On the “Magnetic polar shifts cause massive global super storms” story

Image from NOVA - which did a TV special on this issue - click for details

I’ve been avoiding this story (Magnetic polar shifts cause massive global super storms) for awhile, hoping it would simply die, but people keep asking me about it, and I see it appearing on other blogs, so I suppose I’ll have to address it. Mainly what I want to do is present facts about it and let readers make up their own minds.

There has been a lot of worry and hype on this subject. Part of it is fueled by the silly “2012″ thing. Some it has been fueled by people who had been primed for “space storms” in solar cycle 24, such as in this Fox News video:

Many people still haven’t got the memo that solar cycle 24 is now forecast by NASA (after a number of forecast reductions) to be about as quiet as the Dalton Minimum, with a peak sunspot count of 59 in their latest forecast. They hear that the protective Earth’s magnetic field may flip/deplete from one source, remember the hype over the upcoming solar cycle, and worry that we are going to get toasted. I assure you, we will, when the sun turns into a red giant a couple billion years from now, but let’s not worry about that.

An artist's depiction of the Sun entering its red giant phase viewed from Earth. All life on Earth is extinct at this phase.

In the meantime, yes, at some point the Earth’s magnetic field will flip. Compasses will point south instead of North. According to the best science we have this happens frequently on Earth (in the scale of geologic time). And, as we know, the sun’s magnetic field appears to reverse its polarity on the advent of each new solar cycle, about every 11 years. The sun doesn’t wink out or get stormy when this happens, nor can we as humans detect any earthly change when this occurs. It’s essentially imperceptible to us.

As for earth, it’s magnetic field also flips, but not nearly as often. About every 200,000-250,000 years. The last one occurred 780,000 years ago, so the period is not constant. This is to be expected in a chaotic system. Below, see the magnetic record timeline as derived from rocks:

More on the magnetic timeline here. Looking at the long term record, magnetic field reversals are rather common. So, as far as Earth goes, it is “business as usual”. It probably would say: “Nothing to see here, move along.” if asked. I’ll point out that life continued through all of this. And, as far as I know, no scientist has linked extinctions to reversals. The Wikipedia article has this to say:

Because the magnetic field has never been observed to reverse by humans with instrumentation, and the mechanism of field generation is not well understood, it is difficult to say what the characteristics of the magnetic field might be leading up to such a reversal.

Some speculate that a greatly diminished magnetic field during a reversal period will expose the surface of the Earth to a substantial and potentially damaging increase in cosmic radiation. However, Homo erectus and their ancestors certainly survived many previous reversals, though they did not depend on computer systems that could be damaged by large coronal mass ejections.

There is no uncontested evidence that a magnetic field reversal has ever caused any biological extinctions. A possible explanation is that the solar wind may induce a sufficient magnetic field in the Earth’s ionosphere to shield the surface from energetic particles even in the absence of the Earth’s normal magnetic field. Another possible explanation is that magnetic field actually does not vanish completely, with many poles forming chaotically in different places during reversal, until it stabilizes again.

There’s a NASA story on the wandering magnetic North pole from 2003 that is instructive, I’m repeating part of it below:

===============================================================

Scientists have long known that the magnetic pole moves. James Ross located the pole for the first time in 1831 after an exhausting arctic journey during which his ship got stuck in the ice for four years. No one returned until the next century. In 1904, Roald Amundsen found the pole again and discovered that it had moved–at least 50 km since the days of Ross.

The pole kept going during the 20th century, north at an average speed of 10 km per year, lately accelerating “to 40 km per year,” says Newitt. At this rate it will exit North America and reach Siberia in a few decades.

Keeping track of the north magnetic pole is Newitt’s job. “We usually go out and check its location once every few years,” he says. “We’ll have to make more trips now that it is moving so quickly.”

Earth’s magnetic field is changing in other ways, too: Compass needles in Africa, for instance, are drifting about 1 degree per decade. And globally the magnetic field has weakened 10% since the 19th century. When this was mentioned by researchers at a recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union, many newspapers carried the story. A typical headline: “Is Earth’s magnetic field collapsing?”

Probably not. As remarkable as these changes sound, “they’re mild compared to what Earth’s magnetic field has done in the past,” says University of California professor Gary Glatzmaier.

see captionSometimes the field completely flips. The north and the south poles swap places. Such reversals, recorded in the magnetism of ancient rocks, are unpredictable. They come at irregular intervals averaging about 300,000 years; the last one was 780,000 years ago. Are we overdue for another? No one knows.

Left: Magnetic stripes around mid-ocean ridges reveal the history of Earth’s magnetic field for millions of years. The study of Earth’s past magnetism is called paleomagnetism. Image credit: USGS. [more]

According to Glatzmaier, the ongoing 10% decline doesn’t mean that a reversal is imminent. “The field is increasing or decreasing all the time,” he says. “We know this from studies of the paleomagnetic record.” Earth’s present-day magnetic field is, in fact, much stronger than normal. The dipole moment, a measure of the intensity of the magnetic field, is now 8 × 1022 amps × m2. That’s twice the million-year average of 4× 1022 amps × m2.

To understand what’s happening, says Glatzmaier, we have to take a trip … to the center of the Earth where the magnetic field is produced.

At the heart of our planet lies a solid iron ball, about as hot as the surface of the sun. Researchers call it “the inner core.” It’s really a world within a world. The inner core is 70% as wide as the moon. It spins at its own rate, as much as 0.2° of longitude per year faster than the Earth above it, and it has its own ocean: a very deep layer of liquid iron known as “the outer core.”

see captionRight: a schematic diagram of Earth’s interior. The outer core is the source of the geomagnetic field.

Earth’s magnetic field comes from this ocean of iron, which is an electrically conducting fluid in constant motion. Sitting atop the hot inner core, the liquid outer core seethes and roils like water in a pan on a hot stove. The outer core also has “hurricanes”–whirlpools powered by the Coriolis forces of Earth’s rotation. These complex motions generate our planet’s magnetism through a process called the dynamo effect.

Using the equations of magnetohydrodynamics, a branch of physics dealing with conducting fluids and magnetic fields, Glatzmaier and colleague Paul Roberts have created a supercomputer model of Earth’s interior. Their software heats the inner core, stirs the metallic ocean above it, then calculates the resulting magnetic field. They run their code for hundreds of thousands of simulated years and watch what happens.

What they see mimics the real Earth: The magnetic field waxes and wanes, poles drift and, occasionally, flip. Change is normal, they’ve learned. And no wonder. The source of the field, the outer core, is itself seething, swirling, turbulent. “It’s chaotic down there,” notes Glatzmaier. The changes we detect on our planet’s surface are a sign of that inner chaos.

They’ve also learned what happens during a magnetic flip. Reversals take a few thousand years to complete, and during that time–contrary to popular belief–the magnetic field does not vanish. “It just gets more complicated,” says Glatzmaier. Magnetic lines of force near Earth’s surface become twisted and tangled, and magnetic poles pop up in unaccustomed places. A south magnetic pole might emerge over Africa, for instance, or a north pole over Tahiti. Weird. But it’s still a planetary magnetic field, and it still protects us from space radiation and solar storms.

see caption

Above: Supercomputer models of Earth’s magnetic field. On the left is a normal dipolar magnetic field, typical of the long years between polarity reversals. On the right is the sort of complicated magnetic field Earth has during the upheaval of a reversal. [more]

===========================================================

They didn’t seem very worried about it at NASA then. They were more worried about solar cycle 24 producing a lot of solar flares at the time, which would disrupt a lot of our new technology.

When a big CME heads toward earth, it can cause havoc, whether our magnetic field is strong or not. For example, in 1859, long before our worries about Earth’s magnetic field started, there was the Carrington event:

At 11:18 AM on the cloudless morning of Thursday, September 1, 1859, 33-year-old Richard Carrington—widely acknowledged to be one of England’s foremost solar astronomers—was in his well-appointed private observatory. Just as usual on every sunny day, his telescope was projecting an 11-inch-wide image of the sun on a screen, and Carrington skillfully drew the sunspots he saw.

Right: Sunspots sketched by Richard Carrington on Sept. 1, 1859. Copyright: Royal Astronomical Society: more.

On that morning, he was capturing the likeness of an enormous group of sunspots. Suddenly, before his eyes, two brilliant beads of blinding white light appeared over the sunspots, intensified rapidly, and became kidney-shaped. Realizing that he was witnessing something unprecedented and “being somewhat flurried by the surprise,” Carrington later wrote, “I hastily ran to call someone to witness the exhibition with me. On returning within 60 seconds, I was mortified to find that it was already much changed and enfeebled.” He and his witness watched the white spots contract to mere pinpoints and disappear.

It was 11:23 AM. Only five minutes had passed.

Just before dawn the next day, skies all over planet Earth erupted in red, green, and purple auroras so brilliant that newspapers could be read as easily as in daylight. Indeed, stunning auroras pulsated even at near tropical latitudes over Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Hawaii.

Even more disconcerting, telegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on fire. Even when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted.

“What Carrington saw was a white-light solar flare—a magnetic explosion on the sun,” explains David Hathaway, solar physics team lead at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Notice, no mention in any of the historical reports of superstorm style bad weather, just unusual low latitude auroras and wacky telegraphs. Such an event will happen again in Earth’s history, we can be sure of it. From Wiki: “Ice cores contain thin nitrate-rich layers that can be used to reconstruct a history of past events before reliable observations. These show evidence that events of this magnitude — as measured by high-energy proton radiation, not geomagnetic effect — occur approximately once per 500 years, with events at least one-fifth as large occurring several times per century. Less severe storms have occurred in 1921 and 1960, when widespread radio disruption was reported”

Sure, it would be worse today if Earth’s magnetic field was weaker, but comparatively, the terrestrial magnetic field is a wimp and get’s pushed around by the sun anyway:

Now compare that story to what our buddy Caca Kaku has been saying:

But for now, the reality of solar cycle 24 is far less worrisome:

Adding to some of the media hype worry, the north magnetic pole is on the move. In fact, as Luboš Motl has recently pointed out, it has been accelerating in its movement. According to this 2009 NatGeo story, it is now on the move by about 40 miles per year towards Siberia:

Blue lines show Earth's northern magnetic field and the magnetic north pole in an artist's rendering.

Blue lines show Earth's northern magnetic field and the magnetic north pole in an artist's rendering. Picture courtesy Stefan Maus, NOAA NGDC

There was the recent story about runways at Tampa International Airport having to be renumbered because the compass heading has changed. It also added to the worry and hype about the Earth’s magnetic field. Well, it is a story that is likely to be repeated in the years to come, as the pole drifts even more. At some point the FAA may just decide it isn’t worth trying to keep up with, and make runway numbers reflect GPS headings (based on true north) instead.

And that’s not the only effect. Soon, many USHCN and GHCN ASOS station in the USA will be out of alignment with magnetic north. Yes that’s right, they are aligned perpendicular to magnetic north, like this US Historical Climate Network climate monitoring station in Minneapolis, MN:

As far as I can tell, that’s about the only significant “climate disruption” we are going to see.

There’s of course the possibility that a weaker magnetic field might provide for some increased thunderstorm development, such as this linkage between Forbush decreases and thunderstorm electricity, but there doesn’t appear to be any strong linkage to synoptic scale storm formation that we know of. The issue of the sun modulating cosmic ray passage to Earth which is a different issue altogether.

Now compare what has been presented above to the article in Helium that everyone is concerned about:

(Magnetic polar shifts cause massive global super storms)

On the heels of the lashing the British Isles sustained, monster storms began to pummel North America. The latest superstorm—as of this writing—is a monster over the U.S. that stretched across 2,000 miles affecting more than 150 million people.

Yet even as that storm wreaked havoc across the Western, Southern, Midwestern and Northeastern states, another superstorm broke out in the Pacific and closed in on Australia.

The southern continent had already dealt with the disaster of historic superstorm flooding from rains that dropped as much as several feet in a matter of hours. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. After the deluge bull sharks were spotted swimming between houses in what was once the quiet town of Goodna.

Shocked authorities now numbly concede that some of the water may never dissipate and have wearily resigned themselves to the possibility that region will now contain a small inland sea.

But then only a handful of weeks later another superstorm—the mega-monster cyclone Yasi—struck northeastern Australia. The damage it left in its wake is being called by rescue workers a war zone.

Do you recognize the writing style? Let’s look at a similar example.

We have recently been told that these storms were caused by “man-made global warming”, let’s listen to Al Gore:

As it turns out, the scientific community has been addressing this particular question for some time now and they say that increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming:

“In fact, scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe. Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air. When temperatures dip below freezing, a lot of moisture creates a lot of snow.”

“A rise in global temperature can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, along with increasingly violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species.”

There’s a catastrophe prediction on every street corner it seems:

Image: treehugger.com - click for story

Me, I’m not worried about the magnetic field flipping any more than I am about the sun turning into a red giant. It’s out of my hands. The best you can do is to adopt the old Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.

For what, I’m not sure, so I don’t worry too much. Nature so far has allowed life to go along on this planet, mostly unabated for millions of years. Sure, we could get squished like a bug tomorrow by an asteroid, but can we do anything about that if we know today?

Bobby McFerrin had it right:

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167 Responses to On the “Magnetic polar shifts cause massive global super storms” story

  1. DB says:

    “Many people still haven’t got the memo that solar cycle 24 is now forecast by NASA (after a number of forecast reductions) to be about as quiet as the Dalton Minimum, with a peak sunspot count of 59 in their latest forecast.”

