WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Earth’s magnetic field is essential to all the living things on our planet because it blocks harmful cosmic rays and solar winds.
- According to experts, the magnetic field has weakened over the last two centuries, a possible sign that the magnetic poles could be about to flip.
- This phenomenon could strip away the ozone layer that protects the planet from damaging radiation.
The Earth’s magnetic field has shown signs of shifting, weakening at a rate of 5% every one hundred years. Scientists are now talking that a full swap could be near. Researchers from the University of Leeds have suggested the flip may occur within 2,000 years.
The magnetic field has flipped in polarity over the last 20 million years. The reversal between north and south poles occur every 200,000 to 300,000 years on average.
A temporary reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles, called The Laschamp event, occurred about 40,000 years ago during the last ice age. According to Futurism, the last full reversal happened around 780,000 years ago indicating that the planet is about to experience another one. But this event is difficult to predict exactly.
Experts also noted that the north magnetic pole is becoming particularly unstable and unpredictable. Magnetic metals are extracting energy from the source of the Earth’s magnetic field deep in the liquid core, called the dipole.
If the reversal happens, it could cause serious consequences for humanity. As the magnetic field’s protection weakens, more harmful radiation will reach the planet than usual.
If radiation continued to reach the surface over extended periods of time, some areas may be considered uninhabitable.
Even a moderately weakened magnetic field could cause severe damage to the orbiting satellites which modern civilization counts on. It could create havoc for communications technology, GPS systems, the aviation industry, ground-based power grids and other vital infrastructure.
The good news perhaps is that new, tougher satellites that can endure extreme space weather will be developed by satellite companies.
For the meantime, experts will need to begin planning for what may happen, educating the public about the event.
Source: International Business Times