first published on: Jun 4, 2013
European Space Agency:
June 23, 2014 1:15PM ET
by Renee Lewis
19 June 2014
The first set of high-resolution results from ESA’s three-satellite Swarm constellation reveals the most recent changes in the magnetic field that protects our planet.
Launched in November 2013, Swarm is providing unprecedented insights into the complex workings of Earth’s magnetic field, which safeguards us from the bombarding cosmic radiation and charged particles.
Measurements made over the past six months confirm the general trend of the field’s weakening, with the most dramatic declines over the Western Hemisphere.
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The latest measurements also confirm the movement of magnetic North towards Siberia.
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This will provide new insight into many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside our planet to space weather triggered by solar activity. In turn, this information will yield a better understanding of why the magnetic field is weakening.
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With unprecedented resolution, the data also exhibit Swarm’s capability to map fine-scale features of the magnetic field.
The first results were presented today at the ‘Third Swarm Science Meeting’ in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Sofie Carsten Nielsen, Danish Minister of Higher Education and Science, highlighted the Danish contribution to the mission. Swarm continues the legacy of the Danish Ørsted satellite, which is still operational, as well as the German Champ mission. Swarm’s core instrument – the Vector Field Magnetometer – was provided by the Technical University of Denmark.
Over the past two centuries, Earth’s magnetic field has weakened by 15 percent, according to scientists. Risks of a weak magnetic field include more deaths from cancer due to increased radiation, electrical grid collapse from severe solar storms, climate change and temporary ozone holes.
The data showed that Earth’s north magnetic pole — different from the geographic North Pole, which marks Earth’s rotational axis — is moving south. Since magnetic north was first located in 1831, it has wandered more than 600 miles.
In recent years, its movement has accelerated, from an average of six miles a year to 25 miles, and scientists predict it could travel from its current position in North America to Asia within a few decades.
Magnetic pole reversals occur on average every 200,000 to 300,000 years, and the magnetic field weakening observed by Swarm could indicate an upcoming pole shift. The last reversal was about 780,000 years ago.
What once took decades is now happening every year. Keep in mind, even the rate of acceleration is accelerating. The rate of movement could become very extreme at the dramatic end of a pole shift. The clearest physical evidence of a prior event is from Steens Mountain, Oregon – where magnetic ions in solidified lava were analyzed, and showed that Magnetic North was moving fast as the lava cooled and solidified – at a rate of six degrees PER DAY.
*Earth Sciences Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA
†Laboratoire de Géophysique et Tectonique, Université de Montpellier 2, URA CNRS 1760, 34095 Montpellier Cédex 05, France
The Shift Is On – Magnetic North Pole Now Racing A Mile A Day
The Magnetic North Pole Has Moved 161 Miles In 6 Months
“This puts its arrival in Siberia in less that 2 years, and it is when it arrives there that it will have migrated 40 degrees across the northern hemisphere.”
The Earth’s magnetic field is weakening, and moving. 40 mi/yr
“We usually go out and check its location once every few years,” he says. “We’ll have to make more trips now that it is moving so quickly.” … (“every 56 days.”)
Tampa, Fla. (UPI) Jan 13, 2011
A Florida airport runway is set to reopen with new numbers and signage to compensate for a gradual shift in the Earth’s magnetic North Pole, officials say.
… “The Earth’s magnetic fields are constantly changing,” Kathleen Bergen said. “It’s a very dynamic system so we make these changes effective every 56 days.”
WASHINGTON, D.C., General Avation News, February 24, 2011
“All this is because magnetic north is shifting its position at a rate of about 40 miles a year. The magnetic pole also is about 15% weaker now” …
BBC News, August 30, 2011
Nasa scientist Dr Jack Connerney has been studying the growth of a weak patch in Earth’s magnetic field … The magnetic field falls to below … half the strength of that toward the poles, resulting in problems for satellites passing over the region.
Excerpts from the broadcast: (later silenced by Pres. G.W. Bush and party)
… scientists have made a startling discovery. It seems there’s a storm brewing deep within the Earth, a storm that is weakening our vital magnetic shield. [15 to 50% depending on the location]
PETER OLSON (Johns Hopkins University): The Earth’s magnetic field has been our protector for millennia, and now, it appears, it’s about to go away.
JOHN SHAW (University of Liverpool): The Earth’s magnet field is getting weaker rapidly.
MARIO ACUNA (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center): We cannot guarantee that the magnetic field of the Earth is still going to be there a thousand years from today.
NARRATOR: Is our invisible shield about to disappear?
JEREMY BLOXHAM (Harvard University): The question is not if that’s going to happen, it’s when that’s going to happen.
PETER OLSON: Today something very strange is going on with the Earth’s magnetic field: its strength is rapidly decreasing, so fast that at the current rate it will last only into the next millennium.
