The magnetic North Pole is moving at an alarming rate and forcing researchers to update a navigational model.
According to The Washington Post, almost half of the employees from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is responsible for updating the World Magnetic Model, are on furlough due to the government shutdown, as the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives refuses to fund U.S. President Donald Trump’s $5 billion border wall.
Earth’s poles naturally shift and change due to unpredictable flows of molten liquid iron at the Earth’s core caused by the planet’s rotation. This liquid’s movement creates the Earth’s magnetic field.
However, an article posted in the journal Nature shows that the Earth’s magnetic North Pole has been moving at an unprecedented rate. The movement began in the mid-1990s and it is now headed towards Siberia at roughly 55 kilometers per year.
Scientists from the NOAA and the British Geological Survey study and update the World Magnetic Model every five years.
However, due to the dramatic movement, the model needs to be updated earlier than scheduled. The current government shutdown has forced the NOAA to postpone the update from January 15 to January 30.
This model is necessary for accurate civilian and military navigation. According to the report, the abrupt changes may be due to a geomagnetic pulse that occurred beneath South America in 2016.
In 2017, Phil Livermore a geophysicist from the University of Leeds detected a high-speed jet of liquid iron beneath Canada that seemed to be weakening the magnetic field in that area. Livermore believes this could be linked to the current changes in the earth’s magnetic field.