 miles per day.
Early past year, scientists realized the errors were getting too big too fast, especially in the Arctic.
Scientists have now released an update to the WMM to account for the unexpected movement of the northern magnetic pole.
As the magnetic field's quirks are dynamic, the model has to be updated, which is done on a five-year schedule. The last update was 2015 and the next was scheduled for end-2019.
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To track the Magnetic North Pole the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British Geological Survey developed the World Magnetic Model so that scientists around the world could all relate to the same resource.
This is something that scientists do not have full clarity on. There is a hot liquid ocean of iron and nickel in the planet's core where the motion generates an electric field, said University of Maryland geophysicist Daniel Lathrop, who wasn't part of the team monitoring the magnetic north pole. Scientists do not fully understand how the movement happens or why.
The shifting magnetic pole is a problem for compasses.
There's an epic "tug-of-war" between magnetic field patches and apparently the one beneath Siberia is winning. It will reorient itself to the new resultant magnetic north pole. The military uses the WMM for undersea and aircraft navigation, parachute deployment, and more.
"This out-of-cycle update before next year's official release of WMM2020 will ensure safe navigation for military applications, commercial airlines, search and rescue operations, and others operating around the North Pole", it added.
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