Earth's Magnetic Poles are Getting Ready to Flip

#Science

Wed, Jul 23rd, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Scientific American, data collected by the European Space Agency (ESA) satellite array called Swarm shows that the Earth's magnetic field, which shields the planet from dangerous cosmic radiation spewing from the sun, has been weakening. Scientists theorise that this may be a result of the poles getting ready to switch, meaning that a traditional compass would start pointing South rather than North.

Floberghagen hopes that more data from Swarm will shed light on why the field is weakening faster now.

Still, there is no evidence that a weakened magnetic field would result in a doomsday for Earth. During past polarity flips there were no mass extinctions or evidence of radiation damage. Researchers think power grids and communication systems would be most at risk.

Earth's magnetic field acts like a giant invisible bubble that shields the planet from the dangerous cosmic radiation spewing from the sun in the form of solar winds. The field exists because Earth has a giant ball of iron at its core surrounded by an outer layer of molten metal. Changes in the core's temperature and Earth's rotation boil and swirl the liquid metal around in the outer core, creating magnetic field lines.

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