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Our planet uses its magnetic field like an oversized jacket that just won't fit comfortably. As a result, some sliding have found to occur in the north magnetic pole and, that can move ever closer to Siberia's coastline in the upcoming decade. The mysterious responsible geological forces behind that now might be solved and we may closer to understand that what's going on.

Earth's Magnetic Pole (Science alert)

Researchers from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom and the Technical University of Denmark have examined 20 years of satellite data, observing that a consistent competition between two lobes of differing magnetic force near the earth's core is likely to be behind the pole's wanderlust. 

In 1831 first time the exact position of Earth's magnetic north was discovered and it was squarely in Canada's corner of the Arctic, on the Boothia Peninsula in the territory of Nunavut. After that, so many estimates have recorded the drifting of this spot towards the north with an average of about 15 km (around 9 miles) per year.

Tracking the magnetic north pole's drift towards Siberia (Livermore et al., Nature Geoscience, 2020) [Left] Experiment demonstrating the effect of elongation of the Canadian CMB flux lobe on the large-scale surface field and pole position [Right]

Recent advanced technology helps us to observe very carefully on the accurate pole location. Since the 1990s, the drifting of the magnetic pole was a rate of between 50 and 60 km (about 30 and 37 miles) per year. Consequently, during 2017-18, the pole's location brings within 390 km (240 miles) of the geographical North Pole.

On its current path, in ten years, we can expect it will be anywhere between 390 and 660 kilometres further along its journey and it may be bringing to the northern limits of the East Siberian Sea.

The pole's heading lines up neatly with two anomalies called negative magnetic fluxes, one deep beneath Canada, and the other below Siberia.  According to Livermore et al, "The importance of these two spots in determining the structure of the field adjacent to the north magnetic pole has been completely known for many centuries". These giant lobes of magnetism expand and shrink with time, having an intense effect on the magnetic field we observe on the surface.

Tracking the magnetic north pole's drift towards Siberia (Livermore et al., Nature Geoscience, 2020) | Local core surface dynamics around the Canadian flux lobe in stereographic projection. a–c, Contours of the radial magnetic field, the north magnetic pole position and path since 1840, flow streamlines with arrows and the wedge within which flux lobe elongation occurs in 1970 (a), 1999 (b) and 2017 (c).

Livermore also told to BBC in a recent interview that "now historically, the Canadian patch has been obtaining the war and that's why the pole has been cantered over Canada,"  "But in the last some decades, the Canadian patch has weakened and the Siberian patch has strengthened slightly, and that reveals why the pole has suddenly accelerated away from its actual position."

There are more scientific models like this, are needed if we really want to predict the place where our planet's poles will end up in the future.

This research article was published in Nature Geoscience

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