Satellites and spacecraft malfunction as Earth's magnetic field mysteriously weakens

Ученые В магнитном поле Земли возникла аномалия

Earth’s magnetic field weakens, impacting satellites and spacecraft: report

Well, the geographic North Pole stays fixed over time (mostly because we define it to stay fixed over time) but the magnetic north pole constantly moves.

Researchers have speculated that the current weakening of the magnetic field is a sign that Earth is heading for an eminent pole reversal-in which the north and south magnetic poles switch places.

"The new, eastern minimum of the South Atlantic Anomaly has appeared over the last decade and in recent years is developing vigorously", Jürgen Matzka, of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences and the Head of the Geomagnetic Observatory in Niemegk.

Scientists from European Space Agency (ESA) from the Swarm Data, Innovation and Science Cluster (DISC) are using this data from ESA's Swarm satellite constellation to study the anomaly.

Precise location tracking requires knowing the details of our Earth's magnetic field changes year-to-year, and this rapid shift in magnetic north is forcing us to revise our maps faster than we expected - and the new understanding helps us better predict where north might be in the future.

On average the planet's magnetic field has lost nearly 10% of its strength over the last two centuries, but there is a large localised region of weakness stretching from Africa to South America.

Thankfully, the ESA's Swarm mission, which has been mapping the details of the Earth's magnetic field, may give us some clues. The previous reversal of poles was recorded around 780,000 years ago.

Experts made a shocking discovery - the Earth's magnetic field is reportedly weakening, and this has immediate effects.

For years, the weakened field has been on the experts' radar - they know it has lost nine percent of its intensity over the past 200 years.

After analyzing data collected by Swarm, researchers found that the strength has diminished from around 24,000 nanoteslas to 22,000 between 1970 and 2020. This formed a center of a minimum intensity in just five years. Researchers believe that this could mean that the anomaly can split into two separate cells. "We are very lucky to have the Swarm satellites in orbit to investigate the development of the South Atlantic Anomaly".

This is definitely not the first time that pole reversal will be happening on the Earth.

The team says the phenomenon isn't a reason to sound the alarm.

"Forecasting the future is challenging, and we can not be sure", Lead researcher Phil Livermore, an associate professor of geophysics at the University of Leeds, told Live Science.

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