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Earth’s Magnetic Field in Trouble – Flip Could Happen Sooner Than Expected

Posted by on July 10, 2014 in Earth & Space, Sci-Tech, Science with 4 Comments

Kelly Dickerson | Scientificamerican

Changes measured by the Swarm satellite over the past 6 months shows that Earth's magnetic field is changing. Shades of red show areas where it is strengthening, and shades of blue show areas that are weakening.  Credit: ESA/DTU

Changes measured by the Swarm satellite over the past 6 months shows that Earth's magnetic field is changing. Shades of red show areas where it is strengthening, and shades of blue show areas that are weakening.
Credit: ESA/DTU

Earth's magnetic field, which protects the planet from huge blasts of deadly solar radiation, has been weakening over the past six months, according to data collected by a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite array called Swarm.

The biggest weak spots in the magnetic field— which extends 370,000 miles (600,000 kilometers) above the planet's surface — have sprung up over the Western Hemisphere, while the field has strengthened over areas like the southern Indian Ocean, according to the magnetometers onboard the Swarm satellites — three separate satellites floating in tandem.

The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is that Earth's magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA's Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia.

“Such a flip is not instantaneous, but would take many hundred if not a few thousand years,” Floberghagen told Live Science. “They have happened many times in the past.”[50 Amazing Facts About Planet Earth]

Scientists already know that magnetic north shifts. Once every few hundred thousand years the magnetic poles flip so that a compass would point south instead of north. While changes in magnetic field strength are part of this normal flipping cycle, data from Swarm have shown the field is starting to weaken faster than in the past. Previously, researchers estimated the field was weakening about 5 percent per century, but the new data revealed the field is actually weakening at 5 percent per decade, or 10 times faster than thought. As such, rather than the full flip occurring in about 2,000 years, as was predicted, the new data suggest it could happen sooner.

Floberghagen hopes that more data from Swarm will shed light on why the field is weakening faster now.

Still, there is no evidence that a weakened magnetic field would result in a doomsday for Earth. During past polarity flips there were no mass extinctions or evidence of radiation damage. Researchers think power grids and communication systems would be most at risk.

Earth's magnetic field acts like a giant invisible bubble that shields the planet from the dangerous cosmic radiation spewing from the sun in the form of solar winds. The field exists because Earth has a giant ball of iron at its core surrounded by an outer layer of molten metal. Changes in the core's temperature and Earth's rotation boil and swirl the liquid metal around in the outer core, creating magnetic field lines.

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  1. hotchillies9090@gmail.com' Jenny says:

    I wonder if this excellerated course has anything to do with the spraying?

  2. jpolyanski@gmail.com' Julie Polyanski says:

    If so, they’ll deny it until their last breath, that’s for sure.

  3. charles@steelcityartist.com' Charles Ott says:

    The magnetic field could be weakening due mainly to all the power and radiation that humans worldwide have contributed towards its depletion in the past century. Whether it is gas emissions, power plants, cell phones and anything else you can think of. It all has to escape somewhere and this would seem like the ideal reasoning behind it.

  4. sunshineandsass@yahoo.com' vickie bracey says:

    People dont want to discuss the spiritual implication of this rapid change….
    In light of the changes we are seeing world wide: in our country, our government, Israel and Iran, earthquakes, sunamis, wars and rumors of wars ….the blood moons correlating with Israels Passover and Yom Kippur, the antiChristian movement all over the world….and now this shift in the earths magnetic field…..
    Check out the oldest book in the world! The Bible! It fortells of all of this and warns us that the end of time is near!
    If you have never sought God’s forgiveness and accepted the Gift of salvation from His Son Jesus, then all these changes should make you petrified!
    Jesus will return soon to gather His children…..if you belong to Him all this will make sense ….if you dont, you will be seeing news concerning a mass disappearance of people of all ages from newborns up and graves being opened and bodies disappearing…..and someone in the White House or the UN will explain it all away….
    The signs are clear…….

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