Earth's Magnetic Field

Earth’s north magnetic pole is suddenly moving and scientists involved in tracking its motions don’t know why. The Earth’s magnetic field extends from the planet’s interior out into space, where it meets the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emanating from the Sun, and serves to deflect most of the solar wind, whose charged particles would otherwise strip away the ozone layer. “The magnetic pole is moving so quickly that it has forced the world’s geomagnetism experts into a rare move,” said science journal Nature. Read more for another video and additional information.

The World Magnetic Model tracks changes to Earth’s magnetic and used extensively for navigation by the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as many civilian systems. A geomagnetic pulse beneath South America shifted the magnetic field unexpectedly in 2016. “The fact that the pole is going fast makes this region more prone to large errors,” said Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Due to the US government shutdown, a meeting that was scheduled for January 15 to revise the model has been postponed until January 30.