    FWIW, in this month’s forecast it’s down to 58.

  2. johnboy says:

    is “mother” earth mad at us because we denied “global”warming/change[tax]etc.???

  3. Dave Springer says:

    Be prepared… how exactly?

  4. Robert M says:

    We are all going to DIE!

    Unless… For just three easy payments of $19.95 you can buy magnetic offsets that will be used to move the north magnetic pole to the geographic north pole, and keep it there. /sarc

  5. TimM says:

    The poles may not have flipped in 780k years but they have gone wandering sometimes halfway to the equator just to decide it didn’t like warm weather and went back to its northern habitat. So the Magnetic North Pole isn’t a warmista :)

  6. Kev-in-UK says:

    Totally agree Anthony – just one observation…
    the precautionary principal warmist/alarmist types will likely jump on your last sentence!

  7. Volt Aire says:

    Very good article – again. Thank you AW.

  8. Ray says:

    Could a somewhat big iron space body passing fairly close to earth flip the poles?

  9. Gaylon says:

    “”Robert M says:
    February 7, 2011 at 10:01 am
    We are all going to DIE!

    Unless… For just three easy payments of $19.95 you can buy magnetic offsets that will be used to move the north magnetic pole to the geographic north pole, and keep it there. /sarc””
    _______________

    I can top that: For one low payment of $19.95 you can now get an emergency magnetic generator bracelet! Be one of the few surviviors in your neighborhood when the field flips out! And if you act in the next 6 minutes I’ll send you another free bracelet for a loved one. That’s an $86.00 value for only $19.95!! Call now, at 1-800-FLI-POUT, operators are standing by…

    sarc/off

  10. Mike Haseler says:

    Does it mean anything? … It certainly means that it could mean something and no doubt when we look back with hindsight it’ll all look so obvious it was/wasn’t important.

    If only we had the incredible predictive ability of the warmist “scientists”! (sarc off)

    Thanks for the article.

  11. Bob Shapiro says:

    I wasn’t worried, but thanks for the post.

    I seem to remember, however, that these kinds of stories used to explain that CMEs were more likely during the time when the Sun is quiet. So, which environment “favors” these supposed technology Extinction Level Events? A quiet Sun or a Solar Max?

    If I’m going to ignore it, I’d like to have a better idea of what to ignore.

  12. Ray says:
    February 7, 2011 at 10:42 am
    Could a somewhat big iron space body passing fairly close to earth flip the poles?
    No.
    BTW: excellent article Anthony.

  13. LarryD says:

    I what I’ve read is correct, the natural increase in luminosity of the sun will, in 500 million years, push the inner boundary of the habitable zone beyond Earths orbit. We’d better have the tech to move to Mar and terraform it before then. Unless we want to pull the Earths orbit out farther to keep inside the HZ. :)

  14. Dave Wendt says:

    The reality is that Gaia has never been the benevolent protective mother figure she is portrayed as in Greeny delusions. Gaia is much more accurately analogized as Darwin’s enforcer. Her role is to provide constant tests of suitability to all life and to ruthlessly weed out all that can’t make the grade. Devoting more and more of one’s very finite time to worrying about outcomes one has absolutely no chance of affecting is a devolutionary habit which can only buy you a ticket on the bullet train to Gaia’s genetic memory hole. It is good to be prepared, but the best preparation is to realize that there is a test coming, but it very likely won’t be on anything that you crammed recently.

  15. bubbagyro says:

    Anthony:
    The magnetic field of the sun influences the earth’s magnetic field. When a magnetic moment (the earth) is placed in a strong magnetic field (sun), it tends to align (lowest energy level). Within that field, it precesses at a certain frequency. The precession is proportional to the earth’s magnetic moment, and the sun’s magnetic field, at a precessional frequency called the Larmor frequency.

    The amount or quality of the precession depends also on the angle of the fields.

    Long story short, a weakening solar magnetic field is important, since the influence is less, allowing precession to increase, as the magnetic moment (the earth, or Mars, etc.) becomes more randomized in direction (less aligned). The top wobbles.

    Also, the resonance with the sun’s field, which is less, leads to weaker fields experienced on earth. Electrons and ions race around the earth directional with the field, faster and slower depending on the overall field strength, a composite of the earth’s inherent field and the outside imposed field. This also influences the dipole direction, if the magnetic field is generated by a spinning liquid. The liquid (earth’s core) will deform slightly to accommodate the field change, and the pole position will change also. Perhaps this explains the wandering poles.

    What does this mean quantitatively? Who knows, I sure don’t, I just know from my knowledge of NMR that something happens. When the field relaxes, atoms do their own thing. Same with the magnets that are the planets.

  16. It’s all true man! I saw “The Core”! Giant solar laser beams, Hitchcockian bird attacks… Oh, bleep! My watch has stopped! We’re all gonna…
    [/sarc]
    …take a deep breath, chill out, and hope some of these clowns will buy and read some science books.

    I do like Robert M’s magnetic offset credits, though. If I buy some, can I stop setting declination on my compasses? (Yeah, I still use compasses. Don’t even own a GPS unit.)

  17. Curiousgeorge says:

    That’s what I figured. Just more hype. I’ve known about the pole drift since I learned land navigation as a kid using a compass and a paper map back in the late 50′s. Thanks BS of A. :)

  18. John Coleman says:

    This item illustrates clearly by WUWT is the best science blog. Anthony, u da man.

  19. joe says:

    morano is leading with this story. someone should tell him.

  20. Al Gored says:

    Great article Anthony! Very informative. Interesting historical background. Great photo of end-of-the-worlders. And great video/song to end.

    I learned a lot. Quite remarkable how far and how quickly the magnetic north pole has moved.

    But why am I half expecting a new UN bureaucracy to emerge to save us from this imminent threat? [only sort of sarc]

  21. GaryP says:

    I think you were correct not be very concerned about MP reversal since (a) we have no basis for predicting a MP reversal and (b) we don’t know what its effects will be (although they could be bad). Another site I read discussed the HELIUM article and I posted the following earlier. My comments may be a simplification of climate science on a number of points and please feel free to correct me, as necessary.

    Climate is not only more complex than you imagine, it is more complex than you can imagine. (I stole that–mostly).
    There is, as far as I can tell, no way to know the effects of a pole reversal or to predict if one is about to occur because a pole reversal has never occurred/been observed in recorded history. Why, how, and what would result from such an event is unknown and unknowable. One would expect, however, that there would be large variations in magnetic field strength during the transition from one (reasonably) stable state (north magnetic pole in northern hemisphere) to another stable state (north MP in southern hemisphere). Since the earth’s magnetic field provides protection from cosmic rays (which seem to affect cloud formation and hence climate), etc., it is not a huge stretch to suggest that “bad things” may happen, including climate effects.
    The contention that magnetic field variations affect climate is refreshing. After enduring years of assertions, based on nothing but dreams of socialist glory and simplistic thinking, that the earth’s climate is primarily controlled by the concentration of a scarce gas (about 0.04% of the atmosphere) that weakly absorbs infrared radiation at a few wavelengths, it is good to see someone acknowledging how little we know about why the climate varies so much. In 10,000 years, the earth has gone from miles of ice year round over my home (in Ohio) to occasional 100 deg F days in summer and no one has any clear idea why.
    There is no agreement of why we enter, or leave, ice ages. We cannot predict, with more than flip of coin accuracy, weather a few days ahead over a small area. But because it suits the political (and financial) goals of politicians and politicized “scientists”, they pretend that they can predict, to several decimal places accuracy, the temperatures of the entire planet centuries from now.
    One example: The so-called “consensus” on climate stated explicitly that variations in solar output had negligible effects on climate (see IPCC report). This assertion is ridiculous on its face but was based on the conclusion that the sun’s output does not vary meaningfully. Even without contradictory evidence, perhaps because our solar output data only goes back a few decades or because the IPCC cherry picked one article on the subject and ignored contradictory evidence (in addition, sun spot frequency data going back hundreds of years show “something” varies in the sun dramatically, on short and long time frames, even if we have no idea of the exact pattern and less of causes or meaning), this smacks more of a primitive religious belief than a scientific position. We accept that solar output varies greatly over the life of a star. Why would we base our climate science on medium term solar constancy when this is contrary to both some observations and common sense?
    In short, climate “science” is currently at a position relative to understanding climate as alchemy was 400 years ago to understanding chemistry. We know very little, understand less and are unwilling to even acknowledge (for political reasons) how ignorant we are.

  22. Verity Jones says:

    Very interesting and pitched just right – this is why WUWT should be Best Science Blog.

  23. bubbagyro says:

    GaryP:

    No, the warm-earthers say that, “the sun’s irradiance varies only slightly”. Things they do not “see” (other than visible light) they don’t apprehend or comprehend. This is only a myopic view of solar output—but I believe their “blinkers” are intentional. Much higher energies, UV and X-rays, e.g., are at the short wavelengths that we do not see. Short wavelengths=high energy, which means more chemical and physical changes.

    UV, just one measure, in the higher energy bands varies as much as 10% cycle-on-cycle. That is what we can gather from past history, which means it is underestimated, IMO, since such an “inconvenient” thing does not fit neatly, if at all, into their little model boxes.

    Remember, as B.O. Plenty said, in the 1940s comic strip Dick Tracy, “He who controls magnetism, controls the universe.” Prophetic words.

  24. vukcevic says:

    I’ve done a bit of digging into the Earth’s magnetic field, and have some doubt into the validity of the latest models.
    Reversal may not be as disastrous as suggested. I think it is more likely that magnetic poles drift towards equator (there are already above 1/3 of their journey there at just above 60 degrees latitude.
    Standard model (Jackson et al) of rotating cylinders
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/JC.gif
    does not lend itself to an easy reversal, since rotation needs to be reversed.
    However, if the field is generated by separate cylindrical vortices as suggested here:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm
    The vortices can move around globe freely maintaining direction of rotation. In such a scenario there would not be a catastrophic change in the Sun-Earth connection and no major disruption of the Earth’s biosphere.

  25. Stephane says:

    I was watching a 2009 cheap B serie Movie called ” Polar Storm ”
    Was kind of good but the usual, ITS THE END OF THE WORLD !!!! movie with really cheap animation for a 2009 movie lol.
    I still recommand it for every one lol

  26. Laurie Bowen says:

    I am glad you did . . . .

    Magnetic Polar Shifts & End Timers

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Magnetic+Polar+Shifts+end+timers&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=

    Being from the “Bible Belt” I always, have to ask those that espouse these DOOM prophecies one question . . . .

    If you are right about YOUR predictions . . . . who in this world is going to know you were right?

  27. Ray says:

    Don’t get lost in the woods during pole reversal. I guess this would not affect the GPS system though.

  28. James F. Evans says:

    Whatever happens with the magnetic poles, man can’t stop it, he can observe it, possibly, man can cope with it.

    Something to watch.

  29. JJ says:

    Somebody needs to plot the relationship between global electric generating capacity and increasing magnetic pole instability. As the planet has become increasingly electrified, the speed of magnetic pole movement has increased.

    And now we have all of these electric cars, not only carrying around enormous magnets and using electricity, but moving all over the place at high speed. It cannot be a coincidence that now the magnetic pole is moving all over the place, too.

    Clearly, we are all about to die in some Super Storm caused by too many Prius driving hippies.

    I know that the evidence for this is uncertain, but that is the very reason why we must ACT NOW! We are in Post Normal Science territory here, folks. Facts are uncertain! Stakes are high! The Precautionary Principle demands that we do whatever is necessary! Deniers like Ed Begely jr should be tried for genocide, driving around in their Death Cars!

    Never waste a good crisis! Never!

  30. Bill Yarber says:

    I agree that the AGW crowd is over hyping this threat, but the threat, though low probability, could be devastating to our global electronic and networks and power grids. Yes, Solar Cycle is a weak one but it only that’s one strategically aimed CME (like the one in 1859) to potentially wipe out communication satellites and electrical grids around the world. It is a very serious threat to our civilization and economies acre d the world.

    That said, we can’t stop it from happening and we have no way of predicting when it will or might happen. However, given sufficient warning, we can shut down the satellites and maybe take steps to protect our power grids. Longterm, the solutions to build protection into our future satellites and power grids to minimize, if not totally eliminate, the potential for catastrophic failures.

    I won’t lose any sleep over this problem and seriously doubt that 12/21/2012 will see the end of civilization as we know it. We need to keep this problem in perspective: but also realize that it is real, has happened before and will happen again, and we are basically unprepared if for a direct CME strike!

  31. A south magnetic pole might emerge over Africa, for instance, or a north pole over Tahiti.

    Marvelous! Winnie-the-Pooh (the Milne original) would then finally have his East Pole and West Pole!

  32. re GarP cosmic rays and clouds.

    If I may quote from my book, “While the Earth Endures”

    It has been known since the early 20th century that the earth reverses its magnetic field—this occurs at irregular intervals of the order of 700-900 thousand years. Sometimes the earth attempts a magnetic reversal which fails. An example of one such event left evidence in the rocks at Laschamp in France about 40,000 years ago.

    During these reversals or near reversals the magnetic field intensity drops toward zero over a period of a few thousand years (there is some evidence to suggest we may be heading that way again soon). This would affect the shielding the earth has against cosmic and solar radiation and therefore if the cosmic ray/cloud hypothesis is correct one might expect coolings to occur during these periods. A team led by Jürg Beer of the Swiss Institute of Environmental Science and Technology investigated the event at Laschamp and found that there seemed to be no noticeable change in the temperature during that period. Here was genuine scientific research which cast very proper scientific doubt on Svensmark’s idea.

