The magnetic north pole was moving slightly over time, but it followed a rather predictable path around a relatively small territory between the Arctic islands of Canada.
For a moment I thought we had a new global threat to deal with, along with old favorites like climate change, nuclear war and pandemics.
This would be welcome from a journalistic point of view, as there is a constant need for terrible new topics to write about. Otherwise, we would fail in our primary task, which is to provide material to keep the ads separate.
I also experienced some personal indignation, as the alleged new threat – the upcoming reversal of the Earth's magnetic field – undermines one of the few practical skills I have retained from my early career in different fleets: the ability to navigate with magnetic compasses.
My naval career does not extend to the era of sailing: we had gyro compasses and radio positioning of long-distance systems (although not complete today by satellite GPS).
Nevertheless, the Naval Navy, in its wisdom, predicted that in a great warfare, all navigational aids based on the outside would quickly be shut or blown.
We will still have our gyrocompass to tell us where the real North is ̵
Unfortunately, the magnetic compass points to the magnetic north pole, which is different from the true North Pole. But throughout my life and actually for many lives before, in more or less the same place.
The magnetic north pole was moving slightly over time, but it followed a fairly predictable path around a relatively small stretch.
So all the graphs show the difference ("variation") between the true North and the magnetic north in the part of the world covered by the graph, and even how much that difference will change every year. We were trained to add the annual shift of the magnetic pole as the graph was printed to the local "variation" of the true North, and by applying this difference we could navigate and navigate precisely with the help of the magnetic compass.
was a skill for which there was very limited demand but potentially useful in case of urgency.
Alas, the magnetic north pole left home about 30 years ago and is now heading for Siberia at a speed of 60 km per year. 19659003] It moves fast b because the movement in the melted outer core of the Earth creates the magnetic field on the planet. The currents within this huge volume of liquid nickel-iron change from time to time, and when they do, they can also displace the magnetic poles. the local magnetic variations from the true north.
Graphs are actually computer programs, and the relevant authorities just update them more often than before. The concern is that such behavior of the magnetic pole may signal a forthcoming folding in which the northern and southern magnetic poles change their positions.
This has happened before – indeed, the Earth's magnetic field has turned its polarity to at least 183. earlier, according to the geological record – and there is no long-term difference.
Now there will be the other end of the needle pointing to the magnetic north, but the magnetic field will continue to perform its primary function of capturing high-energy particles that would otherwise radiate the surface of the planet into radiation. the field falls to about 5% of normal. If the ozone hole worries you a little, it will scare you to death – and the force of the magnetic field is already falling.
This was my initial reaction to the news. Every decade seems to bring news for yet another way that the universe can kill us.
Consensus among scientists is that the surface of the planet is not bombarded by solid radiation at intervals when the internally generated magnetic field of the Earth disappears for a while
. Instead, the solar wind itself induces a magnetic field at the extreme upper limit of the atmosphere of the planet (ionosphere), which stops the supply of high energy particles from the surface.
We may be able to check the validity of this forecast. in a relatively near future, but for the moment there is no need for panic. And if you are lost in the forest (or at sea), you can still trust your compass. More or less …
This article originally appeared on The New Zealand Herald and was reproduced with permission.