The Magnetic North Pole walked somewhat with time, but it was a fairly predictable path around a relatively small tract of territory among the Arctic islands of Canada.
For a moment, I thought we had a new global threat to fight alongside old favorites like climate change, nuclear war and pandemic.
This would be welcomed from a journalistic point of view, since there is a constant need to write new terrible topics. Otherwise, we would have failed in our top priority, which is to provide material for delimiting ads.
I also felt some personal indignation, as the alleged new threat – the inevitable change in the magnetic field of the Earth – undermined one of the few practical skills that I have saved from my early career in different fleets: the ability to navigate through magnetic compasses.
My navy ship did not extend to the age of sails: we had gyrocompasses and radar systems for long distances (though not a full GPS satellite today).
However, the fleet, in its wisdom, predicted that in the Great War, all external navigational aids would quickly be closed or blown away.
We would still have our gyrocompass, which would tell us where the true North is, but only one internal power failure, and we too lose it. If that had happened, we would have to retreat to the primary navigation instrument until the 20th century ̵
Unfortunately, the magnetic compass points to the magnetic North Pole, which is located elsewhere from the real North Pole. But this was, throughout my life and even during many lifetimes before this, more or less in the same place.
The Magnetic North Pole rolled slightly over time, but it went fairly predictably around a relatively small path. Territories among the Arctic islands of Canada
Thus, all the diagrams showed the difference ("variation") between the true North and the Magnetic North in the part of the world covered by the chart, and even how much this difference varies annually.
We learned to add an annual shift of the magnetic pole, since the diagram was printed to a local "variation" of the true North, and, using this difference, we could control and accurately navigate through the magnetic compass.
It was a skill for which there was very limited demand, but potentially useful in an emergency.
Unfortunately, the magnetic North Pole left its home about 30 years ago, and is now heading to Siberia at a speed of 60 km per year. 19659003] He moves fast b because the motion of a molten outer earth nucleus generates the magnetic field of the planet. The strings in this huge amount of liquid nickel-iron vary from time to time, and when they do, they can also shift magnetic poles.
Navigators can cope with this because it is now easy to update information about changes in local magnetic deviations from the true North
Indeed, graphics are computer programs, and the authorities simply update them more often than before. The concern is that this behavior by the magnetic pole can indicate a future difference when the north and south magnetic poles change places
This happened earlier – in fact, the Earth's magnetic field changed its polarity by at least 183 times earlier, according to a geological record, – and it does not give a long-term difference.
Now there will be another end of the needle pointing to the magnetic north, but the magnetic field will still fulfill its main capture function of high-energy particles that otherwise will radiate the surface of the planet during radiation
A scary bit is a transition that can to last for up to 1000 years or just one life, as during this transition the strength of the magnetic planet falls to about 5% of the norm. If the ozone hole a little bit worried you, it should scare you to death – and the strength of the magnetic field is already decreasing. Each decade seems to be bringing news about yet another way that the universe can kill us. But no, it turns out this one.
The consensus among scientists is that the surface of the planet is not bombarded by rigid radiation during intervals, when the internal generated magnetic field of the Earth almost disappears for some time
. Instead, the solar wind itself induces a magnetic field in the extreme upper boundary of the atmosphere of the planet (ionosphere), which stops the arrival of high-energy particles on the surface.
We may be able to verify the validity of this forecast. in the relatively near future, but, at the moment, there is no need to panic. And if you're lost in the woods (or in the sea), you can still trust your compass. More or less …
This article originally appeared on The New Zealand Herald and was reproduced with permission.