North magnetic pole fast moving towards Siberia, forcing navigation fix

Check your compass: The magnetic north pole is on the move

At the end of 2017, the magnetic north pole crossed the worldwide date line.

In early 2018, scientists in charge of the model update realized they needed to have an earlier update in order to keep within the acceptable limits for magnetic-based navigation.

Earth's magnetic north pole has been drifting so much in recent years that scientific estimates are no longer accurate for navigation, prompting the National Centers for Environmental Information to publish updated information almost a year early.

The Earth's magnetic field doesn't neatly line up with the geometry of our near-spherical planet.

The report's release was originally set for January 15 but was delayed due to the USA government shutdown. 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 World Magnetic Model.

According to National Georgraphic, the system is vital for navigation, affecting everything from phones to commercial airlines and, if not adjusted based on the changes, could have major effects.

For example, the airport in Fairbanks, Alaska, renamed a runway 1L-19R to 2L-20R in 2009.

In the 189 years since it was first measured in the Canadian Arctic, it has moved some 2,300 kilometers toward Siberia, and its speed jumped from about 15 kilometers per year to 55 kilometers per year since 2000.

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

WASHINGTON (AP) - North isn't quite where it used to be.

The NOAA said Earth's magnetic field changes because of "unpredictable flows in Earth's core". This nickel and iron ocean lies about 1,800 miles below Earth's surface and generates electric currents that produce the planet's magnetic field. To compensate, the US' National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom's Defence Geographic Centre have combined to build the World Magnetic Model.

Scientists have now released an update to the WMM to account for the unexpected movement of the northern magnetic pole.

On Monday, NOAA announced the release of an update to the World Magnetic Model, a tool that tracks how the Earth's magnetic field changes depending on where you're located on the planet. Since it's always on the move, scientists update their model every five years, the last update being in 2015. Only by tracking it, said University of Leeds geophysicist Phil Livermore, can scientists hope to understand what's going on. "It didn't move much between 1900 and 1980 but it's really accelerated in the past 40 years", said Ciaran Beggan, of the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh.

Some scientists believe that Earth could be heading for a magnetic pole reversal.

That could bother some birds that use magnetic fields to navigate, and an overall weakening of the magnetic field is not good for people and especially satellites and astronauts. The magnetic field shields Earth from some risky radiation, Lathrop said.

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