According to the European Space Agency’s Swarm satellites, the Earth’s magnetic field which protects the planet from cosmic radiation, has grown weaker over the past six months than thought in the Western Hemisphere, scientists previously estimated the Earth’s magnetic field is weakening at five percent every century, but the data collected disagree.
First data set reveals dramatic declines over the Western hemisphere, but a strengthening of the Earth’s magnetic field over the southern Indian Ocean.
Now the reason why the magnetic field is weakening is unsure. But one scientist Rune Floberghagen believes that one reason could be that the magnetic poles are preparing to flip.
Changes in the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field are normal, but satellites have shown that it is weakening more rapidly than in the past. This means that the flip could occur sooner than the 2,000 years already predicted, according to experts who presented their findings at the Third Swarm Science Meeting in Denmark.
What’s your opinion? Tell us!
1. This map shows the filed from January to June. Shades of red represent areas of strengthening, while blues show areas of weakening over the 6-month period
2. Swarm (pictured) is Esa’s first Earth observation constellation of satellites.
3. The magnetic field and electric currents near Earth (pictured) generate complex forces, but exactly how it is generated and why it changes is not yet fully understood
4. This is a snapshot of the main magnetic field at Earth’s surface as of June 2014, based on Swarm data.