    When a scientist has a hypothesis that has scientific objections based on observations then he can do one of two things: abandon the hypothesis or modify the hypothesis.

    Naturally any scientist will look at the second option as well as the first one if he already seems to have a considerable amount of supporting data.
    As it happened, Svensmark had already got a suspicion as to a possible explanation for both the Laschamp Excursion (as these failed reversals are called) and the actual magnetic reversals not producing noticeable cooling. When he pursued this suspicion he discovered that it was correct.

    The earth’s magnetic shield is the second barrier against incoming solar and cosmic particles or rays. Of the two, cosmic rays have the wider spread of energy levels, the highest levels of which considerably exceed those from the sun—indeed, this was one of the ways of distinguishing cosmic from solar particles. However, the earth’s shield was known to be far less effective against these highest energy level particles. These are the ones which penetrate deepest into the earth. The results of the impact of the high energy cosmic rays on the atmosphere are very complex, but the net result is that particles called muons of very high energy penetrate to ground level. It is these particles which are primarily responsible for the formation of the low-level clouds that cause the cooling and it is the origin of these particles that the earth’s magnetic shield is the least effective screen—screening out less than 3% of them. Thus, when the earth’s shield fails, as in a magnetic reversal or a Laschamp episode, it would make hardly any difference to the intensity of muons causing cloud formation. The solar wind on the other hand continues to ‘blow away’ many of these high-energy particles.

  33. vukcevic says:

    vukcevic says:
    February 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Correction :
    However, if the field is generated by separate cylindrical vortices as suggested here:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm

    should be:
    However, if the field is generated by separate conical vortices as suggested here:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm

  34. Jeff L says:

    Great compilation of the pertinent data & observations.

    Hopefully this will make the whole issue a little less foreign to many & reduce alarmism related to the subject.

  35. TonyK says:

    ‘The Core’ meets ’2012′! What’s not to like?

  36. Mike McMillan says:

    There was the recent story about runways at Tampa International Airport having to be renumbered because the compass heading has changed. It also added to the worry and hype about the Earth’s magnetic field. Well, it is a story that is likely to be repeated in the years to come, as the pole drifts even more. At some point the FAA may just decide it isn’t worth trying to keep up with, and make runway numbers reflect GPS headings (based on true north) instead.

    We renumbered the runways at Houston a couple years ago, and the local airport up in Illinois renumbered back when I was a kid.

    You’ll notice that the pole is moving directly away from the US. That means the direction to it won’t be changing that much for the time being. GPS headings are a non-starter, because even the newest aircraft are seriously tied to magnetic headings in their nav systems.

    I found a slick animation of the movement of isogonic (equal variation) lines over time.

    http://wiki.gis.com/wiki/images/4/43/Earth_Magnetic_Field_Declination_from_1590_to_1990.gif

  37. kramer says:

    Thanks WUWT for this article, it was quite interesting!

  38. vukcevic says:
    February 7, 2011 at 11:57 am
    I’ve done a bit of digging into the Earth’s magnetic field, and have some doubt into the validity of the latest models.
    Doubt is always good if it is based on knowledge about the subject. From your various posts it is clear that your doubt is misplaced.

  39. Mac the Knife says:

    Now I know why my magnetic personality has seemed a little wobbly lately!

    Thanks for the interesting perspectives on the terrestrial dynamo, Anthony!

  40. pkatt says:

    I read that story too, but I had also read about magnetic reversals and got the feeling that it would happen over a long period of time and wasn’t going to be that big of deal so I discounted it. Its beginning to feel like people want some huge disaster to come along as there is a new one forecast every year or so now days. Kaku is only discrediting himself.. hopefully the news agencies will get that soon.

  41. Laurie Bowen says:

    Thank you, Mike McMillan, that is very neat . . . !!

  42. carbon-based life form says:

    Hey Anthony,
    Sounds like you have determined that the October 2005 change in character of the magnetic field is only coincidental to the October 2005 “step change” in solar activity?

  43. reason says:

    “I what I’ve read is correct, the natural increase in luminosity of the sun will, in 500 million years, push the inner boundary of the habitable zone beyond Earths orbit. We’d better have the tech to move to Mar and terraform it before then. Unless we want to pull the Earths orbit out farther to keep inside the HZ. :)”

    Could I put in a request, so long as we’re making the year longer by widening our orbit? Let’s slow rotation and make our days longer, too. I have no problem putting in solid 12-14 hours of work during the day, but factor in family / personal time, and you only get 4-6 hours to sleep. If we could make days 36 hours long, then you could get in a good long workday, have plenty of time before and afterwards to spend with your family / get stuff done around the house, and STILL get a nice 12 hours of sleep.

    Plus, making the days longer in addition to the year longer might help ease the transition into our new “Avoid The Sun’s Wrath” calendar.

    Maybe we could even iron out that whole “leap year” nuisance.

    /abject silliness

  44. vukcevic says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    February 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm
    ……………….
    Now Dr. Svalgaard
    You were not aware of two poles in the North Hemisphere, until I pointed it to you.
    You were not aware that the Hudson bay pole closely follows in reverse proportion the solar activity trend, until I pointed it to you.
    You declared Siberia magnetic pole nonexistent, when I pointed it to you.
    You were not aware that the Northern hemisphere temperature follows in reveres proportion the Hudson Bay area geomagnetic flux, until I pointed it to you .
    You were not aware that the Northern hemisphere is gaining in magnetic strength while the South is decaying, until I pointed it to you.
    And more….
    All of these were initially declared by you nonsense, then just a coincidence, and some by now you reluctantly accepted. All can be found and verified in the extensive exchanges on the WUWT pages.
    Now, out of sudden you are an expert and unquestionable authority on all of the above.

  45. bubbagyro says:

    One thing is for sure…
    None of these influences are accounted for in the cAGW models.

  46. Fremma says:

    Orienteering maps are oriented to Magnetic North. To me, losing the relationship between my compass and my orienteering map due to the wanderings of the Earth’s magnetic field would be very significant climate disruption.

    However, orienteering maps tend to be so detailed that we get at most five years use out of them before we need to remap anyway due to changing ground features. I’m not going to lose any sleep over even a greatly accelerated wandering Magnetic North Pole.

  47. vukcevic says:
    February 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm
    Now, out of sudden you are an expert and unquestionable authority on all of the above.
    Yes, on the things that are true, the rest is still nonsense.

  48. vukcevic says:

    Anthony
    This is correct map of the Earth’s total magnetic field:
    http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/data/mag_maps/pdf/F_map_mf_2005.pdf
    Notice that the strongest magnetic field is in the central Siberia (above 61000 nT, latitude 64 N) and west of the Hudson bay (59000 nT, latitude 62 N ). In the South it is 67000 nT, latitude 60 S.
    There is only minor drift in both the Hudson Bay’s and the Siberia’s poles. The major change is the exchange of intensity between two, Hudson Bay is declining while the Siberia is gaining the strength. Around 1997 there were of the same intensity.

  49. vukcevic says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    February 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm
    Yes, on the things that are true, the rest is still nonsense.

    Since all in the list above
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/07/on-the-magnetic-polar-shifts-cause-massive-global-super-storms-story/#comment-593508
    you declared in the past year or two, to be nonsense ( records are on WUWT and SC24), which do you now consider to be true, if any, and which to be nonsense, so we can ascertain progress of your learning.

  50. paulhan says:

    Thank you Anthony for a healthy dose of good old common sense. I saw this on climate depot last night (does anyone else feel just a little guilty after going to that site?), but the Salem News seemed to have pulled the story.

    Even if it does flip, my guess is it will be like Y2K, a bit of inconvenience and then we’ll just get on with our lives. Methinks Mr Kaku is liking the limelight too much.

  51. bubbagyro says:

    Want to hear the real irony? It is almost humorous, yet true:

    “If you’ve ever seen a compass, you will remember that it has the interesting property of always pointing to the north. This is because there is a magnet on the end of the compass needle. If you bring a bar magnet near to a compass, you will notice that the needle repels from the bar magnet’s north pole. This means that the compass needle is also a north pole. Like charges repel. So if the magnet is north, it should point AWAY from the north pole of the earth, since like charges repel. The answer to this little riddle is simple- the north pole of the earth is actually a magnetic south pole.

    -Courtesy: Oracle Education Foundation

  52. INGSOC says:

    Pretty much as I expected. Ergo my “The End is Neigh?” comment at the end of my post in the tips. (Which may have been the first?) It seemed too much like Dreamland® stuff for my liking, but how would I know! ;) Thanks for article. I can now send links to your article to all my friends that are freaking over the Helium piece!

    Cheers!

  53. For the concern that a magnetic pole shift might leave Earth temporarily defenceless against solar radiation I can possibly spare a moment’s worry or so — although given the fact that we can trace no extinctions from previous magnetic shifts goes far in allaying such worry.

    What I don’t understand, quite possibly because it’s way outside my speciality of writing and grammar, is how this would catastrophically affect our electronic gear. In previous doomsday accounts of the polar shift I have heard that our cars will stop, our computers break down, and virtually all our electronics will become worthless. And yet, I can do a 180 degree turn in my car without it suffering a massive breakdown, my laptop is constantly changing its orientation as I move it about, and even my desktop has been relocated on several occasions — all of which serve to reverse the poles in relation to my equipment.

    What am I missing?

  54. vukcevic says:
    February 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm
    There is only minor drift in both the Hudson Bay’s and the Siberia’s poles.
    The bumps in Hudson Bay and Siberia are not considered ‘magnetic poles’.

  55. Baa Humbug says:

    Anthony was forced to post this article because of some strange attraction to the magnetism phenomena.

    I’d be very interested in Piers Corbyns opinion of this magnetism thinggybob.

  56. Chris Smith says:

    Once they drag out Kaku, IMHO, you can tell it is all just a hyped up load of bull.

  57. Squidly says:

    WOW, I can’t believe I *used* to actually like Dr. Kaku, now he is just Dr. Cuckoo .. or Dr. Totally Nuts. .. I have lost respect for that man completely. I no longer believe any garbage coming from his clap trap. What a shame… he has completely lost his marbles.

  58. R.S.Brown says:

    Anthony, at the top you say,

    “And, as far as I know, no scientist has linked extinctions to reversals. ”

    You could actually expand on this in an editorially
    neutral voice and state:

    “No reliably replicable study has linked storm patterns to geomagnetic reversals.”

    And broaden the thought a bit to the factually accurate
    statement:

    “No reliably replicable study has linked climate changes to geomagnetic reversals.”

    There’s precious little information available as to what happens
    when the Earth’s magnetic field is slightly weakened while at
    the same time old Sol’s output is slightly diminished… except
    for studies implying additional cosmic rays make it deeper into
    our atmosphere.

    The Carrington event of September 1, 1857, came after 4
    consecutive years of low monthly sunspot counts. It was the
    harbinger of the counts jumping from the low 20’s per
    month to the low 40’s that September and then ramping up
    to counts per month in the low 80’s a year later.

    See:
    http://www.matpack.de/Info/Astronomy/Sunspots_Monthly.html

    However, at the time of the Carrington event, the Earth’s
    magnetic field had yet to diminish to point where it is today.

    Sadly, NASA’s recent call for research proposals exploring
    solar impact on Earth’s climate didn’t get a lot of grant requests
    that would touch on earth/sun magnetic interactions.

  59. Laurie Bowen says:

    bubbagyro said February 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm “The answer to this little riddle is simple- the north pole of the earth is actually a magnetic south pole.””

    Bubbagyro, Verry in. tur. resting!

    If you google . . Magnetic polar shifts cause . . . . About 2,220,000 results

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Magnetic+polar+shifts+cause&hl=en&tbas=0&prmd=ivns&ei=jHxQTdrnBIqhtwfEhPW1AQ&start=0&sa=N

  60. vukcevic says:

    Leif Svalgaard says: February 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm
    The bumps in Hudson Bay and Siberia are not considered ‘magnetic poles’.

    I assume that the list above
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/07/on-the-magnetic-polar-shifts-cause-massive-global-super-storms-story/#comment-593508
    is what you now consider to be factual.
    And what you consider to be bump in between Tasmania and Antarctica? http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/data/mag_maps/pdf/F_map_mf_2005.pdf
    And what is difference between that bump and one in Siberia?
    What you consider to be pole is your business.
    There are two poles in the Northern Hemisphere, but if someone wishes to identify a single pole, than it is in the Central Siberia , north of the lake Baikal.
    If in any doubt consult the NOAA’s most recent magnetic map (link above)
    If you think their map is wrong, why not tell them to get it right.

  61. Jim Barker says:

    Verity Jones says:
    February 7, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Very interesting and pitched just right – this is why WUWT should be Best Science Blog.

    Minor disagreement. This is why WUWT is the Best Science Blog. We really do not need consensus.

  62. bubbagyro says:

    Mr. Brown:

    Nice input—I had forgot about the C.E.

    I tend to look at science from a gradient perspective. That is, times of greatest turbulence in a system occur during times of greatest change between one state and another. Thermodynamic principles state this in terms that when two systems approach each other, the lowest energy level between the two will be sought as quickly as possible. Lowest state of enthalpy and greatest entropy results for such collisions.

    So, I would not be surprised that greater turbulence will result as the sun comes to terms with a lower state of overall surface energy, and that statistically, higher states of energy at interfaces will temporarily occur from eddies and the like.

