Shift­ing north mag­netic pole forces un­prece­dented nav­i­ga­tion fix

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

OSLO: Rapid shifts in the Earth’s north mag­netic pole are forc­ing re­searchers to make an un­prece­dented early up­date to a model that helps nav­i­ga­tion by ships, planes and sub­marines in the Arc­tic, sci­en­tists said.

Com­pass nee­dles point to­wards the north mag­netic pole, a point which has crept un­pre­dictably from the coast of north­ern Canada a cen­tury ago to the mid­dle of the Arc­tic Ocean, mov­ing to­wards Rus­sia.

“It’s mov­ing at about 50 km (30 miles) a year. It didn’t move much be­tween 1900 and 1980 but it’s re­ally ac­cel­er­ated in the past 40 years,” Ciaran Beg­gan, of the Bri­tish Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey in Ed­in­burgh, told Reuters on Fri­day. CHANGES IN LIQ­UID IRON A five-year up­date of a World Mag­netic Model was due in 2020 but the U.S. mil­i­tary re­quested an un­prece­dented early re­view, he said. The BGS runs the model with the US National Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Beg­gan said the mov­ing pole af­fected nav­i­ga­tion, mainly in the Arc­tic Ocean north of Canada. NATO and the U.S. and Bri­tish mil­i­taries are among those us­ing the mag­netic model, as well as civil­ian nav­i­ga­tion.

The wan­der­ing pole is driven by un­pre­dictable changes in liq­uid iron deep in­side the Earth. An up­date will be re­leased on Jan­uary 30, the jour­nal Na­ture said, de­layed from Jan­uary 15 be­cause of the US. gov­ern­ment shutdown.

“The fact that the pole is go­ing fast makes this re­gion more prone to large er­rors,” Ar­naud Chul­liat, a ge­o­mag­netist, said.

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