Ironing out the mystery of Earth's magnetic field

Scientists directly measure thermal conductivity of iron at planetary core conditions for the first time

A cross-section of the earth with the field lines of the geomagnetic field (as simulated with the Glatzmaier-Roberts geodynamo model
A cross-section of the earth with the field lines of the geomagnetic field (as simulated with the Glatzmaier-Roberts geodynamo model

The earth’s magnetic field has been existing for at least 3.4 billion years thanks to the low heat conduction capability of iron in the planet’s core. This is the result of the first direct measurement of the thermal conductivity of iron at pressures and temperatures corresponding to planetary core conditions. DESY scientist Zuzana Konôpková and her colleagues present their study in the scientific journal Nature. The results could resolve a recent debate about the so-called geodynamo paradox.

The geodynamo generating the earth’s magnetic field is fed on convection in the iron-rich outer core of our planet that stirs the molten, electrically conducting material like boiling water in a pot. Combined with the rotation of the earth, a dynamo effect sets in, giving rise to the geomagnetic field. “The magnetic field shields us from harmful high-energy particles from space, the so-called cosmic radiation, and its existence is one of the things that make our planet habitable,” explains Konôpková.

The strength of the convection in the outer core depends on the heat transferred from the core to the earth’s mantle and on the thermal conductivity of iron in the outer core. If a lot of heat is transferred via conduction, there is not much energy left to drive convection – and with it the earths’s dynamo. Low thermal conductivity implies stronger convection, making the geodynamo more likely to operate. “We measured the thermal conductivity of iron because we wanted to know what the energy budget of the core is to drive the dynamo,” says Konôpková. “Generation and maintenance of our planet’s magnetic field strongly depend on the thermal dynamics of the core.”

Measurements of thermal conductivity at relevant conditions proved to be difficult in the past. Recent theoretical calculations postulated a quite high thermal conductivity of up to 150 Watts per meter per Kelvin (150 W/m/K) of iron in the earth’s core. Such a high thermal conductivity would reduce the chances of the geodynamo starting up.

According to numerical models, a high thermal conductivity would have allowed the geodynamo effect to be supported only rather recently in the earth’s history, about one billion years ago or so. However, the existence of the geomagnetic field can be traced back at least 3.4 billion years. This geodynamo paradox has puzzled scientists. “There’s been a fierce debate among geophysicists because with such a large thermal conductivity, it becomes hard to explain the history of the geomagnetic field which is recorded in ancient rocks”, says Konôpková.

The physicists used a specially designed pressure cell that allows to compress samples between two diamond anvils and to heat them simultaneously with infrared lasers, shining right through the diamonds. Konôpková teamed up with Stewart McWilliams and Natalia Gómez-Pérez from the University of Edinburgh and Alexander Goncharov from the Carnegie Institution in Washington DC to measure the thermal conductivity of iron at high pressure and high temperature conditions in Goncharov’s lab.

“We compressed a thin foil of iron in the diamond anvil cell to up to 130 Giga-Pascals, which is more than a million times the atmospheric pressure and corresponds to approximately the pressure at the earth’s core-mantle boundary,” explains Konôpková. “Simultaneously we heated up the foil to up to 2700 degrees Celsius with two continuous infrared laser beams, shining through the diamonds. Finally, we used a third laser to send a low power pulse to one side of the foil to create a thermal perturbation and measured the temperature evolution from both sides of the foil with an optical streak camera.” This way the scientists could watch the heat pulse travelling through the iron.

These measurements were conducted at several pressures and temperatures to cover different conditions of planetary interiors and to obtain a systematic investigation of the thermal conductivity as a function of pressure and temperature. “Our results strongly contradict the theoretical calculations,” reports Konôpková. “We found very low values of thermal conductivity, about 18 to 44 Watts per meter per Kelvin, which can resolve the paradox and make the geodynamo operable since the early ages of the earth.”


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June 2, 2016 7:14 am

Now that right thar is real science.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  MarkW
June 2, 2016 7:56 am

“This is the result of the first direct measurement of the thermal conductivity of iron at pressures and temperatures corresponding to planetary core conditions.”
The whole thing sounds like they measured the earth’s core, nope, they recreated what they think happens the earth’s core.
At least there was some actual experiment and empirical results, unlike most of astronomy

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
June 2, 2016 8:15 am

What are you talking about? Most of astronomy is experimental and is as crucial as it is successful in testing predictions of Relativity, without which we would have little confirmation of it. Theoretical physics would be pretty pointless without astronomers testing and confirming it. Jesus…

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
June 2, 2016 8:49 am

Well, it’s a start.
Now we/they need independent replications.

Paul Blase
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
June 2, 2016 8:56 am

The Earth’s core is a little hard to examine directly.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
June 2, 2016 9:16 am

If you believe that there are factors they left out in the test, please list them.
They never said that the science is settled with this experiment so there is no need for further experiments.
They listed their assumptions, they detailed how the performed the experiment, they documented their results.
That’s science.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
June 2, 2016 10:04 am

Matt- Black hole theory is a mess and doesn’t explain observations. Proton collapse logically happens significantly prior to electron collapse. To defend the singularity model, neutron star and black hole positron-electron jets and the Eddington limit being exceeded are explained by external factors to the star! Proton collapse in the core explains jets and stability in a 2.0 SR neutron star and a 1.2SR black hole.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
June 2, 2016 12:01 pm

‘The whole thing sounds like they measured the earth’s core, nope, they recreated what they think happens the earth’s core.’
Which is what they said they did.
“at pressures and temperatures corresponding to planetary core conditions.”
You are trying to invent an issue.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
June 2, 2016 12:28 pm

The English of that quoted sentence is perfect.
If they had measured the core itself, why would they say, “corresponding to planetary core conditions”? This phrase clearly implies that the site used for these conditions was not in the core.
If measuring the core, they would have said, “iron at the mantle-core boundary.”

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
June 3, 2016 8:24 am

The experiment is a model, full stop. The fact that it is a physical model instead of a theoretical or mathematical model is important. They are testing the conductivity under ‘realistic conditions’ as far as those conditions are understood by minds trained in physics. That is reasonable.
What must be a shock for the proponents of the mathematical model is that their calculated heat conductivity is so far from reality. This is most interesting and doesn’t happen very often.
I cannot include climate science in the group where ‘shocking real results contradict theoretical results’ because it is impossible that the climate modellers believe the outputs of their programming. Impossible. They are far too smart to be fooled, but also know which side of the bread is buttered.
This is the worst aspect of the anti-science of CAGW. Here are a large group of self-serving ‘scientists’ creating models that are also contradicted by any realistic set of measurements: the missing hot spot, the flat temperatures, the undetectability of an anthropogenic signal in the natural noise, the missing clouds, thunderstorms, the albedo thing, the dominance of water (condensable and transportable) vapour…the list is pretty long. Yet we see a group of these (mostly) guys repeat ad nauseam that their models trump reality and should be preferred over measurements.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
June 3, 2016 5:36 pm

“They are far too smart to be fooled, but also know which side of the bread is buttered”
The old generation or everybody?
Are the very young “scientists” (= professional scientists, as in professional of s.e.x) aware? Even the “trigger warnings”/”safe spaces”/”microagressions” crowd who “studied” in universities where “social progress” beats academic freedom every time?

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
June 6, 2016 1:04 am

“What must be a shock for the proponents of the mathematical model”
I don’t think they are much shocked. Predicting physical properties even of a homogenous material under extreme conditions from first principles is at the very edge of what is computationally possible. We know in theory how to do it right, but in practice you have to put in a lot of simplifications and assumptions.

Reply to  MarkW
June 2, 2016 12:08 pm

Wait….this wasn’t already “settled” science???? (grin)
“Generation and maintenance of our planet’s magnetic field strongly depend on the thermal dynamics of the core.”
And with that statement, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, was a toehold granted from which at some point in the future, humans/human emissions/human population/human weight to height ratios/human gravity per capita etc or some variation thereof, could, should, and would be blamed if the thermal dynamics of Earth’s core changes.