    I would expect, then, higher flare occurrence during ramp-up or ramp-down of solar states. Same with earth storms. I would expect more storms and turbulence causing by gradients as a state of cooling is approached, than from a static state of warmer climate. Conversely, I would expect the approach of warmer conditions from a uniform cooler climate to result in storminess.

  63. LoneRider says:

    So here is a question for you, all things interact with all things. I believe I read somewhere here that we yet to know how much we don’t know about climate, or some such. Forgive me if this question is silly, but here goes.

    So, if the magnetic fields change, could those changes ripple into (relatively) small changes (on an earth scale) with geotectonics. In other words, could these push along, if even a little, caldera, volcano’s and such.

    To add that, you mentioned that liquid out core could change in shape, again would that cause measurable changes in the crust, possible at weaker points such as active regions.

    It seems to make sense that we won’t have to worried about a radiation event, but are their correlations to geotectonic events such as volcanoes or earthquake?

    thanks,
    Tom

  64. vukcevic says:

    R.S.Brown says:
    February 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm
    There’s precious little information available as to what happens
    when the Earth’s magnetic field is slightly weakened while at
    the same time old Sol’s output is slightly diminished… except
    for studies implying additional cosmic rays make it deeper into
    our atmosphere.

    My research shows that only the NH is affected
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC9.htm
    while the SH has not shown any correlation. This is reason for my doubt in accuracy of the standard model (Jackson et al) of rotating cylinders as seen here:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/JC.gif
    My ideas are somewhat different:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm

  65. MalcolmR says:

    I do love your blog, Anthony (and voted for it earlier today). This topic is a refreshing change though, and I enjoyed it very much. More of the same would be wonderful!

    Malcolm

  66. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    Thank you, Anthony. This type of article is a great example of why WUWT deserves a Bloggie for “Best Science Blog.” You packed a great deal of physics, astronomy, geology, history and more into one posting!

  67. Jeff Wiita says:

    Thanks Anthony for the excellent article.

  68. Bob in Castlemaine says:

    A very interesting article Anthony.
    It appears no claims are made regarding the ability of the Glatzmaier/Roberts supercomputer model when it comes to actually predicting changes in the earth’s magnetic field. This contrasts somewhat with another group of supercomputer modeling proponents who would have us believe that their models can accurately predict the behaviour of another complex chaotic system over periods of 100 years or more?

  69. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    Followup to my post, here’s where to vote for WUWT for a much-deserved Bloggie:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/06/wuwt-nominated-in-the-2011-bloggies-awards/

  70. AntiAcademia says:

    Extremely interesting and CLEAR article. THANKS for making things clear!

  71. Robert Blair says:

    Fools!

    Can you not see? The magnetic record timeline at the beginning of this post, when rotated 90 degrees is a pair of highly modified Code39 bar codes. Translated literally they say “PAUL” and “DEAD 9″, but there is a considerable area of inexplicable white-space – BUT explicable when you realise it refers to the Beatles White Album track nine, which when played backwards says “Paul is Dead” …

  72. John Silver says:

    Bah, who needs magnetic poles, I have GPS.

  73. vukcevic says:
    February 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm
    I assume that the list above is what you now consider to be factual
    Wrong again. I was holding out the scant possibility that of your list the entry ‘and more’ might contain an undisclosed grain of truth. The rest is still classic Vuk nonsense.

    What you consider to be pole is your business.
    No, there are standard scientific terms for this. The field is generated in the liquid core more than 3000 km deep and is very complicated with lots of little local bumps stemming from rather independent convection cells. As you move away from a complicated magnetic field, it gets simpler and simple as the higher order harmonics fall off very rapidly with distance. At far enough distance all you see is a dipole [no matter what the generated field was]. This is one definition of the Earth’s magnetic poles, and the one a cosmic ray would see as it approach the Earth. Closer in, the bumps become visible and the ‘magnetic poles’ less and less distinct. Campbell has a nice article on all this and how ‘The reported vertical dip locations are not important for the knowledgeable scientific activities of today’s world’: http://www.leif.org/EOS/2003EO50008.pdf

    If you think their map is wrong, why not tell them to get it right.
    I tell you to get it right.

  74. vukcevic says:
    February 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm
    What you consider to be pole is your business.
    This might also be useful to set you straight:
    http://www.huttoncommentaries.com/article.php?category=3&article=54

  75. Steve in SC says:

    I ain’t sayin nothing cept Maxwell was right.

  76. Pamela Gray says:

    KooKoo Kaku needs to go back to graduate school. And if I were being more snarky than that, I would have mentioned a less lofty endeavor, like maybe high school.

  77. Barry Day says:

    [snip - religion, link bombing - off topic ~mod]

  78. Piers Corbyn says:

    The original article is interesting stuff but as many say somewhat OTT; and I suggest the spin from bodies such as NASA, while not undervaluing their data, is more connected with spin for funding rather than connected with the spin of the Earth.

    It was stated: “The Earth’s northern magnetic pole was moving towards Russia at a rate of about five miles annually. That progression to the East had been happening for decades. Suddenly, in the past decade the rate sped up. Now the magnetic pole is shifting East at a rate of 40 miles annually, an increase of 800 percent. And it continues to accelerate.”

    One could equally observe that 5 miles a year is not much in terms of your diagram of the magnetosphere and neither is 8 times that. Anyway IF this is crucial we should have seen a wave of superstorms over the last ten years rather than last week. However as we all know – re CO2 warmists’ inane claims – the numbers of large storms or any sort of storms has NOT increased in the last decade compared with previous decades.

    While the Earth’s magnetic field and more importantly sun-earth linkages are very important for weather extremes the approach of this article confuses snow storms /Tropical Cyclones on time scales of days with slow changes over millennia. A snow storm isn’t an ice age – even if they are both coming!

    The article says: “One of the most stunning signs of the approaching Ice Age is what’s happened to the world’s precessional wobble”
    Are you sure? Did the Chandler wobble stop in the last ice-age? Could one equally state “One of the most stunning signs of the approaching Ice Age is what happened last week in Egypt”!! And by the way maybe Egypt did ‘stop’ in the last ice age?!

    As a matter of interest I with others from WeatherAction did point out at a meeting in the Institute Of Physics, London, in 2004 that during ice ages the warming and cooling spikes appear to coincide with the magnetic pole moving towards / away from the geographic pole, however this is on time scales of thousands of years not weeks.

    It seems to me that by far the biggest drivers of storms and cold blasts, rather than these small changes you talk about are matters of sun-earth magnetic connectivity and solar activity which change in sign / by factors of THOUSANDS (AND which in turn CHANGE the Earth’s magnetic field – so the article is confusing cause with common effect as indeed do 90% of the sacred cows of ‘climate science’).
    A quick look at data suggest that the most favorable periods for such extreme events (irrespective of Chandler’s or any wobble) is during the ODD-EVEN solar cycle minima or more especially the rising part of Even solar cycles – ie ‘NOW’ (meaning years around present), subject to lunar modulations which are also ‘NOW’ helping – see Queensland floods and the eclipse cycle article which includes a fab pic
    http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews11No1.pdf

    The advent of those two superstorms WAS predicted by WeatherAction and was driven by events on the sun and extra open-ness of the magnetosphere to solar plasma.

    These events do indeed herald more to come – in line with our prediction of June 2010 that there would be a whole lot of super-extremes in the coming year or so.

    Please see the other article – Solar Climate Change – here for WHAT THE SUN DID and upcoming DATES of more ETs (Extra Top red Weather Warnings) this month and consequent thundersnow-blizzards in the USA:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=7169 and also What the Sun did…
    http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews11No3.pdf

    Piers Corbyn, WeatherAction long range weather & Climate forecasters.

  79. ES says:

    The north magnetic pole moves on an annual (secular motion), and also on a daily variation of up to 80 km (diurnal motion)

    It is important to realize that the position of the North Magnetic Pole given for a particular year is an average position. The Magnetic Pole wanders daily around this average position and, on days when the magnetic field is disturbed, may be displaced by 80 km or more. Although the North Magnetic Pole’s motion on any given day is irregular, the average path forms a well-defined oval. The diagram shows the average path on disturbed days.

    The Sun constantly emits charged particles that, on encountering the Earth’s magnetic field, cause electric currents to flow in the ionosphere and magnetosphere. These electric currents disturb the magnetic field, resulting in a temporary shift in the North Magnetic Pole’s position. The size and direction of this shift varies with time, in step with the magnetic field fluctuations. Since such fluctuations occur constantly, the Magnetic Pole is seldom to be found at its “official” position, which is the position in the absence of magnetic field fluctuations.

    http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/geomag/nmp/daily_mvt_nmp_e.php

  80. Barry Day says:

    [snip - religion - off topic ~mod]

  81. Just The Facts says:

    ” So, the start of a new Ice Age is marked by a magnetic pole reversal, increased volcanic activity, larger and more frequent earthquakes, tsunamis, colder winters, superstorms and the halting of the Chandler wobble. Unfortunately, all of those conditions are being met.”

    Wrong in so many ways…

    ” the start of a new Ice Age is marked by a magnetic pole reversal”

    The last magnetic pole reversal occurred approximately 780,000 years ago;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_magnetic_reversal

    Since then there have been 5 major ice ages;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ice_Age_Temperature.png
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Five_Myr_Climate_Change.svg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_age

    none of which were “marked by a magnetic pole reversal”.

    ” increased volcanic activity”

    Not according to the Global Volcanism Program at the Smithsonian:
    http://www.volcano.si.edu/faq/index.cfm?faq=06
    http://news.discovery.com/earth/are-volcanic-eruptions-increasing.html

    ” larger and more frequent earthquakes”

    Not according to the US Geologic Survey;
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/increase_in_earthquakes.php
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/graphs.php

    or the British Geological Survey:
    http://www.bgs.ac.uk/research/highlights/earthquakeActivity.html

    ” larger and more frequent ” ” tsunamis”

    There does appear to be an increase in measured Tsunami activity , ” The long-term rate of global tsunami occurrence is approximately 7.4 events/year over this period of the catalog. This rate fluctuates, however, with a prominent rate increase in the mid-1990s for a period of about 3 years, when as many as 18 tsunamis occurred in a one-year period. Another rate increase began in 2005 and is continuing to the present day at approximately 11 events/year averaged over the 6-year time period.”
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2010AGUFM.S33B2091G

    However, this increase in tsunami activity measured could be associated with improvements in tracking and measurement capabilities since record keeping began in 1946, as well as natural fluctuations unrelated to geomagnetic activity.

    “colder winters”

    Since when? Certainly not as compared to the Little Ice Age:
    http://www.eh-resources.org/timeline/timeline_lia.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

    More recently looking the UHA temperature record;
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_Jan_2011.gif

    the only colder winters seem to be since 2008, in comparison to the slight warm period from 2001 – 2007. This slight cooling hardly seems to portend a coming Ice Age.

    ” superstorms”

    “Global Tropical Cyclone activity is at 33-year lows”:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/08/global-tropical-cyclone-activity-is-at-33-year-lows/

    What “superstorms”?

    “halting of the Chandler wobble.”

    The Chandler Wobble continues unabated:
    http://nasadaacs.eos.nasa.gov/articles/images/2010_gps_colordata.gif
    http://nasadaacs.eos.nasa.gov/articles/2010/2010_gps.html

    There does appear to be some interesting behavior by the Chandler Wobble in 2005; “It has been known for some time that the phase of the Chandler Wobble jumped by 180 degrees in the 1920s, but a new study by scientists at the Russian Academy of Sciences has found that the same thing also happened in 1850 and 2005.”
    http://www.physorg.com/news171094752.html
    however since this also apparently occurred in 1850 and the 1920′s, it is nothing new and obviously the previous occurances did not portend the beginning of an Ice Age.

    In summary, the conclusion of the author that, “the start of a new Ice Age is marked by a magnetic pole reversal, increased volcanic activity, larger and more frequent earthquakes, tsunamis, colder winters, superstorms and the halting of the Chandler wobble. Unfortunately, all of those conditions are being met.” appears almost completely erroneous.

    Also, in terms of the wandering poles, this page includes current maps and data:
    http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/GeomagneticPoles.shtml

  82. Gilbert says:

    Dave Springer says:
    February 7, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Be prepared… how exactly?

    I would recommend a good pocket knife.

  83. Gilbert says:
    February 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Dave Springer says:
    February 7, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Be prepared… how exactly?

    I would recommend a good pocket knife.

    Gibbs Rule #9.

  84. When I saw this as the lead article being linked to on Climate Depot and I read the article, my first though was that Marc Marano would have been much better off to have passed this sort of conspiracy theory “ooga booga” over.
    Whilst I know it is entirely feasible and indeed the Earth does periodically reverse it’s polarity, the article that I saw read like a loony was predicting the end of the world and Marano was giving it place of prominence. To me it cheapened what is otherwise a good blog and reference for numerous articles. You were right to resist this as long as you did Anthony and I believe you have approached it in a much more sensible way.

  85. grandpa boris says:

    The first YouTube video link is to a NASA video hacked up by the Planet X/Nibiru lunatic crew. The first minute or so is untouched, but the rest is the kind of fringe conspiracy theory fantasy that is way out of place for this blog!

