Update, 9 January: The release of the World Magnetic Model has been postponed to 30 January due to the ongoing US government shutdown . Something strange is going on at the top of the world. Earth’s north magnetic pole has been skittering away from Canada and towards Siberia, driven by liquid iron sloshing within the planet’s core.
Scientists are working to understand why the magnetic field is changing so dramatically. Geomagnetic pulses, like the one that happened in 2016, might be traced back to ‘hydromagnetic’ waves arising from deep in the core. And the fast motion of the north magnetic pole could be linked to a high-speed jet of liquid iron beneath Canada.
“The location of the north magnetic pole appears to be governed by two large-scale patches of magnetic field, one beneath Canada and one beneath Siberia,” Phil Livermore, a geomagnetist at the University of Leeds, UK says. “The Siberian patch is winning the competition.”
Which means that the world’s geomagnetists will have a lot to keep them busy for the foreseeable future.