Reply to  MarkW
June 12, 2016 5:48 pm

Sounds like so much BS to me. Ask any blacksmith and you’ll find out that the sure way to demagnetize iron is to heat up to red. Red hot or molten iron cannot be magnetic. It surely can conduct heat but absolutely not be magnetic. This can be demonstrated by anybody by simply magnetizing a small diameter iron rod and then heating it up and observe what happens to the magnetism.

June 2, 2016 7:27 am

Well, that’s THEIR theory.. mine is the deeper you go, the less pressure until you hit the absolute core, where you are essentially weightless. It’s the difference in weight that drives the iron circulation. The “heavier” iron away from the core is constantly sinking and when it reaches the center, it pops back up.
I currently have a grant application into the NSF so don’t anyone else try to do an end run and beat me to the Nobel Prize.

Reply to  rbabcock
June 2, 2016 11:01 am

… mine is the deeper you go, the less pressure until you hit the absolute core, where you are essentially weightless.

Weight (ie. gravitational attraction) and pressure are not the same thing. An atom right at the center of the Earth would be pulled equally in all directions and would be weightless. However it would be squeezed by all the matter on all sides of it trying to get to the center of the planet.
If you want an analog of the process, place two really powerful magnets a couple of inches apart with opposite poles facing each other. Place your thumb between them and let the magnets go. Your thumb won’t be attracted to either magnet and will not move. I guarantee that you will understand the difference between attraction and pressure. 🙂

Reply to  rbabcock
June 2, 2016 11:29 am

Show us your equations .

Reply to  Bob Armstrong
June 2, 2016 12:16 pm

RBabcock doesn’t need any equations silly. Don’t you know how “science” works now days?
All he has to do is say the word “consensus” over and over and over again until the President tweets something like “97% of geologists agree that rbabcock’s theory is correct…and that humans are to blame somehow”. I mean, I’ll bet if WUWT readers read 12,000 abstracts of peer reviewed papers in which the terms “magnetic field” or “core dynamics” appear somewhere, NONE of them would actually mention rbabcock’s theory at all, which would PROVE that his theory has been accepted as reality by the geological scientific world! 100% too!!!
You know, just like how scientists no longer mention the laws of gravity, or relativity, or even CAGW when they write papers anymore….because they are just accepted as given facts by everyone. (huge snark here folks).

Reply to  rbabcock
June 2, 2016 12:46 pm

Well it is true that there is no net gravity at the center of the Earth, as the gravity field is actine away from the center equally in all directions. So any particle at the center of the Earth is floating in zero net gravity.

Mark L Gilbert
Reply to  ralfellis
June 3, 2016 5:49 am

Just a physics fan really… but the “weightless center” would be in constant movement, as gravity from the Moon, Sun and even the other planets would perturb the position, and the planets rotates as well. I am fairly certain this would be a significant “forcing” (haha couldn’t resist) and what keeps the pot boiling indefinitely. However, I could be wrong and it could be an effect at noise level. I would wager not though.

Reply to  ralfellis
June 4, 2016 4:46 am

The effect of the gravity of the Sun is probably too small to matter as the Sun is too far away. The Moon might have some effect.

Reply to  ralfellis
June 6, 2016 1:08 am

“I am fairly certain this would be a significant “forcing””‘
Yes. It is technically known as “tides”

Reply to  rbabcock
June 2, 2016 1:47 pm

I assume you’re joshing, but in case you’re not– don’t confuse “weight” (the sum of all gravitational forces acting on “you”), with “pressure” (the sum of all gravitational forces acting on all material surrounding “you”), which, in a liquid, would be quite uniform. At the earth’s center “you” could be weightless, but subject to great pressure.

William C Rostron
Reply to  rbabcock
June 2, 2016 2:09 pm

RBabcock, you are confusing pressure with weight. Sure things are weightless at earth’s center of mass, but there is tremendous pressure. Imagine the jaws of a vise clamping two pieces of wood together. The weight of the wood (or the vise) has no relation to the pressure exerted, only the tension of the screw.
If the earth were a shell, and all of the material of the earth were located in a thin shell layer, then any object inside the radius of that thin shell would be weightless. Such a structure could exist if there were sufficient stiffness to support it against the mutual gravitational attraction of all regions of the shell. But the earth’s crust is fluid and does not possess the requisite stiffness, so the shell model is untenable. Instead, the earth consists of layers of material, with the heaviest material in the center.
At the exact center of mass of the earth (a geometric point, to be sure) earth’s mass is evenly distributed all around. By law of gravitation then, that point is a point of weightlessness. But at any other point within earth’s sphere, a gravitational field must exist pointing toward the greatest mass. For this reason, heaviest objects will fall towards the greatest mass; i.e., fall towards the center. This is why the heaviest elements of earth gravitate to the center.
The pressure at the gravitational center is immense, because it comes from all of the mass in every radial direction being attracted to the mass in the opposite direction, just like the jaws of a vice. Antarctica is attracted to the Arctic, London is attracted to the point on the exact opposite face of the globe, etc.

Reply to  William C Rostron
June 2, 2016 4:11 pm

Let’s consider Einstein’s way of looking at this problem. There is no gravitational attraction but the space is curved by presence of a mass.
What happens to the space that mass occupies?
If the massive body is represented by a theoretical point at its centre, than it could be reasonable to assume that the curvature of space continues within the mass itself, its maximum ‘depth’ being at the mass’ centre.
So far so good, but each tiny element of the mass, according to ‘young Albert’, would want to get to the ‘bottom’ of this curved space, but of course it can’t since it is already occupied.
Story doesn’t end there, since each element of the mass insists on its right to get there, and ‘presses’ with a small force onto those blocking its way. All these forces add up, so closer an element of mass to the centre of the said body, higher the ‘pressure’ on it from those tiny but intolerant elements of mass, that happen to be behind.
That is fine for a homogeneous body, but how iron did force its way all the way, I suppose its molecules are most massive and therefore most forceful ‘bullies’, impudently making their way furthest. Just musing of an idle mind.

Reply to  rbabcock
June 2, 2016 2:15 pm

rbabcock – An interesting hypothesis, one which puts you firmly on track for a Nobel Prize. So for example a stationary uniform liquid at constant temperature in a stationary tall vertical container would start to circulate. So it would gain kinetic energy while losing no potential energy. Hmmm. Anyone who can disprove a physical law like that is guaranteed an invitation to visit Norway. Go for it! Will you need someone to look after the pets while you’re away?

Reply to  rbabcock
June 2, 2016 2:50 pm

According my models, I can correlate the pressure drop to absolute weightlessness based on a 3.7kg/m2 mass imbalance. Interestingly enough, we also see that with an anthropogenic influence on the concentration of FeO2, increasing since the start of the industrial revolution, a positive feedback loop was induced, which if left unchecked will cause the core to continue to lose coherency until it reaches a tipping point, and explodes.
I’m arguing that we need to act now, before FeO2 reaches 400giga-ppm. We can clearly see from the general core models, or GCMs, that an equilibrium core sensitivity, ECS, of -4.5giga-pascals per doubling of FeO2 will cause unprecedented core-level rise. We simply cannot afford to proceed on a path of business as usual. We must act now!
I’m starting a petition to get this information out there. Big Iron has been withholding this information so they could make more money.

Reply to  rbabcock
June 2, 2016 3:39 pm

There is a device based on your theory.
Introducing the Turbo Encabulator!

Tom Halla
June 2, 2016 7:32 am

it is nice to use real measurements of imputs to physical models. Now if only the IPCC could somehow resolve their estimates of the effect of CO2 doubling from the current 1.5 to 4.5 C. It would seem that they could get closer than a 300% error estimate.

June 2, 2016 7:34 am

I am fascinated by the rapid movement of earth’s magnetic north pole. Naturally this too has been blamed on global warming.

Reply to  Bernie
June 2, 2016 8:21 am

It is similar to the Guam effect. You know when the island flips over because too many people stand on one side.

Reply to  ShrNfr
June 2, 2016 8:30 am

..I thought that was only from too many military personnel ? LOL..Still can’t believe he was elected !

Reply to  ShrNfr
June 2, 2016 12:55 pm

Gees, I though we had some dumb politicians in the UK, but that takes the biscuit. How the admiral kept a straight face, I don’t know. They must teach facial muscle control at the academy.
This is the trouble with democratic politics. For any managerial or professional position, you must have a qualification and display aptitude. But for politics, any d u m b a s s living on the streets can be elected. Just like this d u m b a s s.