  86. Rational Debate says:

    Hi folks,

    Would someone help me out here? I’m having a hard time figuring out how we can have a solid core surrounded by liquid metal considering the temperatures involved and so on. What is the theory explaining this please? (hoping for a concise/brief answer, not looking for hard core details, if you’ll forgive the pun!). Thanks in advance for replies!

  87. Rational Debate says:

    re post by: JJ says:
    February 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    JJ, thanks for the chuckle!! Good one!

  88. Perry says:

    Aaaaahaaaaa, me hearties!

    Box that compass,
    Swing that ship,
    If we don’t get it right,
    O’er world’s edge we’ll slip.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compass#Compass_balancing

    I’m with Long John Silver. GPS, but not Galileo, which is being built for the French military and is financed by the Boiling Frog funding method . People should make themselves aware of gradual change, lest they suffer eventual undesirable consequences.

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2011/01/built-on-lie.html

  89. AntiAcademia says:

    It is because of SUPERB posts like this one that I SYSTEMATICALLY read WUWT and that I do not read SYSTEMATICALLY other skeptical blogs. It seems some people on the skeptic side, in good faith, were wrong in giving credit to the magnetic pole reversal story. Well, WUWT did not fell into that error. Instead Mr Anthony Watts wrote an extremely clear, well documented and very interesting -that’s important too!- post on why we should question the magnetic reversal disaster story.

    I think this shows why WUWT should be voted BEST SCIENCE BLOG IN THE PLANET.

  90. vukcevic says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    February 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm
    ………..
    ‘Magnetic north pole’ is suppose to be in the Arctic Ocean. It is not. It is in Siberia, until mid 1990’s was in the Hudson Bay.
    Current magnetic bifurcation in the NH is temporary (soon to disappear) , with the HB vortex loosing its strength and a strong rise in the Siberian one.
    For anyone doubting above, consult ETH (Zurich), or NOAA, the latest 2010 map you can see here:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/TIF.gif
    All fluids are subjects to the same physical laws. Circulation in the Earth’s interior is due to rotation, thermal convection and tectonic plates movement, in the same way as the Earth’s rotation and thermal convection causes a hurricane vortex in the atmosphere.
    How do you explain reversals with the latest cylinder hypothesis?
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/JC.gif
    they are suppose to be catastrophic.
    According to my hypothesis that is not the case, just drifting of the vortices around the globe, no catastrophe!
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm
    Andy Jackson’s lecture to AGU shows that the ‘science is not settled’. He thinks LOD is due to magnetic break, exactly as I suggested.
    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm10/lectures/lecture_videos/GP43C.shtml
    And what about 6 year period oscillation in the Earth’s magnetic field?
    Have you an answer to that one?
    I do, it will be soon on my website.

  91. wayne Job says:

    Bubbagyro,
    Thank you for pointing out that the North pole is actually the South pole.
    We who live in Australia have always known that we live at the top of the world, and that our cyclones rotate in the correct direction. We also drive on the correct side of the road. Reversing the magnetic field of the world would show all those in the miss-named Northern Hemisphere which is the true way up. Thanks to WUWT for a very enlightening and entertaining blog.

  92. racookpe1978 says:

    wayne Job says:
    February 8, 2011 at 2:15 am

    Bubbagyro,
    Thank you for pointing out that the North pole is actually the South pole.
    We who live in Australia have always known that we live at the top of the world, and that our cyclones rotate in the correct direction.

    OK, OK. And next you’re gonna claim that your AC power is negative half of the time because you use a cosine wave instead of a sine wave to calculate Maxwell’s Law.

    Good thing that Newton pushes up the beer down there towards the bottom of the can or we’d all be in trouble. 8<)

  93. Check out the amazing correlation between the shift of earth’s magnetic poles and global temperatures. I had this published in Energy and Environment and you can download it from my website http://www.akk.me.uk/Climate_Change.htm. And if anyone wants it they can have my spreadsheet to check out the data. Interestingly the poles shift may not be the cause if another paper is correct that links the drifts of the magnetic poles to ocean currents.

  94. John Marshall says:

    Your, or USGS in reality, diagram showing how global magnetic reversals show in the rocks was the one of the solid pieces of evidence proving Plate Tectonics.

  95. Martin Hale says:

    Most of my teevee viewing is selected programmes recorded from Nat Geo, Discovery, Science, History. I have grown increasingly impatient and put off by the constant drumbeat of catastrophism on all of these channels. All the “Nostradamus says…”, “the Mayans say…”, “an earthquake or island collapse or supervolcano or comet strike or asteroid strike or global warming or tsunami or field reversal or CME or gamma ray burst is going to kill us all” chatter on these shows has completely turned me off to watching them. I can’t wait for December 22, 2012 to dawn to shut them up for a while! Maybe those dreadful “When We’re Gone” shows will finally be taken out of rotation.

    Here are scientists, researchers, the supposedly learned heads of our modern world stooping to participate in reportage which is as lurid and sensationalised as anything you’d find in The Enquirer or on TMZ. These are the people our societies in the West have learned to depend on for the guidance to solve problems and now a sizable portion of them are doing the “Chicken Little” dance for fame and fortune on teevee. It’s not a comforting situation at all.

    The fact is that most of the supporters of the current man-made climate change paradigm are cut from the same bolt of cloth – for short I call them all catastrophists. They’re all fixated on the worst possible outcome from any situation. Talk about any possible problem and they immediately move toward “The End Is Near” in responce.

    I’d like it if we could cut through the histrionics and sensationalism, but I guess that’s not ‘good teevee’ and doesn’t sell adverts at a fast enough clip.

  96. steveta_uk says:

    There was a lady sun scientist on UK TV a couple of days ago saying the same stuff as Kaku, that this solar cycle will be way stronger than expected.

    Where are they getting this from? Neither gave details.

    PS. Has anyone tried reading the “TIMELINE OF REVERSALS” with a bar-code reader? Perhaps the answer lies within ….

  97. vukcevic says:
    February 8, 2011 at 1:16 am
    Have you an answer to that one?
    I do, it will be soon on my website.

    Every complicated question has a simple answer which is wrong.

  98. carbon-based life form says:

    Rational Debate,
    We now have a Google for basic research, you don’t need to interrupt a thread for that.

  99. amicus curiae says:

    seeing as bees birds and fish DO navigate by natural magnetic influences I do think there may be some bearing on wildlife, we humans also are affected by polarity surely.
    the MRI units work on it, to look into us, so anyone out there considering that small increments may have an effect in truth.
    I do NOT go with the mass fear fluff the kacked it chaps pushing, but it is a real issue regardless.
    maybe check out
    http://www.iceagenow.com for a look also.

  100. John Campbell says:

    Another Carrington event concerns me far far more than the AGW hypothesis.

  101. J.Hansford says:

    SUPERSTORMS!!!!…… You guys do what you want. Me? I’m going outside right now to sacrifice a goat to Gaia……;-)

  102. Feet2theFire says:

    Anthony, great explanations, educating almost all of us. (And thx for the put-down of the upcoming 2012 non-event as well as “the magnetic field dropping to zero” b.s.)

    The bottom line seems to be that we have only so much evidence, not enough to understand it but some intelligent guesses. It does not appear there is enough evidence yet to come up with the correct understanding.

    @bubbagyro (11:20 am) – Very good additional perspective. I like your explanation of how the precession is tied in.

    I would suggest that a strong enough CME could completely re-program the entire geomagnetic field, and that this may be the mechanism for the reversals. If so, no matter what the terrestrial field is doing in between has nothing to do with reversals and is just the precession of the moment.

    (…thinking out loud…) Effects of such a mega-Carrington Event CME might:
    1. Be unaligned with the Sun’s field
    2. Be extremely injurious to life during its passage
    3. EMP the entire planet, taking out all our electrical devices
    4. Torque the Earth’s interior, with some possible effect on the rotational axis
    5. Accelerate or retard some of Earth’s interior processes, causing increased volcanic activity, some of it related to 3.
    6. Increase global warming (/sarc on this one only)
    7. Send us back to the stone age

    While there is nothing in uniformitarianism that allows for such a level of CME, one thing is universally true, in my understanding of things:

    Any historical extreme cannot be assumed to be the greatest possible extreme; whatever we’ve seen will be exceeded – the only question is by how much.

    Ergo, questions to ask are: How big can a CME be? What would be the effects of a 2X Carrington Event? 4X? 10X? 50X? 100X?

  103. Feet2theFire says:

    @Leif Svalgaard 4:44 am:

    Every complicated question has a simple answer which is wrong.

    Great truth, Leif!

    In my engineering experience, the simple answer is the one you start from, while being open to all the complications. Those complications WILL come, and they will add complexity to the answer. Unfortunately, simple answers make for good sound bites, which attract “sloppy thinkers” onto the bandwagon.

    Thus is a CAGW or a Precautionary Principle born or “Better to fight them there than here” or “Better dead than Red” or the demonization of selected “enemies.” In the case of CAGW, the demon is CO2, and “Better dead than Red” becomes “Industrial activity is killing the planet, so we have to destroy it to save our world.”

    The simplest of all answers people are fed is, “But what if those warning us are right?” It is impossible to rebut, whether it is warnings about terrorism or global warming. The only rebuttal is to live through the “brain-dead population” period and come out the other side. (Except that the “danger” will have by then been written into the history books as a real danger, one that was averted by timely warnings and effective action.”)

    I give credit to WUWT for so staunchly defending scientific realism in the face of the simple (wrong) answers. I’d give CA equal credit, but I really see Steve M as not having an agenda other than getting the stats right. (No slur intended on Steve…) Anthony is fighting the good fight.

    Of course, our own simple answer – “CAGW is sloppy science” – might in itself be wrong. If so, I sure can’t see it. It leads us to look into the complexity of the subject(s), so even though the overall answer “sloppy science” LOOKS simple, it includes many levels of complexity within it.

  104. Brian H says:

    Ray says:
    February 7, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Don’t get lost in the woods during pole reversal. I guess this would not affect the GPS system though.

    No problem. The moss still grows more on the (geological/solar) north sides of tree trunks, and rocks, regardless of magnetism, especially in areas with mixed sunlight and shade. (From my Boy Scout training, lo these many decades past. ) Reason: moss outcompetes other organisms in low-light areas.

  105. vukcevic says:

    Feet2theFire says:
    February 8, 2011 at 7:44 am
    I would suggest that a strong enough CME could completely re-program the entire geomagnetic field, and that this may be the mechanism for the reversals.

    Even strongest magnetic storms are 500-1000 times weaker than the Earth’s field.
    Magnetic field is generated by combination of the Earth’s rotation and thermal convection. I think that as hot stuff is moving upwards, Coriolis force creates vortex (not unlike a hurricane vortex), temperature gradient changes due to the cooling, and vortex moves about following highest gradient, as cooler stuff sinks down.
    You can clearly see this in Chris Finlays movie.
    http://www.epm.geophys.ethz.ch/~cfinlay/gufm1/BfS.gif
    Observe the Arctic area, it clearly shows that in the last 400 years there is no ‘moving north pole’ just up and down between the Hudson bay and Siberia. Currently Siberia is the strongest of two.

  106. Brian H says:

    JJ says:
    February 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Somebody needs to plot the relationship between global electric generating capacity and increasing magnetic pole instability. As the planet has become increasingly electrified, the speed of magnetic pole movement has increased.

    And now we have all of these electric cars, not only carrying around enormous magnets and using electricity, but moving all over the place at high speed. It cannot be a coincidence that now the magnetic pole is moving all over the place, too.

    Uh, yes it can. Quite easily. In the simplest case, if there’s equal chances of the poles moving fast or slow, our burst of electric car development has exactly 50:50 odds of having happened in a ‘fast’ period.
    :D
    /humor

  107. Laurie Bowen says:

    KR said February 7, 2011 at 8:53 pm
    ‘We have absolutely no record of such global warming anywhere in our temperature records.’

    KR, Just a question of clarification of your above statement. Does that mean that there has been no such global warming in our climate history? As for me, I am of the opinion that it is one of the problems with ice core analysis. . . . If there is warming, the ice would melt, leaving no evidence in that area of what becomes the core.

  108. Laurie Bowen says:

    Laurie Bowen says:
    February 8, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Just realized this above comment was posted on the wrong discussion . . . that’s why it makes no sense . . . I will put it where it belongs . . .

  109. son of mulder says:

    The problem can be solved if everyone in the southern hemisphere plugs in their kettles at Midday GMT on Feb 10th, make a cup of tea and stirs in an anti-clockwise direction and everyone in the northern hemisphere jumps in the air at the same time then the magnetic pole will return to normal behaviour and the planet will be saved.

    NB this is only a hypothesis but I can’t find anyone who has been able to disprove it. The paramagnetic flux generated by the kettles interacts with the gravity wave from the jump and that interacts with the gravity vortices created by stirred tea that then dissipate the bad magnetic energy. when we are here in 2013 then I want my Nobel Prize.

  110. twanger 6 says:

    I loved the dense information,and the excursions into maths beyond me(incidentally
    is there a field of maths that connects ‘strange attractors’ and the stochastics of this article?) ;so much more disappointing that you had to make such a disparaging and ridiculing comment on some one’s name -Mr.Kaku.
    I am debating about my bloggie vote as a result.

  111. vukcevic says:
    February 8, 2011 at 8:58 am
    there is no ‘moving north pole’ just up and down between the Hudson bay and Siberia. Currently Siberia is the strongest of two.
    Those do not qualify as magnetic poles.
    Read these two links
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2003EO50008.pdf
    http://www.huttoncommentaries.com/article.php?category=3&article=54
    and report back in your own words what you learned.

