US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The magnetic pole of the Northern Hemisphere was discovered in 1831 by the British polar explorer James Ross in the Canadian archipelago on the Butia Peninsula. Since then, its location has changed dramatically, and now it is located in the central part of the Arctic Ocean, drifting towards the Russian Arctic coast.
Until the 1970s, the position of the north magnetic pole was similar to chaotic oscillation, but after that it only increased the speed of movement and moved in a straight line. Since the 1990s, its speed has quadrupled, and currently speeds range from 50 to 60 kilometers per year. At the end of 2017, the pole sprint brought it to a distance of 390 kilometers from the geographic north pole.
Fast displacement is a problem for navigation systems that are based on accurate calculations of the location of the pole. Therefore, the world needs a clear idea of the physical mechanisms of this displacement, which allows us to make accurate predictions of the planet’s magnetic movements.
Researchers from the University of Leeds in the UK and Technical University of Denmark analyzeddata from satellite observations of the Earth’s magnetosphere by the European Space Agency’s Swarm mission over the past 20 years and found that the position of the north magnetic pole at any given time is determined by the ratio of the deep negative anomalies of the magnetic field – the kind of magnetic fluxes that form at the core of the Earth. One of these flows in the Northern Hemisphere departs towards Canada, and the other towards Siberia.
“The importance of these two sites in determining the field structure near the north magnetic pole has been known for several centuries,” the researchers noted in a recent report. These large petals of magnetism grow and contract over time, exerting a profound effect on the magnetic field that we sense on the surface.
“Historically, the Canadian site was stronger, and that’s why the pole was over Canada, but in the last few decades, the Canadian site has weakened and the Siberian one has strengthened, and this explains why the pole is shifting from its historical position,” – Philip Livermore, lead author of the study.
The authors of the work note that, although their calculations can predict the pole trajectory with relative accuracy, these data cannot show where exactly the pole will stop at a particular moment in time, and how long it will stay there. More such models are needed to more accurately predict where the poles of our planet will be in the future.
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