Reply to  ShrNfr
June 2, 2016 5:53 pm

Is he on drugs or something?

Reply to  Bernie
June 2, 2016 8:26 am

…If I remember correctly, the magnetic poles were suppose to flip a few decades ago !! The sun does it also but I can’t remember why ….sigh, it sucks getting old….

Reply to  Marcus
June 2, 2016 9:40 am

I’ve seen various projections for the earth’s magnetic pole to flip. They are all in the 20 to 100 year range. From now.
I’ve never seen anyone project that the magnetic pole’s should have flipped by now.
The first time I’d ever seen any discussion of an impending flip was a decade or two ago. Perhaps that is what you are thinking of.
At one time, most people thought the magnetic field would gradually fade away to nothing, then gradually start to re-emerge with the new polarity.
With the emergence of things like the S. Atlantic anomaly, an are of reversed magnetism that is slowly growing, the thinking is that instead of fading away to zero, the earth will gradually become a patchwork of differing magnetic fields, with areas of the existing polarity shrinking while areas of the new polarity growing, until eventually there is nothing but the new polarity.
PS: I’m glad we got GPS working, trying to navigate using compasses would be darned difficult during that transition.

FJ Shepherd
Reply to  Marcus
June 2, 2016 9:56 am

Hank Johnson’s office explained about the reference to Guam’s potential of tipping over due to too many people on one side of it – it was Johnson’s deadpan humour. Now I did see a little smile on him in that video when he mentioned the island tipping over. However, when he speaks, he does come across as more dead-brain than deadpan.

george e. smith
Reply to  Marcus
June 2, 2016 10:59 am

Don’t really need GPS, although it is handy. And don’t need a magnetic compass either even if it works.
The earth is rotating, so any old gyroscope can locate the N-S direction.
Nothing new; gyrocompasses have been around for eons.
Then of course there is inertial navigation. GPS not much use if you are scuba diving, or similar.

Reply to  Marcus
June 2, 2016 12:44 pm

Ever heard of an optical gyro? They are very neat. Basically a giant ball of fiber optics. The electronics measures the propagation delay. If the ball moves, the delay changes (very slightly).

Reply to  Marcus
June 2, 2016 2:07 pm

Primarily in reply to FJ Shepherd.
Yes, it seems that Hank Johnson is possibly merely a bored congressman with a wicked sense of humour:

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Marcus
June 3, 2016 8:37 am

Someone in the SW USA researched the question of pole-flipping speed and found a layer of magma from a volcano that was laid daily. He found that the magnetic signature changed direction in a single day. This was so far from the preconceived notions of the time that it generated publicity for his article.
I suspect that the change the varies because of how it is generated. It could be fast or slow and might even be detected differently on various parts of the globe. Suppose we end up with 4 distinct north magnetic poles for a few centuries. A lot of things are possible.

Reply to  Bernie
June 2, 2016 3:49 pm

According to some reports it’s happening at the Pole too which could/might move from the Antarctic to somewhere in the Java Sea and it could/might occur within the next 100 years. Also reported is the weakening of the earth’s magnetic field which could/might be involved. Just saying.

June 2, 2016 7:44 am

Very interesting. The question of the day is why would a liquid metal’s thermal conductivity drop when you heat/pressurize it?

Paul Blase
Reply to  TonyL
June 2, 2016 8:56 am

If you could answer that you’d probably get a Nobel for physics.

Mark L Gilbert
Reply to  Paul Blase
June 3, 2016 6:03 am

Seems simple enough, higher temperature would mean more rapid movement of the molecules as they were heated. The thermal expansion of the material would logically create greater space between the molecules caused by the increased movement/energy, which would decrease efficiency of energy transfer. Although that would be countered by increased frequency of collisions adding to opportunities to transfer energy (conduct heat). I would think that expansion effects would be greater than the latter. Also I suspect that the increasing energy of the system would make it more difficult to add energy, resulting in the decreased conductance.
But that may all be based on the Turbo Encabulator for all I know.

Reply to  TonyL
June 2, 2016 9:05 am

And why would it have magnetic properties above its Curie point?

Reply to  gymnosperm
June 2, 2016 9:55 am

it is not iron magnetic property, the field is generated by convection of a liquid conductor in the self-sustained magnetic field, it could have been any other liquid metal. In case of the gas giants it is the liquid hydrogen which becomes super-conductive (high pressure & high temperature), the ocean currents are conductors (ions) also generate weak magnetic field .

Reply to  vukcevic
June 2, 2016 11:39 am

We used to think there was convection in the mantle. Now we know better. What evidence do we have of convection in the core?

Reply to  gymnosperm
June 2, 2016 12:23 pm

“We used to think there was convection in the mantle. Now we know better. What evidence do we have of convection in the core?”
What? Tectonic plate moments and volcanic activity result from convection in the mantle. What evidence do YOU have to suggest that convection in the mantle has been dis-proven?

Reply to  Aphan
June 3, 2016 8:13 am

This is the fairy tale of mantle convection we all believed:comment image
This is what seismic waves show us:comment image
This is the “mantle plume” under Hawaii:comment image
A typical mid ocean ridge section looks a lot like Hawaii; shallow melt profile, no mantle support.
Fairy tales abound. Natural human response. Create a myth and get back to finding dinner.
The reality is we have no idea what causes the ocean floor to spread…

Reply to  gymnosperm
June 2, 2016 10:45 pm

Any object spinning within a field could attract a field, whether or not how many licks it takes to get to its tootsie roll center, or not.

george e. smith
Reply to  TonyL
June 2, 2016 11:01 am

What plausible reason can you give / suggest for the thermal conductivity of a liquid metal to be absolutely constant independent of temperature or pressure, or both ??

Mike McMillan
Reply to  george e. smith
June 3, 2016 3:52 am

Change of thermal conductivity with temperature is common. You’ll find thermal conductivity is often specified at a given temperature in tables.
Polyiso foam insulation is better than styrofoam at normal temperatures, but when it gets cold, the polyiso conductivity rises to the point where styrofoam is better.

Reply to  TonyL
June 2, 2016 12:13 pm

“The question of the day is why would a liquid metal’s thermal conductivity drop when you heat/pressurize it?”
Simple. Electric potential is required to force electric current through a conductor. Most of conductors are far above 0 K, in the vicinity of which super-conductivity is found. As temperature rises internal ion collisions are more frequent, impeding ‘flow’ of electrons, thus reducing conductivity.
Light bulb filament is an obvious example.
Imagine yourself running across a basket ball hall, trying to avoid collision, trough crowd of randomly spaced stationary players, or the same number of players all running in random directions.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  vukcevic
June 2, 2016 12:35 pm

If he’d asked about electrical conductivity you’d be spot on, but his question was about thermal conductivity. All other things being equal, for metals as temperature increases, electrical conductivity goes down but thermal conductivity goes up, per the Wiedemann-Franz Law.

Reply to  vukcevic
June 2, 2016 1:27 pm

Mr. Hawkins
my apology to TonyL and all. After the decades of work in field of electronics, word ‘conductivity’ forces my brain into restricted mode of reasoning.

Reply to  vukcevic
June 2, 2016 10:31 pm

Isn’t heat conducted in metals by the electron cloud?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  vukcevic
June 3, 2016 1:26 pm

One of the reasons thermal conductivity of a metal changes with pressure is that the crystal structure of a sold can change dramatically with temperature and/or pressure.
While liquid metals are not considered at room temperature to have a crystal structure, they do in fact interact (transfer vibrational energy) differently depending on how exactly they are rammed together.
When a liquid metal is subjected to enough pressure, it changes into a solid. The transfer of energy through the liquid and solid we easily accept and being different (like water and ice) but it is harder to think of a solid metal as having different crystal structures.
When water is frozen and the temperature is dropped continuously, it re-orders itself into 6 different crystal forms, one after the other. Most people working in the sciences know that heating silica sand above 573 degrees cause a 2% change in volume – suddenly – as it changes from a phase A the Phase B crystal. There is no way the two phases have the same thermal conductivity because the atoms are ordered differently.
Therefore it is entirely reasonable to discover that a metal has a very different conductivity at an extremely high temperature from that estimated using a model that works well only at far lower temperatures. Obviously the model is a useful tool, but not accurate for high temperatures. The quantum mechanics guys will have to take another look. Fortunately QM is highly adaptable. If the regular model doesn’t work you just invent a new dimension.

