Oh noes!!! Government Shutdown Imperils Earth’s Magnetic Field!!!

Guest Ohhhhh Noooo!!! by David Middleton

Well… maybe not imperiling Earth’s magnetic field… Just delaying the release of the vital World Magnetic Model…


Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why

Erratic motion of north magnetic pole forces experts to update model that aids global navigation.

Update, 9 January: The release of the World Magnetic Model has been postponed to 30 January due to the ongoing US government shutdown.

Something strange is going on at the top of the world. Earth’s north magnetic pole has been skittering away from Canada and towards Siberia, driven by liquid iron sloshing within the planet’s core. The magnetic pole is moving so quickly that it has forced the world’s geomagnetism experts into a rare move.

On 15 January, they are set to update the World Magnetic Model, which describes the planet’s magnetic field and underlies all modern navigation, from the systems that steer ships at sea to Google Maps on smartphones.

The most recent version of the model came out in 2015 and was supposed to last until 2020 — but the magnetic field is changing so rapidly that researchers have to fix the model now. “The error is increasing all the time,” says Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Centers for Environmental Information.



Maybe they can put Robert Mueller on the case… Looks like a clear example of Russia collusion…

Source: World Data Center for Geomagnetism/Kyoto Univ
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January 10, 2019 8:07 am

The magnetic pole is getting closer to the true pole. The standard deviation used for all magnetic compasses needs adjustment.
However, very few navigational systems rely on magnetic orientation since the advent of GPS.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Rocketscientist
January 10, 2019 10:09 am

Also gyro compass used to be the norm, when I sailed in the Danish navy. A gyro compass references the Earth’s axis and is independent of magnetic influences. One day I was asked to repair such a gyro compass onboard a flagship. It consisted of a swimming ball with two very fast spinning disks, one horizontal and one vertical, driven by two 400Hz three phase motors. The gyroscope is connected to a computer, which compensate for the ships speed, thus obtaining an insane precision.
When this thing fail, we has a prehistoric magnetic compass in the wheelhouse 🙂

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
January 10, 2019 3:09 pm

Yes, and if the gyro [most merchant ships, in fairness, have two gyros, completely independent] does go down [a fire in the compartment does that], the magnetic compass will ‘get you home’.
If it is reasonably corrected, and ship’s officers have taken enough compass errors [to know the actual deviation . . .].


Jim Masterson
Reply to  Rocketscientist
January 13, 2019 3:45 pm

However, very few navigational systems rely on magnetic orientation since the advent of GPS.

The lack of pilots on this site is amazing. All runways are aligned to magnetic heading. They are numbered to the nearest 10 degrees of mag heading. So runway 04 has a mag heading of 040. To land on runway 04, you approach the field from the southwest and land to the northeast. The smallest runway number is 01 and the largest runway number is 36. Runways have two ends, so you add or subtract 18 to get the other number: 04-22, 09-27, 18-36, for example.

There’s a movie where they were told to land on runway 40–no such runway exists.

About twenty years ago, they renumbered the runways in the Northwest, because the mag variation changed by more than 10 degrees. It happens.


Reply to  Jim Masterson
January 13, 2019 6:20 pm

John Wayne Airport (SNA, southeast of LAX) has two parallel runways that have been labelled 1 – 19 for a very long time. They were recently repainted to be 2 – 20. Although it is in a seismically active area, that isn’t the cause – the magnetic North Pole is moving. But is the magnetic South Pole moving in concert?

John Endicott
January 10, 2019 8:13 am

Maybe they can put Robert Mueller on the case… Looks like a clear example of Russia collusion…

It’s worse that that, it looks like Russia is trying to annex the North Magnetic Pole just like they did Crimea. Putin must be tired of getting lumps of coal in his stockings at Christmas so he’s going to take over Santa’s whole operation.

Reply to  John Endicott
January 10, 2019 8:49 am

Annexation to mitigate collateral damage from an elf meltdown and refugee crisis, respectively?