PBS Airdate: November 18, 2003
see full transcript at
John Roach, National Geographic News
Sun, 06 Jun 2010 14:52 CDT
“If the trend continues, the field may collapse altogether and then reverse. Compasses would point south instead of north.”
“Dr. LaViolette says Highly charged cosmic rays could be generated by the Sun, and the resulting solar winds could generate immensely strong ring currents around the equator that could cancel and reverse the Earth’s magnetic field in a matter of days. ”
See Galactic Superwave Theory and Earth Under Fire: Humanity’s Survival of the Ice Age by Dr. Paul LaViolette, Astrophysicist
“in the last 20 years or so, the magnetic field has become erratic”
A Huge Breach in the Earth’s Magnetic Field
Solar Cycles and Earth’s Weakening Magnetic Field
Alex Ansary 2-25-2009, excerpts from
The emerging Solar Cycle 24, combined with our planet’s declining magnetic field, may have severe consequences for Earth in terms of climate, electricity grid systems and human behaviour
… But strange things are happening in both outer and inner space. The Earth’s magnetic field has been weakening. This decrease actually began 2,000 years ago, but the rate of decrease suddenly became much more rapid 500 years ago. However, in the last 20 years or so, the magnetic field has become erratic. [and it started moving!] Aeronautical maps of the world, which are used to allow aeroplanes to land using automatic pilot systems, have had to be revised globally in order for the autopilot systems to work.
Now, NASA’s five THEMIS spacecraft have discovered a breach in the Earth’s magnetic field that is 10 times larger than anything previously thought to exist. When this happens, solar wind can flow in through the opening to “load up” the magnetosphere for powerful geomagnetic storms. Exploring the mystery is a key goal of the THEMIS mission, launched in February 2007.
The big discovery came on 3 June 2007, when the five probes serendipitously flew through the breach just as it was opening. Onboard sensors recorded a torrent of solar wind particles streaming into the magnetosphere, signalling an event of unexpected size and importance. But the breach itself is not the biggest surprise. Researchers are even more amazed and baffled at the unexpected way it forms, overturning longheld ideas of space physics. “At first I didn’t believe it,” said THEMIS project scientist David Sibeck of the Goddard Space Flight Center. “This finding fundamentally alters our understanding of the solar wind–magnetosphere interaction.”
“The opening was huge – four times wider than Earth itself,” said Wenhui Li, a space physicist at the University of New Hampshire, who has been analysing the data. Li’s colleague Jimmy Raeder, also of the University of New Hampshire, said: “127 particles per second were flowing into the magnetosphere – that’s a 1 followed by 27 zeros. This kind of influx is an order of magnitude greater than what we thought was possible.”
Space physicists have long believed that holes in the Earth’s magnetosphere open only in response to solar magnetic fields that point south. The great breach of June 2007, however, opened in response to a solar magnetic field that pointed north. To the layperson this may sound like a quibble, but to a space physicist it is almost seismic.
According to NASA, the Sun is beginning another 11-year cycle of activity.
The Sun flips its magnetic poles every 11 years. Considering that the Sun is to blame for some unfavourable climate changes on the Earth, the coming decade could spell more trouble for our planet. The years ahead could be intense.
NASA predicts that this activity will peak in 2012.
Solar System Changes
The magnetic fields of Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune are changing. Jupiter’s magnetic field has more than doubled and Neptune’s magnetic field is increasing. The Russians say that all three of these planets are becoming brighter and their atmospheric qualities are changing, but they do not explain what this means.
The atmospheres of five of the planets and the Earth’s moon are changing. The Earth’s atmosphere in the upper levels is forming HO gas that didn’t exist in the quantity that it does now. Scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences say it’s not related to global warming, CFCs or fluorocarbon emissions. They claim that the atmospheres of Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune are also are changing.
The Martian atmosphere is getting sizeably thicker. In 1997, the Mars Observer probe lost one of its mirrors, causing it to crash. This happened because the atmosphere was about twice as dense as NASA had calculated.
For some, a sign of the coming new Age of Aquarius.
… “the Mayans are saying right now – that the pole shift could happen at any minute and that, when it does happen, it will be compeletely finished within twenty hours.
Drunvalo Melchizedek in Beyond the Matrix – Patricia Cori
If it flips soon and quickly as the Mayans indicate,
“When the next reversal comes, it probably won’t inflict much damage to life on Earth, Singer said.”
“Though we could expect a slight increase in damaging cosmic radiation, which is usually repelled by the magnetic field, it shouldn’t be enough to cause serious harm.”
“And though magnetic north and south poles will switch spots, the seasons and other cycles on the planet are primarily due to Earth’s [axis of rotation and] position relative to the sun, which wouldn’t change significantly.”
Geochronologist Brad Singer of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the Sept. 26 issue of the journal Science.