Satellites could malfunction due to shift in Earths poles
Some scientists say that Earth is due for a pole shift.
Earth’s magnetic field is vital for sustaining life on the Blue planet. It protects us from the Sun's rays. It also protects us from other cosmic rays. But now, a new research shows that Earth’s magnetic poles are mysteriously weakening between Africa and South America. This could lead to malfunctioning of satellites and spacecrafts.
Scientists studying have discovered that Earth’s magnetic field has lost around 9% of its strength over the last 200 year. From 1970 to 2020, the strength of the field has dropped from around 24,000 nanoteslas to about 22,000 nanoteslas. Researchers have determined that large regions of reduced magnetic field intensity have developed between Africa and South America. This is known as the South Atlantic Anomaly.
Researchers have also determined that in the past five years, a second region of reduced magnetic field intensity has emerged to the southwest of Africa, indicating the South Atlantic Anomaly has split into two parts.
"The new, eastern minimum of the South Atlantic Anomaly has appeared over the last decade and in recent years is developing vigorously. We are very lucky to have the Swarm satellites in orbit to investigate the development of the South Atlantic Anomaly. The challenge now is to understand the processes in Earth's core driving these changes," Jürgen Matzka, from the German Research Centre for Geosciences, said in a statement to physics.org.
Some researchers believe that the Earth is heading for another pole shift, which means that one planet’s magnetic poles will swap places. Currently, magnetic north aligns with the geographic north and the magnetic south aligns with the geographic south. Pole reversal is not an uncommon event and it takes place every 250,000 years. Scientists believe that the Earth is “long overdue” for such an event.
What will it mean for us?
Scientists say that the anomaly will cause no harm on the surface level, which means that people won’t feel the change even if the pole shift happens. However, it could lead to the malfunction of satellites and spacecrafts flying though the area.