Reply to  TonyL
June 2, 2016 12:54 pm

I don’t think Tony’s question assumes that thermal conductivity would stay constant . For gases generally thermal conductivity increases with pressure .
But I see in the best source I found in a quick google , , ” k = (λ/ρc) , thermal diffusivity ” , conductivity divided by density times heat capacity , It states “For all liquids the coefficient of thermal conductivity increases with increasing pressure.” .
The article concludes : “The effect of pressure on thermal conductivity of solids can be assumed, with a good accuracy, to be linear, λ for many metals growing with p. ”
Which really makes one want to see their results as a function extended to lower pressures to see where iron stops following that general behavior .

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  TonyL
June 3, 2016 4:51 am

molecular structure.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  TonyL
June 3, 2016 4:54 am

TonyL on June 2, 2016 at 7:44 am
Very interesting. The question of the day is why would a liquid metal’s thermal conductivity drop when you heat/
– molecular structure

Curious George
June 2, 2016 7:51 am

A direct measurement in a lab under extreme conditions is a big achievement, but it is not a direct measurement of what’s happening at the Earth’s core. We will probably not know for sure for a long time.

June 2, 2016 7:55 am

Can someone explain if the Earth’s magnetic field is generated because one of the cores (inner or outer) is magnetized -or- is there large electric current/field passing through the earth (no I’m NOT suggesting EU). I realize you can generate magnetic fields with high temperature (thermomagnetism), but that doesn’t apply here (I believe). You can’t generate a magnetic field just by having a non-magnetic iron core with non-magnetic molten iron moving around it (or can you???). Don’t you need either a magnet, or an electric current to generate the a magnetic field ? If you could generate a magnetic field just by having two non-magnetic bits of iron moving past each other, then just about everything made from iron would be magnetized in some way. Eg something like car wheel bearings would be generating magnetic fields because you have a stationary iron part with a high speed rotating iron part around it. Apologies if I have it wrong.

Reply to  ppv
June 2, 2016 8:56 am

It is believed (without direct measurement) that the core is around 6,000 degrees C. This is far above the Curie temperature where ferromagnetism is observed.

Reply to  Bernie
June 2, 2016 9:06 am

Algore says the Earth’s core is “millions of degrees.” He knows all.

Reply to  Bernie
June 2, 2016 9:19 am

Isn’t the Curie point where iron is no longer able to remain magnetized once the initial magnetic field is removed.
It doesn’t mean that it no longer is capable of influencing magnetic fields.

Colin Wernham
Reply to  ppv
June 2, 2016 9:10 am

This link explains the theory: it needs a seed magnetic field to start the self supporting magnetic field. The seed is the Sun’s magnetic field.

Reply to  Colin Wernham
June 2, 2016 9:20 am

How did the sun get started?

Reply to  Colin Wernham
June 2, 2016 10:31 am

Mark W
Sun is not an isolated ‘island’ in the ‘magnetic ocean’ of heliosphere.

Reply to  Colin Wernham
June 2, 2016 11:42 am

Mark W,
The processes of star formation aren’t hypothetical. They have been observed.

Reply to  Gabro
June 2, 2016 12:18 pm

I’m going to disagree with you there.
In THEORY, the RESULTS of theoretical star formation have been observed. (Clearly, we, and the solar system around us, have been observed.)
Also, there is a logical step-by-step formation of the 1H1 -> 1H2 -> 2He4 nuclei progression of 2 protons and 4 AW fusion for the most common lower weight atoms found in the solar system.
The earth consolidated into its present globe, and was forming fossils in the rocks at 4.0 – 3.5 billion years ago. (I’ve got one of them on my shelf in the library at home.)
if the Big Bang occurred 13.5 – 14 billion years ago, there is not enough TIME for enough supernovas to form the 10^57 heavy atoms in our solar system. Nobody’s else – just our own. here is not enough time to form the elements in the right suns -> go supernova -> eject them into the next supernova -> form next higher element -> go supernova -> eject them and go to the next star -> go supernova -> eject them into the next supernova -> etc.
Sure. It is theoretically possible. Every element can be made by multiple fusions in multiple supernovas.
It is the same wrong answer as asking: If a blacksmith takes 1 minute to make 3 nails, how many blacksmiths are needed to make the iron in 10,000 Empire State buildings in 3 years?

Reply to  Colin Wernham
June 2, 2016 12:26 pm

“How did the sun get started?”
When two galaxies love each other very, very much……

Reply to  Colin Wernham
June 2, 2016 4:41 pm

The earth consolidated into its present globe, and was forming fossils in the rocks at 4.0 – 3.5 billion years ago. (I’ve got one of them on my shelf in the library at home.)
if the Big Bang occurred 13.5 – 14 billion years ago, there is not enough TIME for enough supernovas to form the 10^57 heavy atoms in our solar system.

Well, how about if you had the whole 14 Billion years? There’s no reason the heavier elements had to be present at the Earth’s formation. In fact, if they were the would have sunk to the core during the molten period. That we find uranium in the crust points to it being deposited much later.
Of course, that’s just off the top of my head. Anyone with better geo science and physics knowledge might be able to blow that out of the water.

george e. smith
Reply to  ppv
June 2, 2016 11:05 am

The earth’s core is at a much higher Temperature than the temperature at which its ferro-magnetism goes to zero. Izzat the Curie Point Temperature ??
So pretty much any magnetic field the earth has is a result of electric current circulating.

Reply to  ppv
June 2, 2016 11:25 am

Planetary magnetic fields are mature and self sustained. Initially, in the early stages of planetary formation, while liquid metals were near the surface (anything up to few 100s km depth) solar flares and CME’s induced electric currents, generating weak internal planetary field. From that point in time the thermal convection of the liquid conductor combined with the planetary rotation has been able to maintain self sustained planetary magnetic fields.
Rate of rotation is very strong contributor. Planet Venus because of its very slow rotation of 243 days, has very weak field, while Jupiter and Saturn with the massive internal liquid cores and the high rotation rates of 10 and 10.5 hours respectively have strongest magnetic fields. Mars and Mercury are smaller planets, mostly cooled down, with no, or at least not significant liquid interior.

Reply to  vukcevic
June 2, 2016 12:36 pm

Magnetic fields formed planetary magnetospheres , and ever since the sun was linked to them by strong electric currents, forcing magnetic cycling onto the mighty initially randomly firing star.

Reply to  vukcevic
June 2, 2016 2:22 pm

vukcevic June 2, 2016 at 12:36 pm
Magnetic fields formed planetary magnetospheres , and ever since the sun was linked to them by strong electric currents, forcing magnetic cycling onto the mighty initially randomly firing star.
Talk about being “mischievous.”
Positive magnetic flux is having an issue, it would appear that way.

Reply to  vukcevic
June 2, 2016 2:49 pm

There is too much electricity up there to be totally ignored.

June 2, 2016 8:08 am

“…130 Giga-Pascals, which is more than a million times the atmospheric pressure…” –Konôpková
19 times more, to be a bit more precise.

hot air
Reply to  agfosterjr
June 2, 2016 1:20 pm

Atmospheric is 14psi…

June 2, 2016 8:11 am

19 million times more, that is.

Reply to  agfosterjr
June 2, 2016 9:41 am

Oops, Astley is right. It’s 19 million psi.

Reply to  agfosterjr
June 2, 2016 11:24 am

Unlike climate science, agfosterjr is self correcting. : )

Reply to  agfosterjr
June 2, 2016 12:48 pm

Thomas June 2, 2016 at 11:24 am

Unlike climate science, agfosterjr is self correcting. : )

That comment made my morning, Thomas. Thanks.
And agfosterjr, well done. Noted and approved. I always gain trust in a man when I see him publicly admitting and correcting an error.

Reply to  agfosterjr
June 4, 2016 12:51 am

Standard atmospheric pressure is 101,325 pascals. Dividing this into 130,000,000,000 gives 1.283 million and a fraction, so the original answer of more than a million is correct. Also, atmospheric pressure in psi is not fourteen, it is 14.696 psi approximately.