Reply to  John Endicott
January 10, 2019 9:43 am

Strong magnetic field is good, weak field not so, and as it happens N. Hemisphere’s field is strongest over Russia since 1998.
Here are trends in the decline of MF in central USA since 1800
At the current rate the field will loose 50% of its strength in about 50-100 years time
equalling current strength in the central area of the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly.
If decline continues then all kinds of satellites (weather, military, GPS, etc ) may be affected by solar radiation to cause a degree of concern.

Reply to  vukcevic
January 10, 2019 6:35 pm

I vote for something cyclical. We just don’t know it’s frequency nor amplitude yet. 🙂

Steve O
January 10, 2019 8:17 am

The pole has been moving at an accelerating rate, but the rate of movement may have peaked. It’s interesting to think where the magnetic pole might be in 100 years.

Tom Halla
January 10, 2019 8:23 am

Aren’t any other countries scientific establishments other than those of the US monitoring this? Chuck and Nancy cannot hold up the EU or Japanese budget appropriations.

Reply to  Tom Halla
January 10, 2019 9:03 am

I was wondering the same thing. Is the United States the only country that do science on a global scale?

Reply to  littlepeaks
January 10, 2019 9:14 am

” The United States” is the only country that they thought they could continue holding hostage..

Eric H
January 10, 2019 8:26 am

Judging by the graphic, it looks like the change between 2000-2010 was greater than the predicted change from 2010-2015…

January 10, 2019 8:45 am

Democratic dysfunction is a first-order forcing of statistically significant climate change and disruption of the reconcilable field. If it persists as a politically congruent construct, it may even be extrapolated with catastrophic effect to the nation and Earth., which necessitated the formation of an IFDD (Internet Forum on Democratic Dysfunction). Democracy is, after all, the next best thing to every other known political ideology.

January 10, 2019 9:05 am

No doubt that Ocasio-Cortez will blame this on CO2 emissions. It’s at least as plausible as blaming CO2 emissions for catastrophic warming.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  co2isnotevil
January 10, 2019 10:03 am

Plotting pole distance moved versus the MLO CO2 record would probably be a > 0.9 correlation.
For some hilarious spurious correlations, go here:


Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 10, 2019 6:45 pm

But… but… but… In the graph Age of Miss America vs. Murders Steam, Hot Vapours and Hot Objects don’t you see the 2009 divergence? Clearly there is an existential crisis that requires $billions of research! Just send those research dollars to ME and I will solve it for you fast!

January 10, 2019 9:10 am

Hmmm, notice it is swinging to the RIGHT, like most sensible countries right now….The “Trump Effect” is truly amazing ! IMHO…..

January 10, 2019 9:19 am

More detailed explanation might be helpful.
Geomagnetic North pole has hardly moved in the last 100 years
http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/education/poles.html (blue marker)
Earth’s North magnetic field is bifurcated (there are two ‘north poles’), i.e. it has two location of extreme intensity one west of Hudson Bay and the other in Central Siberia, north of lake Baikal.
what is happening here is that the Canadian ‘pole’ is weakening and the Russian ‘pole’ is getting stronger, the crossover time point was during 1995-1998 three year period.
Geomagnetic axes (see blue marks in the first link) is nearly stationary and is defined by location of magnetic vortices circulation within liquid core, which they are moving very slowly due to asymmetrical inner core’s differential rotation (about 2 radial degrees/century) , but the intensity of circulation within vortices varies thus affecting intensity of (to put it in very simple terms) the’virtual magnetic bars’ responsible for the surface field intensity

Reply to  vukcevic
January 10, 2019 9:25 am

So Russia really did steal the North Pole!

Reply to  vukcevic
January 10, 2019 9:31 am

So we can blame this on Justin Trudeau ?

