North Magnetic Pole Continues to Shift Crossing Into the Prime Meridian – What Are the Effects?

  • The North magnetic pole crossed over the null meridian in September 2019.
  • The weakening is also observed, hence the possibility of higher radiation exposure in the future.
  • Every 200,000 the North and South magnetic poles flip.

The north magnetic pole continues to shift crossing into the prime meridian, geographic coordinate system at which longitude is defined to be 0°. Together, a prime meridian and its anti-meridian form a great circle. This great circle divides Earth into two hemispheres. Recently, the shift of the north magnetic pole is drifting at much higher speeds in comparison to the predictions. Hence, it is now crossed over the meridian zero.

The Canadian Arctic was the location of the north magnetic pole which is now moving in the direction of Siberia. Additionally, the speed detected is around 55 km each year. Scientists release a new version of the Earth’s Magnetic Field Map every five years and the new update was supposed to be released in 2020. However, the abnormal speed of the north magnetic shift made scientist release an update ahead of schedule.  The latest map also shows that the north magnetic pole is now east of the null meridian passing through the Royal Greenwich Observatory in the UK.  A null meridian crossing took place in September 2019 as reported by Newsweek.

The diagram of the shift since 1900 Northern Hemisphere.

The latest Earth field model was released this month by the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, which is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the nation’s treasure of climate and historical weather data and information. According to the Earth’s latest magnetic field model, the movement will continue, although its speed is predicted to decline to by 15 km per year to the speed of 40 km per year.

The model is used for the GPS and GLONASS system collaboration. The Global Positioning System, originally NAVSTAR GPS, is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Air Force. GLONASS is a space-based satellite navigation system operating as part of a radionavigation-satellite service. It provides an alternative to GPS and is the second navigational system in operation with global coverage and of comparable precision.

The diagram of the shift since 1900 Southern Hemisphere.

Originally, the Earth’s magnetic field was formed as a result of the iron rotation in the outer core of our planet. The resulting field has a bipolar structure, which has a distinct North and South magnetic pole division. For reasons not well understood by scientists – which, however, are definitely related to the dynamics of the bowels of the planet – the magnetic field is currently weakening. Therefore, the north magnetic pole drifts.

Historically, every 200,000- 300,000 years the magnetic poles change. The main concern is that the weakening of the magnetic field will expose our planet to higher levels of radiation. Climate change and what we are doing to our planet could be a contributing factor to the speed increase of the north magnetic pole moving at the higher speeds than expected.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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