Earth’s magnetic field is getting weaker
A part of the earth’s magnetic field is weakening, and no one really knows why.
Satellite data has revealed a rather worrying development that the magnetic field is weakening between Africa and South America. Scientists say the area known as South Atlantic Anomaly has significantly widened over the past few years. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Swarm constellation of satellites have noticed a reduction in the strength from around 24,000 nanoteslas to 22,000 nanoteslas.
The earth’s magnetic field is generated by movements within the planet’s molten iron core. This emerges and goes as far as providing a shield for earth in space and protects the living beings from the harmful radiation of the sun. A stronger magnetic field blocks out more radiation from reaching the earth’s surface.
The reasons for this weakening magnetic field in the region could indicate an imminent reversal, where the North Pole and the South Pole switch. Scientists say this has happened before as well and happens roughly every 250,000 years.
The reversal could mean a change in how the magnetic field protects the earth from harmful cosmic radiation as well as space winds. Satellites could be rendered in-operational, which could have significant disruptions for communication systems around the world, including telecom networks and mobile phones. Scientists say spacecraft flying through the area are more likely to experience technical malfunctions.
This is set to rumble on, quite literally, because magnetic field reversals don’t usually happen in a day. But if things are indeed headed towards the North Pole and the South Pole swapping places, you probably wouldn’t want to be around to witness it.
Movies like Absolute Zero (2006) and Polar Storm (2009) have shown the disaster caused to the earth due to magnetic field reversal.