Earth's Magnetic Field Is Weakening Drastically And No One Knows Why

The European Space Agency has released some new data, and it suggests that the Earth's magnetic field is weakening at an alarming rate. The magnetic field data was collected by Swarm satellites, which are a series of three orbital satellites utilized for data-gathering by the ESA. The satellites collect information pertaining to the direction, strength, and variations of the Earth's magnetic field.

magnetic field
[Image by Shutterstock]Mysterious Universe reports that the newest measurements of the Earth's magnetic field indicate that it is weakening by roughly 5 percent annually. That may not sound like much, but the number indicates that the Earth's magnetic field is deteriorating at a rate almost 10 times more rapidly than previously estimated. According to the ESA, the Earth's magnetic field isn't weakening in a uniform manner. Rather, the weakening is a bit spotty, with some areas of the magnetic field dwindling much quicker than others.
"It shows clearly that the field has weakened by about 3.5% at high latitudes over North America, while it has strengthened about 2% over Asia. The region where the field is at its weakest – the South Atlantic Anomaly – has moved steadily westward and weakened further by about 2%."
The newly released information has led some scientists to believe that we might be witnessing the precursors to a reversal of Earth's magnetic poles. While modern humanity has never witnessed such an event, at least in our recorded history, scientists say that their research indicates that the Earth's magnetic poles reverse roughly every 100,000 years.

earth's field
[Image by Shutterstock]The last magnetic pole reversal is believed to have taken place during the Stone Age.

When talk turns to a magnetic pole shift on Earth, conspiracy theorists are quick to say that it will be a doomsday scenario that ends all life on the planet. At the very least, conspiracy theorists believe that a magnetic pole reversal would spell the end of modern civilization and humanity as we know it.

Geoscientists are less concerned about the potential repercussions of a magnetic pole shift, though. The general consensus among experts is that the worst impact Earth's denizens will likely face if such an event occurs is " the re-labeling all of Earth's compasses."

magnetic core
[Image by Shutterstock]According to Chris Finlay, a researcher with the ESA, this newly released data is "groundbreaking" in its unprecedented detail and the accuracy of the readings provided by the Swarm satellites.
"Swarm data are now enabling us to map detailed changes in Earth's magnetic field, not just at Earth's surface but also down at the edge of its source region in the core. Unexpectedly, we are finding rapid localized field changes that seem to be a result of accelerations of liquid metal flowing within the core."
As Science Alert reports, Earth's magnetic field is our planet's first line of defense against cosmic radiation and harsh solar winds. And while some might find the ESA's new data to be disturbing, scientists have known for decades that our magnetic field is inherently unstable and has appeared to be weakening. The most surprising information to come out of this most recent research into the Earth's magnetic field is the rate at which our protective shield is changing.

Some social media users have serious concerns about the weakening of the Earth's magnetic field.

If the recently detected changes in Earth's magnetic field are indicative of an impeding magnetic pole reversal, scientists say that it's not something that will happen in an instant or even within a few days or weeks.
"Such a flip is not instantaneous, but would take many hundred if not a few thousand years. They have happened many times in the past."
Science's understanding of the Earth's magnetic field is, admittedly, limited. The field is believed to be produced by the motion of Earth's outer core, which is made of molten iron. The liquid metal spins and swirls beneath our feet, and it is this motion that is thought to both create and influence the Earth's magnetic field.

The ESA's Swarm satellite data has helped science better understand both how the Earth's magnetic field works and how it is influenced by the Earth's core.

What do you think? Are you worried about the weakening of the magnetic field? Do you think the increasing rate that the Earth's magnetic field is weakening indicates an impending pole reversal?

[Image by Shutterstock]