Earth's Magnetic Field Weakening - Film At 11

It's been no secret Earth's magnetic field has been shifting. A few years ago both maritime and aeronautical charts had to be revised to include new magnetic deviation lines (the difference between Magnetic North and True North) and some airports had to have their runways renumbered because of the shift. (Airport runways numbers are derived from their magnetic compass headings.)

I has also been understood by scientists that Earth's magnetic field will 'flip' every so often, reversing the north and south magnetic poles. It happens about every 200,000 to 300,000 years, but the last time it shifted was over 750,000 years ago, so we're long overdue for the next one. It also appears that it's going to happen again sooner than scientists had originally predicted.

Earth’s protective magnetic field has been weakening at a faster rate than expected, according to data from newly launched European Space Agency satellites. The finding may indicate that Earth’s poles will switch sooner than scientists thought.

It was previously thought that the field was weakening by about 5 percent each century, LiveScience reports, pointing to a flip in about 2,000 years. But the new data shows a much more dramatic weakening, at a pace of 5 percent per decade — 10 times faster than previously thought.

So rather than taking place in about 2,000 years it will be around 200 years. That's certainly going to make it interesting to use magnetic compasses over the next couple of centuries. But then there's also the issue of how such a thing might affect life on the planet.

Though a magnetic flip sounds dramatic, no evidence indicates that it would cause any harm to life on Earth, according to Wired. Past flips are not associated with any mass extinctions or radiation damage. But changes could disrupt power grids and communications networks, which have been damaged by strong solar storms in the past.

I'm sure someone will find a way to blame this all of this on Anthropogenic Global Warming, too. Is there nothing it can't do?