Check your compass: The North pole is on the move

Check your compass: The North pole is on the move

On Monday, February 4, the World Magnetic Model has found the pole is moving by an approximate 34 miles (55km) a year. It crossed the worldwide date line in 2017, and is leaving the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia.

The movement forced scientists to update the World Magnetic Model (WMM), which is used by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and militaries around the world, for its location.

The Earth's northern magnetic pole is on the move, scientists say, drifting from the Canadian Arctic towards Siberia. "Due to unplanned variations in the Arctic region, scientists have released a new model to more accurately represent the change of the magnetic field between 2015 and now", said the news release.

Scientists for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British Geological Survey collaborate to produce a new World Magnetic Model - a mathematical representation of the field - every five years.

Beneath the molten core is the Earth's solid centre - a ball of tough iron believed to be about two-thirds the size of the Moon.

Global Positioning System isn't affected because it's satellite-based, but airplanes and boats also rely on magnetic north, usually as backup navigation, said University of Colorado geophysicist Arnaud Chulliat, lead author of the newly issued WMM.

For years, the magnetic pole's location was determined to lie not too far off from the Geographic North Pole. The Fairbanks airport renamed runway 1L-19R to 2L-20R in 2009.

Since 1831 when it was first measured in the Canadian Arctic it has moved about 1,400 miles (2300 kilometers) toward Siberia.

Its speed jumped from about 9 miles per hour (15 kph) to 34 miles per hour (55 kph) since 2000.

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Daniel Lathrop, a geophysicist at the University of Maryland, said: "It's not a question of it it's going to reverse, the question is when it's going to reverse".

The magnetic pole is what compasses recognize as north - that's different from the North Pole, where all the lines of longitude meet.

Earth's north magnetic pole is on the move, and it's moving so quickly scientists are struggling to keep up as it moves towards Siberia.

Early a year ago, scientists realized the errors were getting too big too fast, especially in the Arctic.

'It's not a question of if it's going to reverse, the question is when it's going to reverse, ' Mr Lathrop said.

The entire transportation sector, especially aviation and shipping, depends on correctly knowing the position of magnetic north to chart out their navigation paths.

Also, migratory animals such as birds, butterflies, and whales use the magnetic field for directions.

Earth's magnetic field has been slowly changing throughout its existence.

Magnetic declination - the angle between the magnetic north and true north - changes over time. While modern smartphones, vehicles, ships, and airliners are connected to satellite-based navigation systems, like GPS and GLONASS, their receivers don't provide a sense of direction, rather, only a person or vehicle's fixed location. Smartphone users also rely on WMM data for accurate compass apps, maps, and Global Positioning System.

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