Reply to  vukcevic
January 10, 2019 10:35 am

Thanks for the detailed info! Had a look at your link: http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/education/poles.html

It seems that scientists cannot seem to come up with a model that accurately predicts the location of observed magnetic “dip” poles. It appears they aren’t even sure why the models don’t work. I guess that makes sense — if they knew what was wrong with the model there’d be a chance of fixing it.

At least in this case they admit the problem exists.

Reply to  Observer
January 10, 2019 10:52 am

NOAA-BGS give a ‘forecast’ to the nearest quintile, which is reasonable since field intensity changes slowly at most of the time.
If a reliable longer term prediction can be made according to this
we might be able to make a guess (and only a guess) where the global temperature is heading in the near future.

Smart Rock
Reply to  vukcevic
January 10, 2019 6:14 pm

Oh my my, Vuk. This is your best yet. I can sort of, kind of, start to visualize a causal relationship between global temps and magnetic field strength. It would have to do with cosmic rays, cloud nucleations and other stuff that’s outside my area of knowledge.

Terrestrial magnetic field as a driver of temperature! Makes a bit more sense than CO2 doing all the work.

Keep up the good work, Mr. Vukcevic. Sir.

Reply to  Observer
January 10, 2019 11:14 am

“It appears they aren’t even sure why the models don’t work. ”
I think the basic model they use is fundamentally wrong since it is based on cylindrical circulation
Few years ago I proposed that a ‘conical’ vortex circulation is considered
the GMF scientists might be able to gain a better perspective, but my suggestion was dismissed as not realistic.

Reply to  vukcevic
January 11, 2019 3:57 am

tsk tsk…your’e not being a good boy and following “concensus”
keep up the good work;-)

January 10, 2019 9:24 am

So, the North Magetic Pole has crossed the International Date Line between the North Pole and the Bering Strait.

Well, fine. That means I don’t have to worry about it until tomorrow.

Another Paul
Reply to  RACookPE1978
January 10, 2019 9:57 am

“That means I don’t have to worry about it until tomorrow” That, or it’s yesterday’s news?

January 10, 2019 9:28 am

You Americans have a funny country. I know of no other developed country where the government shuts down. Is it a bug or a feature? Meanwhile I am shut out of NOOA paleoclimate datasets. Can’t complain since I no longer pay taxes in the US, though.

If this continues for long, climate scientists might not be able to tell us all the horrors that await us by 2100 AD.

Reply to  Javier
January 10, 2019 9:42 am

Just goes to show you how much “government” is really necessary, or rather unnecessary, to run a country. I haven’t noticed anything different that affects me or can’t wait….. nor have the vast majority of Americans.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Javier
January 10, 2019 9:49 am

It’s a feature. GISS and NCAR are on furlough. Their supercomputers are grounded. Their Climate Scam is on hiatus until they get more tax money. Sadly, DOE has its full budget so the cargo cultists modellers at LLNL are still at it.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 10, 2019 10:33 am

TSA running smooth here at PHX this morning.

Floyd Doughty
Reply to  Javier
January 10, 2019 9:52 am

Definitely a feature.

Reply to  Javier
January 10, 2019 6:56 pm

I’m definitely grumpy about it. Two things I needed to look up, one was a temperature set for a specific location so I could try to normalize energy consumption against weather, and the other was the updates to the tables at the end of NIST 135, the ones that detail how to determine NPV of energy savings, neither one could be reached. Which I think is just nuts, can’t they just set the website on auto before they go out the door for vacation (and yes it is a vacation cuz you know the legislation that puts an end to all this will include funding to retroactively pay all the government workers that were furloughed even though they were forbidden to do any work). In fact, just leaving it alone and walking out would have left it running, instead they took time to shut it all down and now we’ll probably have a union grievance to get them paid even though they’ll get paid anyway.

January 10, 2019 9:31 am

I am sure the Russians won’t stop moving the Magnetic North Pole until all the compasses on Earth point to Putin’s ass.

January 10, 2019 9:46 am

I haven’t updated this, perhaps I should.