  112. Ralph says:

    All I can say is I am very glad someone invented satnav before the poles went crazy. Until very recently, aeroplanes and ships were fully dependent on magnetic navigation. Can you imagine the chaos, if we did not have Satnav!

    But there may be some chaos still, in the natural world. Many birds, for instance, will get lost as the poles go crazy.

    .

  113. drewski says:

    What in the world was an Al Gore quote doing in an article on magnetism? Gratuitous Gore bashing appears to be is the only leg climate denialis have left to stand on.

  114. racookpe1978 says:

    drewski says:
    February 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm (Edit)

    What in the world was an Al Gore quote doing in an article on magnetism? Gratuitous Gore bashing appears to be is the only leg climate denialis have left to stand on.

    Funny you should say that.

    See, Gore used the recent storms to claim that “hotter climates” (we are now – at the actual end of January COLDER than the previous 30 years’ of data!) increased the amouhnt of water in the atmosphere, thus increasing the amount of snow that would fall. Gore was the one injecting himself into recent claims of catastrophic problems – that CANNOT have happened as described, much have actually happened as theorized.

    Gore was then, and is now, the one who has no leg to stand upon.

    The thread posting describes and debunks the numerous failures of catastrophic problems predicted by the changing climate AND the changing magnetic fields. Thus, failed extreme climate predictions from a man who receives his millions directly from his exaggerated propaganda about climate dangers are a relevant reference under all circumstances.

    Now, do you apologize for your insults – and misspelling – of “denialists” as a pejorative by trying to link skeptics to the tragic loss of so many innocents in the 1930′s and 40′s?

  115. vukcevic says:

    Leif Svalgaard says: February 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm
    and report back in your own words what you learned.

    What I have learned is: to accept the ever changing reality.
    NASA 2000
    Jackson 2010
    Vukcevic 2011
    I am just going a step forward on the Jackson’s model, instead of the cylindrical vortex I am a suggesting a conical vortex. It makes more sense in a rotating sphere. Conical vortices are classical events in all fluids, but I have not come across cylindrical one before. (the depth of the events in the Earth’s interior can be left to the seismology experts).
    Jackson’s model has two problems:
    - SA anomaly .
    In the V’s- model has simple solution: the vector sum of two weaker fields from the North and stronger from the South add to the low intensity as currently observed.
    - Reversal .
    In the V’s- model has simple solution: magnetic vortices two or more just drift around the globe (as the paleo records show) eventually swapping places.
    No catastrophic events either in the Earth’s magnetosphere or more importantly in the Earth’s biosphere.
    To conclude: the geomagnetic catastrophism and fear spreading is unfounded !

  116. vukcevic says:
    February 9, 2011 at 1:26 am
    “and report back in your own words what you learned.”
    What I have learned is: to accept the ever changing reality

    I see that you haven’t learned anything. Perhaps it was hoping for too much…

  117. vukcevic says:

    Hey doc
    Some are behind the time
    Some keep with the time
    Some are ahead of time
    See you.

  118. vukcevic says:
    February 9, 2011 at 1:26 am
    What I have learned is: to accept the ever changing reality
    Then accept this reality. The center of the oval shown here:
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/gif/pmapN.gif
    Is where the Earth’s northern magnetic pole is.

  119. vukcevic says:
    February 9, 2011 at 7:48 am
    Some are ahead of time
    Some know something about this
    Some do not know anything about this

  120. vukcevic says:

    Leif Svalgaard says: February 9, 2011 at 8:08 am
    Then accept this reality. The center of the oval shown here:
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/gif/pmapN.gif
    Is where the Earth’s northern magnetic pole is.

    Nope.
    Field is shape of a doughnut, and what you see is that aurora is following horizontal H component, along the rim of the doughnut.
    Links to consult:
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/gif/pmapN.gif
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/gif/pmapS.gif
    The US/UK World Magnetic Model for 2010-2015
    http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/WMM/data/WMM2010/WMM2010_Report.pdf
    page 63 for the North and page 70 for the South Hemisphere.

    You are wasting my time. I am busy with this
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/PDO-ENSO.htm

  121. vukcevic says:

    Pole is where total field F is strongest:
    North: page 64
    South: page 71
    The US/UK World Magnetic Model for 2010-2015
    http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/WMM/data/WMM2010/WMM2010_Report.pdf

  122. Michele says:

    I have a comment in moderation for Mr.vukcevic !
    Can you unlock ?
    Thank you !

  123. vukcevic says:
    February 9, 2011 at 9:54 am
    Field is shape of a doughnut, and what you see is that aurora is following horizontal H component, along the rim of the doughnut.
    Shows how little you know about this. The aurora are guided by the magnetic dipole of the Earth. Take some time out of your busy schedule to read Campbell’s explanation of this.

    You are wasting my time. I am busy with this
    We are waiting with baited breath for the next revelation.

  124. vukcevic says:
    February 9, 2011 at 10:13 am
    Pole is where total field F is strongest:
    The US/UK World Magnetic Model for 2010-2015
    http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/WMM/data/WMM2010/WMM2010_Report.pdf

    From your link [page 18]:
    “Based on the WMM2010 coefficients for 2010.0 the geomagnetic north pole is at 72.21°W longitude and 80.02°N geocentric latitude (80.08°N geodetic latitude), and the geomagnetic south pole is at 107.79°E longitude and 80.02°S geocentric latitude (80.08°S geodetic latitude). The axis of the dipole is currently inclined at 9.98° to the Earth’s rotation axis. [...] Although one cannot make any observations in the region of the geomagnetic poles that might indicate their positions, these poles are arguably of greater significance than the dip poles. This is because the auroral ovals, which are approximately 5° latitude bands where the spectacular aurora are likely to be seen, are approximately centered on the geomagnetic poles.”

  125. Oliver Ramsay says:

    drewski says:
    February 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    What in the world was an Al Gore quote doing in an article on magnetism? Gratuitous Gore bashing appears to be is the only leg climate denialis have left to stand on.
    ——————————–
    I think it was to provide you with the opportunity to give us the splendid new moniker for the former vp; Gratuitous Gore.
    Thank you.

  126. vukcevic says:

    Michele says: February 9, 2011 at 10:34 am
    ……..
    Hi Michele
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I am not well informed on the volcano-climate link.
    Solar link has been looked into, but I think results were inconclusive, but a detailed analysis may come up with some correlation.
    I will translate and read your daltonsminima articles and if I have a comment I will post it at http://daltonsminima.altervista.org

  127. vukcevic says:

    Aurora either follows total field F or one of the components, vertical Z or horizontal H. As it happens it matches only horizontal H component. See links in my post:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/07/on-the-magnetic-polar-shifts-cause-massive-global-super-storms-story/#comment-594886
    Dipole is a simplification which gives a wrong impression of current situation, which is continuously evolving. If you had a dipole than total field F would be same at both poles. That is not the case. At the imaginary North Pole F = 57 micro Tesla, while at the true South Pole F = 66 micro Tesla.
    South Pole is 16% up on the North, that is not dipole.
    Reality is more complex, see:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm
    Here I end my posts on this thread. Thank you for your cooperation.

  128. Myrrh says:

    Rational Debate says:
    February 8, 2011 at 12.01 am

    Would someone help me out here? I’m having a hard time figuring out how we can have a solid core surrounded by liquid metal considering the temperatures involved and so on. What is the theory explaining this please? (hoping for a concise/brief answer, not looking for hard core details, if you’ll forgive the pun!).

    I was about to ask the same thing when I saw you post the question. I’ve never been able to find an explanation for the core being solid….

    Maybe it came from thinking of bar magnets when realising that the Earth had a magnetic field in ‘early’ scientific thinking, and it’s simply stuck?

    http://www.ehow.com/video_4766660_why-does-earth-have-magnetic.html

    Says the Earth’s core is liquid with high proportion of iron.

  129. PhilJourdan says:

    What is most astonishing is the long period where it apparently did not flip – in the Cretaceous period! I wonder why it did not then?

  130. DanDaly says:

    Terrence Aym for the Salem-News.com (http://www.salem-news.com/articles/february042011/global-superstorms-ta.php) writes the horror story your entry addresses. Might want to take a peek and, perhaps, ask Mr. Aym to post his story here for comment.

  131. vukcevic says:
    February 9, 2011 at 11:52 am
    Dipole is a simplification which gives a wrong impression of current situation, which is continuously evolving. If you had a dipole than total field F would be same at both poles. That is not the case.
    No, because the geomagnetic dipole is not centered. There is no such requirement. It would help you to adopt what your own link taught you:
    From your link [page 18]:
    “Based on the WMM2010 coefficients for 2010.0 the geomagnetic north pole is at 72.21°W longitude and 80.02°N geocentric latitude (80.08°N geodetic latitude), and the geomagnetic south pole is at 107.79°E longitude and 80.02°S geocentric latitude (80.08°S geodetic latitude). The axis of the dipole is currently inclined at 9.98° to the Earth’s rotation axis. [...] This is because the auroral ovals, which are approximately 5° latitude bands where the spectacular aurora are likely to be seen, are approximately centered on the geomagnetic poles.”

  132. Myrrh says:
    February 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm
    Would someone help me out here? I’m having a hard time figuring out how we can have a solid core surrounded by liquid metal considering the temperatures involved and so on. What is the theory explaining this please?
    The melting point also depends on the pressure, so at the higher pressure deeper down you need a still higher temperature for the material to melt.

  133. Stephan says:

    Leif Sorry but you have been wrong nearly about everything solar on this and other blogs because I have been following your statements for about 4 years now…: SSN max now maybe 40? (Hathaway and pals was 150?), not even the 70 you predicted. Temps now correlating with solar activity (and have been for time immemorial) etc…DA was right.. me thinks you pay too much attention to detail and miss the big picture. BTW not to begrudge you me guilty of same as scientist. Me predict little ice age coming due to solar what are your bets?

  134. Stephan says:
    February 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm
    Leif Sorry but you have been wrong nearly about everything solar on this and other blogs because I have been following your statements for about 4 years now…: SSN max now maybe 40? (Hathaway and pals was 150?), not even the 70 you predicted.
    We are still a couple of years away from solar maximum, but see http://www.leif.org/research/Predicting%20the%20Solar%20Cycle%20(SORCE%202010).pdf for the prediction.

    Temps now correlating with solar activity (and have been for time immemorial)
    Shows your bias.

    Me predict little ice age coming due to solar what are your bets?
    The previous LIA was not due to anything solar, so why should low solar activity now produce another LIA? Explain that to me [other than just assuming it].

  135. Carla says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    February 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm
    vukcevic says:
    February 9, 2011 at 11:52 am
    Dipole is a simplification which gives a wrong impression of current situation, which is continuously evolving. If you had a dipole than total field F would be same at both poles. That is not the case.
    No, because the geomagnetic dipole is not centered. There is no such requirement. It would help you to adopt what your own link taught you:
    From your link [page 18]:
    “Based on the WMM2010 coefficients for 2010.0 the geomagnetic north pole is at 72.21°W longitude and 80.02°N geocentric latitude (80.08°N geodetic latitude), and the geomagnetic south pole is at 107.79°E longitude and 80.02°S geocentric latitude (80.08°S geodetic latitude). The axis of the dipole is currently inclined at 9.98° to the Earth’s rotation axis. [...] This is because the auroral ovals, which are approximately 5° latitude bands where the spectacular aurora are likely to be seen, are approximately centered on the geomagnetic poles.”
    `
    Dr S., in your last statement you could add except when the aurora split and one goes eastward and one goes westward.
    Vuks latest CALS3K3 show four flux patches 2 in the northern hemisphere and two in the southern hemisphere. So you should add an additional conical vortex to your model.
    On the Persistence of Geomagnetic Flux Lobes in Global Holocene
    Field Models
    Monika Kortea, Richard Holmeb
    aHelmholtz Zentrum Potsdam, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam,
    Germany
    bSchool of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 3GP, UK
    Preprint submitted to Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors October 7, 2010
    ..96 The CALS3k.3 model is based on an updated archaeomagnetic and sediment dataset
    97 (Donadini et al., 2009) and spans the time 1000 BC to 1990 AD. Both spatial and temporal
    98 resolution are somewhat higher than for CALS7K.2. The time average (Fig. 1c) contains
    99 significantly less structure than the historical averages, but does show clear flux lobes in
    100 both the northern and southern hemispheres similar to those seen in the gufm1 averages..
    http://edoc.gfz-potsdam.de/gfz/get/15830/0/2efa24e54106833d8487cb3828da80ee/15830.pdf

    Vuks are you saying that the north magnetic pole is attracted to the intensifying Siberian flux patch?
    I’m wondering what vectors where changing in the interplanetary gravitation focusing cone position when the pole left the eastern hemi and went west. And now how are the vectors of the interplanetary gravitational focusing cone different and why the north magnetic pole is in a big hurry to get back to the eastern hemisphere.

  136. Carla says:
    February 9, 2011 at 7:07 pm
    Dr S., in your last statement you could add except when the aurora split and one goes eastward and one goes westward.
    Not at all. These very special aurorae live inside the normal auroral oval which is not split; in fact, the split aurorae move across the oval right over the geomagnetic pole. Vuk’s ideas are pure nonsense, rooted in profound ignorance. Of course, many people believe weird things, so you too are in good company. Just a bit sad that the soon to be best science blog is marred with this.