June 2, 2016 8:17 am

Alarmist take note. Reality contradicted theory and the real scientists are going with reality.

June 2, 2016 8:18 am

What a shnîtty graphic. The interior of the earth is nearly 6,000° K, or just a bit higher than the surface of the sun. We know how hot the sun’s surface is, as it is obvious. Why the ‘yellow’ bit? It is fûqueing hot in there!
Moreover, not only is it fantastically hot by atomic and molecular standards, it is also theorized to be a ‘solid state plasma’, nearly superconductive. Hot enough that all of the metals and sidereophiles’ outer electrons are completely unbound from the host nuclei.
It should be no wonder that we have a persistent magnetic field. We spin, the core is hugely conductive, it churns on eon-scale both inertially and convectively. This is an environment ripe for the “dynamo effect”: but only if one also considers the “locking effect” of the planet’s deep crust and upper mantle. One needs a weak but relatively permanent lagging fixed field to get the dynamo effect to work.

William Astley
June 2, 2016 8:20 am

The pressure at the mantel core boundary is 1.4 million atmospheres not 1 million atmospheres.
The earth’s magnetic field and the sun’s magnetic is not caused by self-dynamo action. i.e. Some mysterious initial magnetic field is maintained by convection in the earth’s core.
There are piles and piles of paradoxes associated with the self-dynamo mechanism.
For example, in the last 15 years it has been discovered that the earth’s magnetic field changes cyclically and abruptly (abrupt changes in the magnitude of the magnetic field and abrupt changes to the inclination of the geomagnetic field). Both abrupt changes to the geomagnetic (inclination and magnitude) correlate with cyclic abrupt climate change. The paradox is there is no core mechanism that is capable of cyclically changing in manner to change the magnitude and inclination of the geomagnetic field.
It is boring to talk on and on about silly urban legends. What is needed (to put multiple fields of science into crisis) is an in your face paradox, that cannot be ignored, something that must be and will be discussed by the media and scientific community.

The pressure at the bottom of the mantle is ~136 GPa (1.4 million atm).[25]

Are there connections between the Earth’s magnetic field and climate? Vincent Courtillot, Yves Gallet, Jean-Louis Le Mouël, Frédéric Fluteau, Agnès Genevey
The most intriguing feature may be the recently proposed archeomagnetic jerks, i.e. fairly abrupt ( approx. 100 yr long) geomagnetic field variations found at irregular intervals over the past few millennia, using the archeological record from Europe to the Middle East. These seem to correlate with significant climatic events in the eastern North Atlantic region. A proposed mechanism involves variations in the geometry of the geomagnetic field (f.i. tilt of the dipole to lower latitudes), resulting in enhanced cosmic-ray induced nucleation of clouds. No forcing factor, be it changes in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere or changes in cosmic ray flux modulated by solar activity and geomagnetism, or possibly other factors, can at present be neglected or shown to be the overwhelming single driver of climate change in past centuries. Intensive data acquisition is required to further probe indications that the Earth’s and Sun’s magnetic fields may have significant bearing on climate change at certain time scales.

Response to Comment on “Are there connections between Earth’s magnetic field and climate?, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 253, 328–339, 2007” by Bard, E., and Delaygue, M., Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., in press, 2007
Also, we wish to recall that evidence of a correlation between archeomagnetic jerks and cooling events (in a region extending from the eastern North Atlantic to the Middle East) now covers a period of 5 millenia and involves 10 events (see f.i. Figure 1 of Gallet and Genevey, 2007). The climatic record uses a combination of results from Bond et al (2001), history of Swiss glaciers (Holzhauser et al, 2005) and historical accounts reviewed by Le Roy Ladurie (2004). Recent high-resolution paleomagnetic records (e.g. Snowball and Sandgren, 2004; St-Onge et al., 2003) and global geomagnetic field modeling (Korte and Constable, 2006) support the idea that part of the centennial-scale fluctuations in 14C production may have been influenced by previously unmodeled rapid dipole field variations. In any case, the relationship between climate, the Sun and the geomagnetic field could be more complex than previously imagined. And the previous points allow the possibility for some connection between the geomagnetic field and climate over these time scales.

June 2, 2016 8:43 am

The earth’s core may not be iron but nuclear from which a magnetic field arises. Because nuclear material is magnetic, a big chunk good have kicked started the formation of the planet. Iron would have built up around the core and as everybody knows that as nuclear material heats up it has a tendency to blow apart, so the increasing densities of iron would have kept it together. It would also become a heat source. They should at least consider that possibility. Also, I think the mechanism for deflecting cosmic radiation is not quite right either. What is possible is that a magnetic field generates a plasma field from free electrons that absorbs some of those rays. And then there is quartz, which when put under pressure generates electricity.
Material available,electrostatic forces, magnetic, and gravitational forces would be variables in the shape and design Watching a planet evolve would be really interesting.

Reply to  rishrac
June 2, 2016 8:53 am

“as everybody knows that as nuclear material heats up it has a tendency to blow apart”
I don’t know anybody who knows this.
What causes nuclear materials to blow up is when you get critical mass. Temperature has nothing to do with it. (In fact, temperature, by causing things to expand, makes critical mass a little bit harder to achieve.)
Uranium, being denser than iron, would have a tendency to sink. However as the uranium concentrates the nuclear reactions would SLOWLY increase. This would cause two things to happen. Some of the nuclear material is burned up (converted to something else) which would have the immediate affect of decreasing the average density. It would also heat up the material it was embedded in, which would cause that material to rise and disperse. Once again decreasing the average density of the nuclear material.

Reply to  MarkW
June 2, 2016 12:08 pm

And if you had a thick iron layer around it? That can be calculated as to how much of the weight and density that would keep the nuclear core intact. It wouldn’t necessarily go critical. Just get really hot. The reason a nuclear goes critical and becomes a blast is that there isn’t a secondary wave of precisely placed explosives or big enough to keep it intact.

Reply to  rishrac
June 2, 2016 9:18 am

“And then there is quartz, which when put under pressure generates electricity.”
The electric flashes during earthquakes come to mind.

george e. smith
Reply to  rishrac
June 2, 2016 11:10 am

You read far too much science fiction. Pretty good story teller though, so maybe you should write some yourself.

Reply to  george e. smith
June 2, 2016 11:57 am

Thanks..☺… that is an honor to be considered in that league. However, whether a story or not, a nuclear core can be calculated.

Reply to  george e. smith
June 2, 2016 9:44 pm

Science truth can be as weird as science fiction, particularly when the would be truth and the conventional wisdom are both straw.
We don’t know Jack about the earth’s or the sun’s or any other magnetic field. We know that the sun’s field flips frequently. We know that the earth’s field has flipped irregularly, including a long period with no reversals in the Cretaceous when apparently the largest igneous extrusions in the history of the planet occurred.
Just sayin’

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  rishrac
June 2, 2016 12:02 pm

Quartz has a melting point of 1705 C. The temperature at the mantle/outer core boundary is 3700 C. I’m not seeing a lot of support for your speculation here.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
June 2, 2016 12:31 pm

I have a lot of questions, few answers. I can speculate on the dynamics of the core. I can also disassociate that from another possible source of a magnetic field. Magma isn’t made exclusively out of iron. Does the gauss strength equal the the flow of electricity generated by the pressure on quartz in the solid portion of the mantle?