Drifting magnetic pole and global temperatures


Appreciate any comments, as I couldn’t find a cause.

Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2019 10:10 am


Reply to  Adrian Kerton
January 10, 2019 10:11 am

Adrian, perhaps you have the causality reversed. It is possible that climate change affects the position of the North Pole, since it is already known to affect the speed of rotation (length-of-day).

The Earth has all sort of funny movements like the Chandler wobble. It is not outlandish to think some of them might affect the position of the North Pole, and it is not outlandish to think that climate changes might affect that process through changes in the Angular Momentum of the Atmosphere. It is surprising what a rotating body will do to preserve its angular momentum.

Reply to  Adrian Kerton
January 10, 2019 12:30 pm

I plotted similar with Excel some time ago and wondered the same. Coincidence? Changing regional crust thickness dynamics? Hadn’t thought of potential top down changes whether cause or effect or field strength changes. Don’t think the energetics add up though… and all too easy to find correlations. But is interesting.

Michael S. Kelly, LS, BSA, Ret.
Reply to  Adrian Kerton
January 10, 2019 4:16 pm

@Adrian Kerton: Just to round out the discussion, here’s a nifty little paper I just found that estimates energy input into the earth’s atmosphere from every source known (at least to the author). I’ve wondered about all of these myself from time to time, and was pleased to find this paper, and its references.

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly, LS, BSA, Ret.
January 12, 2019 4:32 am

Thanks for the comments folks, I checked out the models for the magnetic core but couldn’t find any references to the ocean currents moving mass around and affecting the movement.

Mark - Helsinki
January 10, 2019 10:35 am

“Acting up” How very scientific, and “liquid iron sloshing within the planet’s core” also very scientific… not

ugh UGH

January 10, 2019 10:52 am

Per a news article on Fox News:

And, as global warming opens up more shipping lanes to the north of Russia and Canada, this presents a potentially deadly problem.

I just knew that the media had to include something about global warming.

John Endicott
Reply to  littlepeaks
January 10, 2019 12:27 pm

And fox is probably the least alarmist among the major US news outlets

Joel O'Bryan
January 10, 2019 11:25 am

The younger generation won’t get your Mr Bill Oh Noes reference.

SNL’s Mr Bill on safety:

January 10, 2019 11:25 am

0.0013% from budget to the wall is too much for Demokrats. And that money would or at least 40% goes to taxes in short term and back to federal covernment. At the same time illegal immigration costs 130 billion. WTF

January 10, 2019 11:27 am

No doubt that idiots like Ocasio-Cortez will blame this on CO2 emissions. It’s at least as plausible as blaming CO2 emissions for catastrophic warming.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
January 11, 2019 4:00 am

See https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/01/10/oh-noes-government-shutdown-imperils-earths-magnetic-field/#comment-2584708 below for my contribution in keeping the alarmism of the ‘humans as a global catastrophe’ running.
I freely allow Ocasio-Cortez, and any other straw-brained cAGW advocate use it as another ‘theory’ to try and destroy industry while overtaxing us.

jim heath
January 10, 2019 11:50 am

The pole’s going to Russia! gees you can’t leave anything lying around these days.

Reply to  jim heath
January 10, 2019 3:21 pm

Can the good souls coming up from Mexico – until The Wall is Built, of course – be persuaded to follow the Magnetic North Pole, and trot along until they are Poisoner Putin’s problem?
If, as I suspect, they won’t (for a start – the weather there is coolish, I gather, for some of the year), then perhaps the Canadians – or those called Trudeau, at least – might put them up?

Just asking – enquiring minds want to know.


Poor Yorek
January 10, 2019 11:57 am

Get on the horn to call Danger Mouse!

Baron Silas Greenback is at it again at the North Pole.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Poor Yorek
January 10, 2019 4:14 pm

I tried.

Colonel K doesn’t seem to be answering my calls.