  137. ES says:

    There are more than one defination of the NMP.
    “In fact, in the early nineteenth century there were three different definitions attached to the term “magnetic pole”. Some interpreted it to mean the point at which magnetic meridians converged; others, including Hansteen took it to mean the area at which magnetic intensity was a maximum; and a third group, which included James Ross, defined it to mean the point of vertical dip. Were the earth’s magnetic field perfectly dipolar, all three definitions would correspond to the same point, but by the early 19th century the complexity of the magnetic field was well appreciated, including the fact that there were two areas of maximum intensity in the northern hemisphere. In modern terms, by the early 19th century it was well known that the magnetic field was too complex to be explained by a single dipole, and researchers such as Hansteen were formulating theories to account for the non-dipole part. This they chose to do by adding a second dipole. Using multiple dipoles to model the magnetic field is perfectly valid procedure, but analyses carried out in the 1960s showed that up to 35 radial dipoles are necessary to model the field with acceptable accuracy.

    In 1839 Frederick Gauss developed the method of spherical harmonic analysis for describing the magnetic field. Magnetic poles were not required, nor did they play any part in the analysis. The existence of two magnetic poles, one in each hemisphere, was a by-product of the analysis, but the definition of a magnetic pole was restricted to mean the region on the Earth’s surface in which the horizontal intensity is zero and inclination is ±90°. Gauss made it clear that the concept of a magnetic axis joining the two poles has no basis infact.
    Not everyone agreed with Gauss’s idea at the time, but today his method of spherical harmonic analysis is universal, as is his concept of the magnetic poles.”

    http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/geomag/nmp/early_nmp_e.php

    For navigation purposes, or for compasses, the one that is used is where and inclination is ±90°. Because of the dip there is an area around the pole where the compass is unreliability and you must use true headings and sometimes an astra compass.
    See Area of compass unreliability:
    http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/geomag/field/compass_e.php

    NRCAN have gone to the NMP several times and determined the location of the pole. As they had not updated their website recently I emailed them asked if there were planned trips and here is their reply:

    “Here is the most recent location:
    2007.3 is 83.95 N, 120.72 W Newitt, Jean-Jacques Orgeval, Arnaud Chulliat, (IPGP) Mariannick Orgeval, and Mary Angatookauk
    There are no planned future expeditions to survey the North magnetic pole’s position. To an extent this information can be obtained by satellites.”

  138. ES says:
    February 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm
    the definition of a magnetic pole was restricted to mean the region on the Earth’s surface in which the horizontal intensity is zero and inclination is ±90° [...] today his method of spherical harmonic analysis is universal, as is his concept of the magnetic poles.”
    As you can see on pages 63 [for H] and 65 [for I] of Vuk’s link: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/WMM/data/WMM2010/WMM2010_Report.pdf
    The asterisk marks the geomagnetic pole.

  139. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Michele said on February 9, 2011 at 10:36 am:

    I have a comment in moderation for Mr.vukcevic !
    Can you unlock ?
    Thank you !

    Hi there! New to commenting here?

    So you know, everything goes into moderation, waiting for the elite WUWT moderation team to review it. Sole exception being comments from the trusted few with administrator privileges, as they can post direct if they choose. At a minimum, it might take a few minutes for a comment to clear moderation. But if no moderators are available, which can happen for a few hours, it can take a while.

    Also, after you post, you might not see it show up on your end with the “moderation” note. That means the spam filter got it. If a comment of yours “disappears” that way, do not assume it was lost and repost, and I wouldn’t bother with a “Help moderators, you have to retrieve it!” comment. Just be extra patient, as first a moderator has to scrape it out of the spam bin during one of their regular sweeps, then review it.

    Hope you’ll enjoy being here, and that you’ll comment again. Cheers!

  140. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Rational Debate on February 8, 2011 at 12:01 am:

    Would someone help me out here? I’m having a hard time figuring out how we can have a solid core surrounded by liquid metal considering the temperatures involved and so on. What is the theory explaining this please? (hoping for a concise/brief answer, not looking for hard core details, if you’ll forgive the pun!). Thanks in advance for replies!

    Pressure. Take a certain amount of gas molecules, compress them enough, they’ll turn into a liquid without any heat being removed. Compress them more, they’ll turn into a solid.

    You can think of it as “How much volume is available?” A given amount of gaseous molecules will occupy a large volume. Reduce the volume available (increase the pressure), they’ll change to a liquid which takes up less space. Keep reducing, you’ll get the form that occupies the least amount of space, a solid.

    Here on the surface with normal atmospheric pressure, iron boils at 2862 °C (ref). Earth’s solid inner core is thought to be at 5505 °C (ref). The pressure is so high at the inner core, iron is solid at a temperature where it’d be vapor at the surface.

    Phase diagrams are used to keep track of what something will be (gas, liquid, or solid phase) under what conditions. There are also a few exceptions to what I said in the first paragraph. Water, for example, can change from solid to liquid as pressure increases.

  141. Myrrh says:

    Thanks Mod.

    PhilJourdan says:
    February 9, 2011 at 1:51pm

    What is most astonishing is the long period where it apparently did not flip – in the Cretaceous period! I wonder why it did not then?

    Looking for a time-line I found this page: http://www.scientificpsychic.com/timeline/timeline.html

    It says the magnetic field was 3 times stronger in the Cretaceous – begs the question, why? – which might have something to do with it.

  142. vukcevic says:

    Carla says:February 9, 2011 at 7:07 pm
    For courtesy reasons I will respond only to the Carla’s point.
    Fig. 3 in http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm is the intensity, so blue patch in the SH is where the total field intensity is the lowest. If you consider that magnetic field lines from the two NH vortices close directly with one in one in the SH, then you would expect sudden drop in the field outside direct line of the magnetic interaction as in here:
    http://www.gonefcon.com/trucktcom/m_bar2.jpg
    as found in the SA anomaly some 3-4000km above the concentrated magnetic circuit of direct interaction.

  143. Myrrh says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    February 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Re: How can we have a solid core of iron surrounded by liquid metal in the centre of the earth considering temperatures involved and so on.

    The melting point also depends on the pressure, so at the higher pressure deeper down you need a still higher temperature for the material to melt.

    In the link I posted there is no mention of a solid ball of iron in the centre, says it is liquid.

    Also makes the point that this is real liquid in contrast to the mantle which it says isn’t, which is a sticky solid, and inner mantle more of the samish. It is the liquid core which has the ability to slosh around and so change magnetic field.

    http://www.ehow.com/video_4766660_why-does-earth-have-magnetic.html

    How was the temperature in the centre of the Earth actually calculated? Could it have been that it was assumed that the centre contained a solid ball of iron and from that working back decided it was X&deg by taking pressure into account?

    I don’t have the maths for this.

    New Scientist 23 Apr 1987 has an article “Earth’s mantle holds in the heat” which says “The temperature at the centre of the Earth is almost twice as high as was previously thought, scientists in California reported last week. …Scientists from the University of California at Berkeley and from the California Institute of Technology say that the temperature at the Earth’s core is about 6900 degrees kelvin. Earlier estimates put the temperature at the core at between 3000 and 4000 K.”

    But, it appears to me that they are calculating the temperature by first assuming the centre is solid ball of iron.

    I’m sorry, it’s on a google book page with a horrendously long address and I can’t cut and paste at the moment. Google “pressure at the centre of the earth temperature melting point of iron” and it’s on the first page: New Scientist – 23 Apr 1987 – Google Books Result

  144. Michele says:

    @ kadaka
    thanks for the info

    @ Myrrh
    The link does not work

  145. Myrrh says:

    Michele – it worked when I tried it. What message do you get?

  146. Michele says:

    @ Myrrh
    The message :
    “The following page cannot be found on this server:
    http://www.scientificpsychic.com/timeline/timeline.html
    ???

  147. Myrrh says:

    This isn’t making it any clearer…

    http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/tierra_hueca/inner_earth/inner1.htm

    “The outer core is said to consist mainly of liquid iron, and the inner core of solid iron.”

    “P waves can travel through solids, liquids, and gases, while S waves can only travel through solids”

    - it then says:

    “The S-wave shadow zone is larger than the P-wave shadow zones; direct S waves are not recorded in the entire region more than 103° away from the epicentre. It therefore seems that S waves do not travel through the core at all, and this is interpreted to mean that it is a liquied, or at least acts like a liquid. The way P waves are refracted in the core is believed to indicate that there is a solid inner core. Although most of the earth’s iron is supposed to be concentrated in the core, it is interesting to note that in the outer zones of the earth, iron levels decrease with depth.”

    Wouldn’t elements spinning in a ball of liquid be pushed to the outer edges?

  148. Carla says:

    vukcevic says:
    February 8, 2011 at 1:16 am
    ..According to my hypothesis that is not the case, just drifting of the vortices around the globe, no catastrophe!
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm
    Andy Jackson’s lecture to AGU shows that the ‘science is not settled’. He thinks LOD is due to magnetic break, exactly as I suggested.
    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm10/lectures/lecture_videos/GP43C.shtml
    And what about 6 year period oscillation in the Earth’s magnetic field?
    Have you an answer to that one?
    I do, it will be soon on my website.
    ~
    Vuks I don’t think the conical vortexes are just drifting. Seems the solar disk is also missing a flux patch and has a weak southern hemisphereic location. I’m saying the phenomenom is planetary wide suggesting a higher source field. The gravitational focusing cone may also be a conical vortex, that strokes in and out as well as up and down along the heliospheric edge as evidenced by a our dent, warp. Dent and warp shape the sheath. I’m thinking the warp is showing the vector across the planetary and solar disks.

  149. Carla says:

    We have loads of satellites now studying interactions between earth’s magnetosphere and field with the solar magnetic field. We can now see how those interactions are occurring enhancing our understanding of the magnetic reconnection process. But we don’t see or I don’t, the loads of satellites at 6 to 16 solar radii, studying solar magnetic field and plasma interactions which is a part of the suns magnetic reconnection region., that boundary region. Where is the exact location of the the tip of the solar gravitational focusing cone today and how does it stroke up and down and in and out at 16 to 20 solar radii? We might be able to see the higher order spherical harmonics working on the solar surface now.
    Atmospheres of Venus and Mercury show us some of the gas break down as you get nearer the solar disk region. Howzit that venus gets to rotate in it’s gaseous layer of ionization clockwise? The interplanetary region is by layers.

  150. Ulric Lyons says:

    Yasi was caused by which magnetic pole drifting ? /sarc

  151. Myrrh says:

    Michele – Sorry, hadn’t checked that one, missed out etc, should be:

    http://www.scientificpsychic.com/etc/timeline/timeline.html

  152. Myrrh says:

    This isn’t making it any clearer…

    http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/tierra_hueca/inner_earth/inner1.htm

    “The outer core is said to consist mainly of liquid iron, and the inner core of solid iron.”

    “P waves can travel through solids, liquids, and gases, while S waves can only travel through solids”

    - it then says:

    “The S-wave shadow zone is larger than the P-wave shadow zones; direct S waves are not recorded in the entire region more than 103° away from the epicentre. It therefore seems that S waves do not travel through the core at all, and this is interpreted to mean that it is a liquid, or at least acts like a liquid. The way P waves are refracted in the core is believed to indicate that there is a solid inner core. Although most of the earth’s iron is supposed to be concentrated in the core, it is interesting to note that in the outer zones of the earth, iron levels decrease with depth.”

    With graphics.

    So, is it solid or liquid at the centre?

    Wouldn’t the heavier elements spinning in a ball of liquid be pushed to the outer edges?

    If there’s great pressure and heavier elements spin out, what could be left at the centre? A gas? Which the S-wave is avoiding because picking up as not a solid?

    In which case is there something else defracting P-waves, since those going through directly could be through solid, liquid or gas?

  153. ES says:

    Leif Svalgaard @ February 9, 2011 at 8:25 pm
    says:

    As you can see on pages 63 [for H] and 65 [for I] of Vuk’s link: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/WMM/data/WMM2010/WMM2010_Report.pdf
    The asterisk marks the geomagnetic pole.

    I was refering to the Dip pole location. That report gives the location as 84.97N 132.35W on page 18, which is close to cordinates given to me by nrcan, as measured in 2007. TheWMM report only estimates the position of the Dip pole because it is not measured every year.

    There is a made for tv that shows Larry Newitt and Jean-Jacques Orgeval going out to measure the dip pole at:
    When North Goes South
    http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/natureofthings/2010/northgoessouth/

  154. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Myrrh,

    Re: February 10, 2011 at 7:00 am
    “Scientific Psychic” doesn’t inspire much confidence. ;-)

    Re: February 10, 2011 at 4:50 am

    Wouldn’t elements spinning in a ball of liquid be pushed to the outer edges?

    When we look at stuff swirling up here on the surface, like in a centrifuge or bowl, centrifugal force separates what’s in the mix by mass, the more massive (heavier) bits move furthest away leaving the less massive (lighter) bits nearer the center. Note: Also review centripetal force. Here’s the quickie understanding of the difference. When spinning a weight on a piece of string, the string exerts centripetal force which keeps the weight from flying away. The weight feels centrifugal force, which makes it want to fly away straight out from the center of rotation. With stuff swirling in a bowl, the bowl is supplying the centripetal force that keeps the stuff from swirling out of the bowl (along with the force of gravity confining the stuff to the bowl, if applicable).