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
June 2, 2016 12:54 pm

I doubt that the normal flexure of the crust produces enough electricity to generate any significant portion of the earth’s approximately 0.4 gauss magnetic field (measured at the surface). You can’t get good charge segregation to get more than very local and transient effects (earthquakes are a good source). Try this for some more info:

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
June 2, 2016 10:16 pm

Quartz is the second most prevalent material in the earth’s crust after Feldspar, a K, Na, Ca Aluminum doped quartz. Quartz has a covalent tetrahedral structure of Silicon and Oxygen whereby SiO4 nets out to SiO2, basically sand.
Why this stuff should create an electric current under stress, or conversely stress under an electric field, is currently above my pay grade, but I am ready to learn. I already believe. Quartz played me all the vinyl records of my youth.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
June 4, 2016 10:25 pm

Quartz becomes conductive when heated up, electrons are elevated into the conduction band. We noticed that when we did an experiment with a noble gas inside a quartz tube and heated up with a powerful RF generator. There was a strange ring forming inside the quartz tube that lit up and drew current from the RF generator. That was before it melted.
I think Prof. Friedwardt Winterberg had published a theory about the geomagnetic generator.

mike g
June 2, 2016 8:47 am

“The magnetic field shields us from harmful high-energy particles from space, the so-called cosmic radiation, and its existence is one of the things that make our planet habitable,” explains Konôpková.
How much does the magnetic field actually shield us from cosmic rays? It shields us from some solar radiation. But, don’t the really high energy particles go right through it and interact with the atmosphere, which is what really does most of the shielding?

mike g
Reply to  mike g
June 2, 2016 8:54 am

No doubt it helps make low earth orbit more habitable…

Reply to  mike g
June 5, 2016 5:02 am

Mike, I agree with that.

June 2, 2016 8:50 am

I LOVE it when a theory must be modified to accommodate unexpected facts. It means everybody learns something new.

Reply to  tadchem
June 2, 2016 8:55 am

That’s one of the reasons why I once hoped that cold fusion was true.
When something that unexpected pops up, lots of theories have to be reworked to explain it.
When that happens, sometimes major discoveries are made.
Alas, it was not to be.

Reply to  MarkW
June 2, 2016 12:46 pm

Some are, believe it or not, still working on cold fusion.

Reply to  MarkW
June 4, 2016 10:28 pm

Yes, there are the experiments by Prof. Leif Holmlid from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden about ultra dense deuterium. Interesting.

June 2, 2016 9:20 am

There are things that we do not know yet, are still waiting to be discovered, and will be very hard to get to the bottom of.
In the meantime, plenty of people will act and talk as though the textbooks can now be chiseled into stone.

June 2, 2016 9:37 am

NOAA has data on the global magnetic field, which is not perfect, but it is the best available beyond 1990.
All global temperature data are questionable but most of experts consider the CruTem4 to be least ‘distorted’.
Comparing CruTem4 to the (9 years delayed) strength of the Earth’s magnetic field across the geomagnetic poles a good correlation (actually the highest available) is obtained.
The above shown correlation is by no means ‘causation’.
However, an explanation for the association between the events controlling changes in the Earth’s magnetic field intensity and the global temperature as expressed in the two sets of data, within current understanding of both processes, may not be readily available.

Reply to  vukcevic
June 2, 2016 9:45 am

vukcevic: could you re-run that graph, but instead of just the earth’s magnetic field, could you also show the strength of the sun’s magnetic field? Please also indicate whether the sun’s field is the same, or opposing the earth’s.
Yea I know, I’m asking a lot, but I thought it might be interesting.

Reply to  MarkW
June 2, 2016 10:24 am

Solar magnetic field, as represented by the SSN envelope moves in the opposite direction (green scale, graph done some years ago), but here is a problem, the Earth leads the way (will not discus why).
As you know the sun has gone down, although the Hudson Bay is getting weaker, Siberia is getting much stronger and since 1995 is the location of the strongest intensity in the N.H. As you can see from graph in my previous comment, the global field has also slightly strengthened since 2000. Most of the increasing strength has gone into Eastern hemisphere, while W.H. is getting progressively weaker.
This is due to growing and drifting (differential rotation) asymmetry in the inner solid core, affecting balance of thermal circulation in the outer core, but that is another story.

Reply to  MarkW
June 4, 2016 10:35 pm

Magnetic vector potential?

J Martin
Reply to  vukcevic
June 2, 2016 12:20 pm

Presumably there’s no way to predict or project what the earths magnetic field is going to do next.

J Martin
Reply to  vukcevic
June 2, 2016 2:10 pm

So with a nine year shift we can roughly predict temperatures nine years ahead. So on that basis the pause is set to continue for the next nine years. Solar decline not withstanding.

Reply to  J Martin
June 2, 2016 2:31 pm

Well, yes with 80% certainty, if the last 145 years correlation can be extrapolated forward by another decade or 6 – 7% of its time span, .

Reply to  vukcevic
June 5, 2016 6:25 am

Vukcevic, specifically a magnetic field will block microwave energy. Water, which there is a lot of, is tuned to 2054 Mhz. It’s the frequency that heats up your food in the microwave. Without water in your food, it won’t cook. You can melt ice without increasing the air temperature. Measure the air temperature in your unit. Take a bowl of ice cubes and nuke them for 3 minutes… more or less depending on your unit… the ice will melt but the air temperature will be little changed.
Typically bringing a cup of water to boil takes about a minute. It won’t boil in a standard unit after 10 seconds. So if the field declines or increases , I think it is only reasonable that there is a lag time. If you leave the boiling water in the microwave, the air temperature will rise after awhile. But not immediately.
In applying the Stefan Boltzmann law, it would take the TSI to increase 120 w/m^2 to increase the current temperature 6 C. Which has evidently happened sometime in the recent past. I have about 1 C for every 20 w/m^2. … I’m wondering if ice core samples are so realiable. I have to go with historical records that barely could be grown on Greenland at one time. And despite it being the warmest ever, they still can’t grow barely in Greenland nor vineyards in England
The more I think about this, the more complicated it gets.

June 2, 2016 11:58 am

““We found very low values of thermal conductivity, about 18 to 44 Watts per meter per Kelvin, which can resolve the paradox and make the geodynamo operable since the early ages of the earth.”
too funny.
think about it.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 2, 2016 12:44 pm

Да, я согласен,. see my comment at June 2, 2016 at 11:25 am

Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 3, 2016 7:03 am

Please elaborate, Mr. Mosher…

June 2, 2016 12:59 pm

I’m not a scientist, but I find it odd that Iron, when heated to a red heat cannot
be picked up by a magnet; yet in a molten state they say it generates an
electromagnetic field from the spinning earth, as does a dynamo.
Sorry, just doesn’t compute to me. Not arguing, just saying.

Reply to  John
June 2, 2016 2:03 pm

John, did you take pressure into account? This is what Wikipedia says about the effect of pressure on the Curie point, which is the temperature at which certain materials lose their permanent magnetic properties:

“The Curie point is dependent on pressure and is hard to predict for very high pressures. In particular, it is not possible to say for sure whether the core of the Earth is above the Curie point even though it is very hot.”

Reply to  John
June 13, 2016 2:16 pm

The standard theory is basically the electrons flow because the fluid flows as the planet rotates. Physics states that any moving electron will create a magnetic field, which will interact with other electrons in the fluid near by. They believe that these fields get aligned and add together within the mantel in a complex way so that we see the far field result of all those complex interactions. This should work with any electrically conductive liquid metal. They talk of Iron because that is what they think most of the earth’s core is made of.
There is another theory that I like better.
It states that there is a micro singularity at the center of the earth. This small black hole has several features that add up to answer a lot of odd behavior we see on multiple planetary systems. 1: As it evaporates, it generates heat and pushes mass away from itself. If placed in a high density volume (like the earth center) it will become stable, only eating a few pounds of mass a year to offset that evaporation. This also solves one of the other big problem in earth science: “Why is the earth’s center still hot?” 2: It creates a disk of near relativistic orbiting electrons as they get pulled in. That creates a huge magnetic field that isn’t directly coupled to the rotation of the planet. This explains the observed magnetic pole reversals, axial misalignment and the possibility for a small planet with little or no rotation to generate a strong magnetic field. Which explains ironless slow rotating Mercury. 3: The lifespan of this black hole is depend on the initial mass of the singularity and the planet core density. This means that a magnetic field can collapse if the singularity evaporates. Which explains Mars. 4: It will produce a jet of high energy particles shooting off it’s poles. One of which will penetrate deeply through high density material and will heat one pole. This correlates with several observed moons of Jupiter and Saturn as well as our own north pole volcanos. 5: It also answers why the planet would form in a disk of dust in the first place. I never believed that static cling thing
However, There is only one problem (the reason this isn’t the dominate theory). In order to make such a small stable black hole, we have to make the speed of light be much faster. That leads to the conclusion that either it is all wrong, or the speed of light is a function of time. That is, C used to be much faster than it is now so that they could have been created in the early universe and continue to exist now due it’s slow feeding within a planet core. If that is true then it would also answer the whole “Accelerating Expanding Universe” thing. The universe expansion isn’t actually accelerating due to ‘dark energy’, rather our meter stick (based on the speed of light) is getting smaller. That is a lot of fundamental assumptions that would have to be overturned and not a lot of hard evidence. So they will try to make this experiment’s results come within the error bars of “plausible” and call it good.