    Under the Earth’s crust, the force of gravity is relatively strong. More massive stuff, being heavier, tends to go to the center. Something moving towards the center would feel the force decrease as the mass “above” would increase while that “below” would decrease. There is also centrifugal force trying to move the more massive stuff outwards, against what gravity is trying to do. The centrifugal force also decreases, as the speed decreases as you approach the center of rotation.

    As things have turned out, there’s a solid inner core of basically iron and nickel (kept solid by the enormous pressure), the mostly iron liquid outer core with the heavier elements in it settling around the inner core, and the gooey mantle which has lighter elements, primarily oxygen, silicon and magnesium. Gravitational separation was dominant as the young Earth formed, and still is. As to what you quoted:

    Although most of the earth’s iron is supposed to be concentrated in the core, it is interesting to note that in the outer zones of the earth, iron levels decrease with depth.

    That would be expected in the mantle. There is bottom to top convective churning. The lowest part of the mantle melts, gravity pulls the heavier iron (and other heavier elements) towards the center, what’s left is churned upwards, where it mixes with mantle material having more iron. Thus the concentration of iron decreases going through the mantle towards the core as the iron is being separated out into the liquid outer core.

    Further reading:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/17/first-measurement-of-magnetic-field-in-earths-core/
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/08/moon-revealed-to-have-an-earth-like-core/
    Structure of the Earth discussed. There is also a Wikipedia entry which leads to more in-depth info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_of_the_Earth

  155. Myrrh says:

    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    February 10, 2011 at 11:43 am

    “Scientific Psychic” doesn’t inspire much confidence. ;-)

    Shrug. It’s where I found the reference, so I posted it, and, pretty much standard as time-lines go. Looking because I was interested in the question, it was the first thing I found unusual in descriptions of the cretaceous re magnetic reversal; narrowing it down to this gives studies on the subject.

    Re: Myrrh’s “Wouldn’t elements spinning in a ball of liquid be pushed to the outer edges?”

    Thank you for your explanations, and I’ll take a look at your links, but I am as yet not convinced.

    Meanwhile, at what point does Earth’s gravity take over from the centrifugal force spinning heavier elements away from the centre?

    And, do you have any thoughts on the extract from the article I posted, my question on the conundrum posed by the S & T waves (expanded in my later post, 7:25 am.)?

    - The S waves show no solid in the centre, the T waves show there is defraction and the assumption is that this is because the core is solid, which the S waves contradict.

  156. SteveSadlov says:

    I’m more worried about the 2021 thing. Ten years from now, if you can say you are alive and financially solvent, you will be considered a “one percenter.”

  157. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Myrrh on February 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm:

    Meanwhile, at what point does Earth’s gravity take over from the centrifugal force spinning heavier elements away from the centre?

    I’m currently engaged in cooling/warming research, about to hit a tipping point leading to a fast total ice loss. Thus as I’m busy defrosting the freezer, this reply will be short.

    A: Escape velocity. That’s what it amounts to. Review circular motion. Normally we simply say that the centripetal force is equal to the centrifugal force, since that weight on the string is sticking to the circle thus the forces acting on the weight sum up to zero. Force = mass times acceleration. On the surface, we say the force of gravity is mass times a standard gravity (g), 9.8 meters divided by seconds squared, force in units of Newtons. From the laws of circular motion, we get the magnitude of centripetal acceleration is velocity squared divided by radius. That’s the Earth’s radius. When the force of gravity is equal to the centripetal force, that’s where the change is. So m*g = m*(v^2)/R, the m cancels out, punch in the numbers and solve for v, the escape velocity.

    Unfortunately, we’re moving towards the center of the Earth. Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation gets invoked. To find the force of gravity, you have to figure out the force exerted from that portion of the Earth’s mass “below” and subtract the force from the mass “above.” Ugly math, computers…

    Let’s just say it doesn’t look like centrifugal force will matter as far as the interior of the Earth is concerned.

    And, do you have any thoughts on the extract from the article I posted…

    Yeah, it’s incomplete. Read this about seismic waves, and about S-waves as well. Then you can better digest this piece which explains how they figured out there must be a solid inner core.

  158. Myrrh says:

    kadaka – again thank you for your time and explanations. I’m still not convinced that’s the whole picture, or adequate explanation for the peculiar patterns of the P and S waves which appears to me to begin with an assumption of a solid ball of iron and that is not yet proved.

    http://news.science.mag.org/sciencenow/2010/08/earths-moving-melting-core.html

    http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070926051507AABRA8X

  159. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Myrrh on February 11, 2011 at 2:35 am:

    kadaka – again thank you for your time and explanations. I’m still not convinced that’s the whole picture, or adequate explanation for the peculiar patterns of the P and S waves which appears to me to begin with an assumption of a solid ball of iron and that is not yet proved.

    ????

    From the last link I provided, it can be noticed that first they thought the core was all liquid, then it was deduced there was a solid inner core.

    Your first link, as posted, has an extra dot in it. Correct version:
    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/08/earths-moving-melting-core.html
    Here’s a more descriptive piece about it:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2010/0804/Is-the-earth-s-core-moving-eastward

    It’s not that hard to follow. On one face of the inner core, which is very hot and barely kept solid by the pressure, there’s just a little bit less pressure so there’s some melting. The dense liquid moves around the inner core and solidifies on the other side, where there’s a little bit more pressure. Mark the center of the inner core at one point of time, at a later time the mark will be shifted towards the melting face. It’s an incredibly slow process, and the melting is only taking place on the surface, the inner core is still solid.

    In a way, it’s like your bones. They’re in a constant state of renewal, calcium is removed and deposited continually. Your entire skeleton is recycled about every seven years. Does that mean your bones aren’t solid?

    http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070926051507AABRA8X
    That’s the best answer they have? Which doesn’t even match the question? Which was bulk copied from elsewhere, without citing the source, right down to the captions of the missing graphics?
    Here’s the original, with the graphics:
    http://www.psc.edu/science/Cohen_Stix/cohen_stix.html

    This sounds more dramatic than it is, leading one to imagine crystals like salt or quartz, which is not the case. When metals solidify, the atoms arrange themselves into a matrix which achieves stability by “sharing” electrons without forming chemical bonds. This is what makes them great conductors of electricity, the electrons can move freely through the matrix, and makes them flexible as a solid, able to deform when stressed rather than shatter. Under immense pressure, with an incredibly slow process of solidification, the conditions are ideal for the solidifying atoms to carefully align with an existing matrix, rather than hurriedly clump into new matrices. Thus it it possible the entire round solid core could be a single matrix, with a single matrix being called a crystal.

  160. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Myrrh said on February 11, 2011 at 10:10 am:

    One last piece, http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/earth-inner-core-shifts-eastward-0409/

    Ah, that’s the originating piece for the one article I found! Didn’t see that before I posted. ☺

  161. Myrrh says:

    kadaka says:
    February 11, 2011 t 11:08 am

    ????

    From the last link http://tigger.uic.edu/~rdemar/geol107/dect16.htm I provided, it can be noticed that first they thought the core was all liquid, then it was deduced there was a solid inner core.

    No, it was deduced that there was something solid there. My question, I was echoing the earlier one, was about the assumption that this is a solid ball of iron surrounded by liquid iron, etc. as you described it above in great detail.

    My point is still, that I haven’t found an explanation for it. A description of it as you’ve given is circular reasoning, regardless that it was excellently articulated.

    Your first link, as posted, has an extra dot in it. Correct version: http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/08/earths-moving-melting-core.html
    Here’s a more descriptive piece about it:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2010/0804/Is-the-earth-s-core-moving-eastward

    Thank you, I don’t have a copy and paste function at the moment and although I do check usually, and I remember checking these.., bleary eyes win out sometimes.

    It’s not that hard to follow. etc.

    Yes, but. The reason I posted it is that it didn’t gel with your earlier explanation. Which you have now re-worked in the “etc.” and return to me changed with added condescending tone..

    I have no particular point of view about the earth’s interior, happily in company with those I’ve read who still treat the theory as a working hypothesis, with the inherent freedom that gives to speculate as new information bubbles up to us on the surface. I do have questions because I’m interested in it.

    The article I posted begins:

    Strange forces are at work 5000 kilometers below Earth’s surface. The inner core is acting in ways that scientists can’t explain. Theoretically, the core should be drawing iron from its molten surroundings and crystallizing it into solid metal. But that alone doesn’t account for a number of odd observations – unless, as a few scientists speculate, the core is also melting.

    It is not, therefore, a cut and dried ‘scientific fact’ that the inner core is solid and made and kept so by the intense pressure, which is the ‘classic’ theory as you described it above.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned from exploring AGW arguments, is not to take ‘assumptions’ as ‘scientific fact’.

    There was one question I thought of asking you earlier and I did spend some hours searching for it before I found this article. I wondered how it was established that the inner core was solid because under pressure.

    You gave a temperature at the inner core 5505°C (5778 K), (in your reply to Rational Debate February 9 11:23 pm) and in my reply to Leif (February 10, 4:18 pm) I’d found an 1987 article which gave the temp as 6900 K, which said previous estimates were between 3000 and 4000 K.

    Leif said in his reply to me: “The melting point also depends on the pressure, so at the higher pressure deeper down you need a still higher temperature for the material to melt.”

    You said in reply to Rational Debate: “The pressure is so high at the inner core, iron is solid at a temperature where it’d be vapor at the surface.”

    So the question I was framing in my mind was – at what temperature does it have to be to tip the balance and begin melting solid iron at the pressure in the centre of the Earth?

    I also wanted to know how they ‘established’ the temperature at the centre, obvious from the different measurements that there is some room for manoeveur here, and I thought the higher 6900 K was estimated by first assuming that the inner core was solid because under pressure, as the theory.

    So, is there another way of estimating the temperature at the centre?

    Re your comments on the yahoo link, and further.

    They gave the names of the Scientists involved and they said where it was published…

    This sounds more dramatic than it is, leading one to imagine crystals like salt or quartz, which is not the case. etc.

    Hmm, again missing the point. The drama is in the concept – that the Earth’s solid-iron inner core is “anisotropic” –it has a directional quality, a texture similar to the grain in wood, that allows sound waves to go faster when they travel in a certain direction., which has recently been confirmed, and in the question, What, exactly, is the nature of this inner-core texture?, adding, To this question, the seismic data responds with sphinx-like silence. “The problem,” says Ronalk Cohen of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, “then we’re stymied. We know there’s some kind of structure, the data tells us that, but we don’t know what it is. If we knew the sound velocities in iron at the pressure and temperature of the inner core, we could get somewhere.” To remedy this lack of information, Stixrude and Cohen turned to the CRAY C90 at Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. …….. Prevalent opinion before these calculations held that iron’s crystal structure in the inner core was bcc. To the contrary, the claculations showed, bcc iron is unstable at high pressure and not likely to exist in the inner core. ……. Unheard of until this work, the idea has prompted realization that the temperature-pressure extremes of the inner core offer ideal conditions for crystal growth. And then the other reason I posted it, A strongly oriented inner core could also explain anomalies of Earth’s magnetic field, etc.

    I thought it interesting in context of my question re what was the core really like?, if it had one.., and in this discussion in context of how this could affect the Earth’s magnetic field.

    I then looked for information on seismic waves through such crystal structures, without finding anything so far. But I did find a really interesting piece of applied science history re iron, which had all kind of tidbits, like “iron decreases in strength from long exposure to the intense heat necessary in making a gun of this size, without a possibility of restoring the fibre by hammering with the hammer at present in use in this country.” Part one explains crystallization, part 2 the causes.

    http://chestofbooks.com/crafts/metal/Metal-Worker-Assistant/Crystallization-Part-3.html

    Which brings me to the other question I had rattling around re descriptions of ‘solid iron core because of pressure’, what does it mean when this is described as “freezing”?

    Does it actually get cold? You said the heat isn’t lost when a solid is formed under pressure, so I don’t understand this.

    If, there is actually heat loss at some point I wonder if we end up with deformities such as described in section 2? Perhaps an empty space in the centre of the Earth as the “hollowness is found in the centre of almost every large forging, greater in proportion as the forging is larger.” Not easily overcome.

    Re my “and further”:

    Hmm, and again, “The idea counters traditional theory that the big ball at the center of the Earth stands still, growing uniformly in all directions as the planet cools. It could shed light on the nature of the core – such as its age, appararent seismic mismatches, and a mysterious coating of dense fluid on its surface.”

    So, no, it’s not at all hard to follow, but it isn’t the traditional theory.

    So what is the core made of? http://geology.about.com/od/core/a/about_the_core.htm with links to core people and ideas.

  162. Myrrh says:

    Didn’t have time to check the last link properly before, it’s not current, and irritatingly the past info on it is subject to some kind of reload loop so difficult to read.

    http://www.sedigroup.org is current, and dedicated to the Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior and its intent ” is to amalgamate all sources of data and all points of view to generate the most coherent and consistent picture of the workings of the Earth’s deep interior” and membership informal, and sufficient to send email expressing interest in joining.

  163. Myrrh says:

    That is, the link on the page to “Core” takes to defunct web site.

  164. twanger 6 says:

    Its taken about a week to get to something that still puzzles me:the nature of the earth’s core.
    One point that I haven’t noticed in this thread:gravitational attraction at the ‘centre of earth’s mass’ would be the same in all directions.An oven proof being at this centre would experience weightlessness.A homogeneous substance would be acted on by (weak?) centrifugal force.Like the eye of a hurricane ,I cant help imagining at the earth’s core some kind of rarefaction.The S and P wave stuff only indicates a boundary change,it’s clear from the various opinions that no one really knows what happens down there.

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