Robert Clemenzi
June 2, 2016 1:11 pm

“We compressed a thin foil of iron in the diamond anvil cell

Since the core is nickle-iron and is probably liquid, not solid, I wonder if the study has any value at all.

June 2, 2016 1:23 pm

o/t h/u
NASA Studies Details of a Greening Arctic
With Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 data, Masek and his colleague Junchang Ju, a remote sensing scientist at Goddard, found that there was extensive greening in the tundra of western Alaska, the northern coast of Canada, and the tundra of Quebec and Labrador. While northern forests greened in Canada, they tended to decline in Alaska. Overall, the scientists found that 29.4 percent of the region greened up, especially in shrublands and sparsely vegetated areas, while 2.9 percent showed vegetation decline.

Jim G1
June 2, 2016 1:56 pm

“Our results strongly contradict the theoretical calculations,” reports Konôpková.”
Well, that’s refreshing to see stated for a change! Disagreement with generally accepted thoery.

Jim G1
Reply to  Jim G1
June 2, 2016 1:57 pm


Reply to  Jim G1
June 2, 2016 3:45 pm

Ummm, theory ? Yea, yea, I know, I’m nitpicking….but it’s all I got on this subject which makes my head hurt just from reading all the above comments ! :o)

June 2, 2016 2:43 pm

Nonsense: The earths polar field is produced by way of E=mc2. All polar fields are produced this way, from moons, planets to stars and galaxies every celestial body is governed by this law.
Composition of a planets core is a result of it’s polar field (for example) the composition of a planet is not the cause of its polar field.
There is no “dynamo” needed to produce a polar field either.
If a polar field is moving or rotating, it can be called a “dynamo”.

Reply to  Sparks
June 2, 2016 2:48 pm


June 2, 2016 3:08 pm

Earth’s magnetic heartbeat
May 10,2016
…Launched at the end of 2013, Swarm is measuring and untangling the different magnetic signals from Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere – an undertaking that will take several years to complete.
Although invisible, the magnetic field and electric currents in and around Earth generate complex forces that have immeasurable effects on our everyday lives.
…It shows clearly that the field has weakened by about 3.5% at high latitudes over North America, while it has strengthened about 2% over Asia. The region where the field is at its weakest – the South Atlantic Anomaly – has moved steadily westward and weakened further by about 2%.
In addition, the magnetic north pole is wandering east, towards Asia.
…The second animation shows the rate of change in Earth’s magnetic field between 2000 and 2015. Regions where changes in the field slowed are shown in blue while red shows where changes speeded up.
For example, changes in the field have slowed near South Africa, but have changed faster over Asia.
The magnetic field is thought to be produced largely by an ocean of molten, swirling liquid iron that makes up our planet’s outer core, 3000 km under our feet. Acting like the spinning conductor in a bicycle dynamo, it generates electrical currents and thus the continuously changing electromagnetic field.
It is thought that accelerations in field strength are related to changes in how this liquid iron flows and oscillates in the outer core.
Chris Finlay, senior scientist at DTU Space in Denmark, said, “Swarm data are now enabling us to map detailed changes in Earth’s magnetic field, not just at Earth’s surface but also down at the edge of its source region in the core.
“Unexpectedly, we are finding rapid localised field changes that seem to be a result of accelerations of liquid metal flowing within the core.”
rotation rotation rotation and other stuff…

June 2, 2016 3:55 pm

vukcevic June 2, 2016 at 2:49 pm
There is too much electricity up there to be totally ignore.
Which is why I wanted you to have a look at:
Transmission of the electric fields to the low latitude ionosphere in the magnetosphere-ionosphere current circuit
Takashi Kikuchi1* and Kumiko K. Hashimoto2comment image
Pg 3
Fig. 3 A schematic diagram of the DP2 ionospheric currents composed of the two-cell Hall currents at high latitudes driven by the dawn-to-dusk convection electric field under the southward IMF condition and the Pedersen currents flowing into the equatorial ionosphere where the current is enhanced by the Cowling effect (EEJ). A current circuit is completed between the EEJ and R1 FACs via the midlatitude Pedersen currents carried by the TM0 mode wave in the Earth-ionosphere waveguide.
The text describes the “two-cell Hall currents,” as having vorticity;
“””The convection electric field drives the DP2 currents composed of two-cell Hall current vortices at high latitude and zonal currents at the equator “””
If the south polar ionosphere also has the “two-cell Hall currents,” having vorticity, and pederson currents running towards the magnetic equator, isn’t this then a description also of a current sheet? Similar but not the same as the helio-current sheet?

June 2, 2016 4:00 pm

The physicists used a specially designed pressure cell that allows to compress samples between two diamond anvils and to heat them simultaneously with infrared lasers, shining right through the diamonds.

Next, the physicists will use it to forge a sword so powerful, it will split the earth.
… you know, so they can measure the core itself. ^¿^

Reply to  schitzree
June 4, 2016 7:55 am

That illustration is pure crap with the word physics on the end of it, and that’s how the biggest scientific fools that make a mountain out of a mole hill we see so much of lately are peddling their wares.

June 2, 2016 4:32 pm

The important point is that the Earth is a huge spinning magnet. Instead of the foolish fantasies about solar panels in orbit we saw in another article, all we need to do is slap a big induction coil around the Earth and we’ll have plenty of electricity. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
The tricky bit is still that of getting the electricity down to us. Who will be in control of the microwave beam? We know the British could be trusted to handle it responsibly (you ask them if you don’t believe me) but the French would never accept that. I would suggest taking a cue from “The Mouse that Roared” and put it in the hands of a coalition of tiny countries. Monaco, Andorra, St. Kitts and Nevis, Malta, etc. (But not Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein is, technically, still at war with Prussia, and the Prussians already have enough sleepless nights over that.)
The actual control centre could be in the San Marino Science Institute. Anyone who wanted to participate would have to learn Esperanto.

June 2, 2016 4:35 pm

Why Earth’s Inner and Outer Cores Rotate in Opposite Directions
By Laura Poppick,
September 19, 2013
The Earth’s magnetic field controls the direction and speed at which Earth’s inner and outer cores spin, even though they move in opposite directions, new research suggests.
Scientists have long suspected that Earth’s magnetic field — which protects life from harmful space radiation — drifts in a slightly westerly direction. That theory was established in the 1690s, when geophysicist Edmund Halley (the same Halley who spotted the eponymous comet) sailed aboard a research vessel through the South Atlantic Ocean and collected enough compass readings to identify this shift.
By the mid-20th century, geologists had gathered further evidence for this drift and had determined that the westerly rotation of the magnetic field exerts a force on the liquid outer core— composed of a molten mix of iron and nickel — that causes it to rotate in a westerly direction. Decades later, geophysicists used deep seismic data to determine that the inner core — a solid iron-nickel alloy that is about the size of the moon — rotates in an easterly direction at a greater speed than the rotation of the Earth itself.
But, until now, scientists have regarded these rotations within the two layers of the core as separate, with no relation to each other.
Now, researchers at the University of Leeds in England have found a common link between the two rotations by creating a computer model that shows how the rotation of the Earth’s magnetic field can both pull the liquid outer core in a westerly direction while also exerting an opposite force on the inner core that causes an easterly rotation.
“Previously, there have been these two independent observations, and there has not been a link between them,” study co-author Philip Livermore, of the University of Leeds, told LiveScience’s OurAmazingPlanet. “We argue that the magnetic field itself is pushing on the outer core, and there is an equal and opposite push on the inner core.”
The Earth’s magnetic field — created by the convection of hot liquid metal within the outer core — undergoes slight fluctuations roughly every decade. The inner core’s rotation rate has also been shown to fluctuate on a similar timescale. These new results help explain why these two phenomena occur on the same timescale, since one has now been shown to affect the other, the researchers say……..

Reply to  Carla
June 4, 2016 6:48 pm

It should probably be clarified that “opposite directions” are relative to the surface of the planet. Not everyone thinks in those terms.

June 2, 2016 5:06 pm

Now who woulda thunk there was an “equatorial jet,” down under dar. One of your favorite authors in the list below, Vuks.
“”Analysis of secular variation (3) shows there is rapid change within a narrow equatorial belt (latitude −5° to +10°), suggesting that these changes may be caused by instabilities on an equatorial jet.””
Electromagnetically driven westward drift and inner-core superrotation in Earth’s core
Philip W. Livermorea,1, Rainer Hollerbachb,c, and Andrew Jacksonc
A 3D numerical model of the earth’s core with a viscosity two orders of magnitude lower than the state of the art suggests a link between the observed westward drift of the magnetic field and superrotation of the inner core. In our model, the axial electromagnetic torque has a dominant influence only at the surface and in the deepest reaches of the core, where it respectively drives a broad westward flow rising to an axisymmetric equatorial jet and imparts an eastward-directed torque on the solid inner core. Subtle changes in the structure of the internal magnetic field may alter not just the magnitude but the direction of these torques. This not only suggests that the quasi-oscillatory nature of inner-core superrotation [Tkalčić H, Young M, Bodin T, Ngo S, Sambridge M (2013) The shuffling rotation of the earth’s inner core revealed by earthquake doublets. Nat Geosci 6:497–502.] may be driven by decadal changes in the magnetic field, but further that historical periods in which the field exhibited eastward drift were contemporaneous with a westward inner-core rotation. The model further indicates a strong internal shear layer on the tangent cylinder that may be a source of torsional waves inside the core.

June 2, 2016 5:08 pm

Maybe if I read a bit further, I might find a strong equatorial jet.
“”” Because magnetic fields in general quench shearing motions, such a minimum is consistent with the existence of a strong equatorial jet.”””

Reply to  Carla
June 2, 2016 9:07 pm

I learn something new on this website every day. Thanks, Carla.

June 2, 2016 5:29 pm

I’m getting dizzy now … all this rotation, rotation, rotation

Kaiser Derden
June 2, 2016 6:45 pm

a theory (150 Watts per meter per Kelvin) that is in conflict with the reality of 3.4 billion years is not a theory anymore … it was a bad guess that should never have been calculated …

June 2, 2016 10:30 pm

Lab tests of “magnetic molten core material” have been years in the making,, on man made calculator paper receipts and spinning aluminum hard drives… lol

June 3, 2016 6:02 am

KLohrn June 2, 2016 at 10:59 pm
Haven’t checked your link yet..
But am wondering what did happen to Mar’s magnetic field. If something like our Moon gave it a nudge, it’s core processes would have been greatly disturbed.
Also, wondering if one of the craters on Mars, is proportionally consistent with our Moon’s size???
When it comes down to it… the Universe, Galaxy, heliosphere is like one big pool table. Balls flying all over the place.

June 3, 2016 6:21 am

KLohrn June 2, 2016 at 10:59 pm
Mar’s has gotten a Major hit to its north polar region.
From wiki “”””North Polar Basin by far the largest impact crater in the Solar System””””
“The North Polar Basin, or Borealis basin, is a large basin in the northern hemisphere of Mars that covers 40% of the planet. Chryse Planitia, the landing site of the Viking 1 lander, is a bay that opens into this basin.
One possible explanation for the basin’s low, flat and relatively crater-free topography is that the basin was formed by a single large impact. Two simulations of a possible impact sketched a profile for the collision: low velocity—6 to 10 km (3.7 to 6.2 mi) per second—oblique angle and a diameter of 1,600–2,700 km (990–1,680 mi).[1][2] Topographical data from Mars Global Surveyor are consistent with the models and also suggest that the elliptical crater has axes of length 10,600 km (6,600 mi) and 8,500 km (5,300 mi), centered on 67°N 208°E, though this has been partially obscured by later volcanic eruptions that created the Tharsis bulge along its rim. There is evidence for a secondary rim as well.[3][4]”
“””This would make the North Polar Basin by far the largest impact crater in the Solar System, approximately four times the diameter of the next largest craters: Utopia Planitia, which is imbedded inside the North Polar Basin, the South Pole–Aitken basin on the Moon, and Hellas Planitia on Mars’s southern hemisphere.[5]”””

June 3, 2016 6:38 am

Geeez Mars northern basin diameter and our Moon’s Aitken Basin diameter are proportionately similar.
Mars– diameter of 1,600–2,700 km (990–1,680 mi) from above wiki
Moon–The South Pole–Aitken basin is a huge impact crater on the far side of the Moon.
Roughly 2,500 kilometres “”(1,600 mi) in diameter”” and 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) deep,
it is one of the largest known impact craters in the Solar System.

June 3, 2016 6:56 am

Mars has a huge Basin at its north pole. Our Moon has a huge Basin at its south pole. Both basins are roughly 1600 miles in diameter. The direction the moon was coming from and the strike angle could be calculated. But not by me. lol hmm well some…

Douglas James
June 3, 2016 6:58 am

Lots of conjecture on the nature of something as mysterious as the the global internal.composition. What we have is a model which basically says “the earth is a molten ball covered with a thin skin of solidified magma and rock”. What if this whole model is wrong? The researchers assume it to be true and base their experimental design upon it.
Why would scientists think that the earth is molten to the core? Because they see molten rock spewing from below? My model, and it is as good as any UNPROVEN model, is that the tectonic plates absorb electromagnetic radiation. The net charge repels the other plates and keeps them apart. At places of close contact (of the tectonic plates) and due to uneven discharge of the adjoining plates, the charge differentials melt the rock (like an arc welder). Volcanoes are due to these electrical potentials. They are equivalent to sunspots. The earth spins because as the charge builds up on one side it is repelled away from the sun (electromagnetic energy source). Discharge is through the poles.
There…a fully defensible BUT different model of planetary composition and behavior. Pure conjecture on my part, of course, but remember we are all gathered here at this website because of scientific computer models of somewhat dubious repute.

Reply to  Douglas James
June 5, 2016 3:46 am

I think this is a more than reasonable theory as compared to
the “molten iron dynamo”. There is so much discussed here
on this subject that I am going to spend quite some time
reading the posts and pondering. Fascinating stuff!

June 3, 2016 12:58 pm

Are you suggesting our Moon was a celestial queue ball that knocked Mars’ molten gyro offline, Carla?
Or it were some born out of Mars?

Reply to  KLohrn
June 5, 2016 3:57 am

Here is a wild one: There is a confirmed level of Xenon 129 on Mars.
This is an Isotope that can only be produced by a nuclear weapon detonation.
Maybe those huge craters are not “impact” craters, but war shots?

June 3, 2016 1:05 pm

What I find wondering is the Venusian molten surface and its opposing rotation.

June 3, 2016 1:51 pm

Anyway, I wouldn’t say Mars or Venus are incapable, they just aren’t as attractive.

June 3, 2016 3:48 pm

KLohrn June 3, 2016 at 12:58 pm
Are you suggesting our Moon was a celestial queue ball that knocked Mars’ molten gyro offline, Carla?
KLohrn June 3, 2016 at 1:37 pm
You shouldn’t show me things like that.
Scared the bajeebahs out of me. SIX and HALF minutes in 16 years?
Scientists baffled to discover that Venus’ spin is slowing down
Why is Venus rotating 6.5 minutes slower than it was just 16 years ago? down-0
February 17, 2012, 11:50 p.m.

Reply to  Carla
June 4, 2016 5:59 pm

In the solar-system-as-pocket-pool game theory, every ball can also be a pocket, depending on its relative mass. If the moon is the cue ball, did it also impart reverse english on Venus as part of its break?
As for why Venus’s rotation would be slowing, consider that Earth, in effect, is “burning rubber” as it rolls around the sun. Venus, relatively speaking, is skidding around with the brakes on. Both seek stasis, i.e. tidal lock.

June 5, 2016 4:04 am

There is Xenon 129 on Mars. This isotope can only be created
by nuclear weapon detonation. Maybe those aren’t impact craters.

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