Poor Yorek
Reply to  Craig from Oz
January 10, 2019 7:26 pm

Ha! My favourite Col. K line was: “Is Penfold there with you DM? Oh, well, can’t be helped.”

Sceptical lefty
January 10, 2019 2:51 pm

I believe that the anomalous shift is caused by excessive emissions of anthropogenic CO2.

It’s worse than we thought and will require more funding to study the problem.

January 10, 2019 2:51 pm

If as the Experts” “tell us that the Sun is going through a quiet period, then its magnetic field, which does reach h the Earth, may have something to do with it.


nw sage
January 10, 2019 5:46 pm

The common theory of all that iron sloshing about may or may not be true. The Curie point is the temperature at which a ‘normally’ magnetic material loses its magnetic properties. As far as I know, the temperatures of the earth’s core far exceeds the Curie point for Iron, therefore it is reasonable to postulate that the usual magnetic properties do not exist within the Iron core.

January 10, 2019 6:34 pm

Did they blame the pole shift on Trump Yet ???

Reply to  Eben
January 10, 2019 7:32 pm

If they haven’t I’m sure they will. But don’t worry, he’ll “negotiate” it back again! 😀

Jeffrey P Price
January 10, 2019 10:17 pm

Obviously, there are only two possible causes. Global climate change or Aliens.

The navigation workarounds, A good chart, a compass, a sextant, and chronometer. Or an ancient South Sea Islander to read the waves.

January 11, 2019 1:38 am

I’m sure there’s a connection between the magnetic storm and proposals to build a long line of steel posts along the US border… obviously going to be used to channel that magnetic force…!

Does the alignment of the US border point at China?

Johann Wundersamer
January 11, 2019 3:28 am

Maybe they can put Robert Mueller on the case… Looks like a clear example of Russia collusion…

So Russia manipulates US data while the US distorts it’s own data to mislead the EU and East Europe.


January 11, 2019 3:52 am

Not enough alarmism in this report.

Human generated CO2 has heated the magnetic core so much that it’s magnetically depolarizing. The magnetic core is now becoming more unsustainable, and it’s all due to Anthropogenic Climate Change !
Only the UN can save us now!


do I need a sarc tag?

Reply to  tom0mason
January 11, 2019 4:06 am

or some idiot will copy/paste and stick it on fbk or twits and call it real

William Holder
January 11, 2019 6:05 am

Is this the cause of Global Warming (read; periods of slightly warmer and cooler temperatures)? It’s interesting the “upward” movement through the 30s, the descending movement thereafter (cooling?) and again up over the last few decades.

An article in the Daily Mail included this snippet.

The Earth’s climate could also change. A recent Danish study has found that the earth’s weather has been significantly affected by the planet’s magnetic field.
They claimed that fluctuations in the number of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere directly alter the amount of cloud covering the planet.
Henrik Svensmark, a weather scientist at the Danish National Space Centre who led the team behind the research, believes that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

William Holder
Reply to  William Holder
January 11, 2019 12:55 pm

Apparently Mr. Kerton speculates similarly above (I didn’t read all the comments before posting). But what if it is neither cause nor effect but rather 2 effects.

Reply to  William Holder
January 12, 2019 4:45 am

Again thanks for the comments
The cosmic ray ideas are most interesting including.
Possible impact of the Earth’s magnetic field on the history of ancient civilizations
Yves Gallet et al,
Are there connections between the Earth’s magnetic field and climate?
Vincent Courtillot et al,
One of the papers attributed the last ice age to the earth passing through an intense cosmic ray bombardment that increased cloud cover.

Russ Wood
January 12, 2019 7:30 am

Oddly enough, in my software engineering days, I had to build the WMM into our Air Traffic Control software, in order to translate a ‘true’ heading or bearing (on the stereographic plane we plotted in) into the magnetic version required for the aircraft’s navigation. So, I had to get updates of the model every few years. I sort of wonder if my old employers have a maintenance programmer who knows about this? We don’t want aircraft wandering off, do we?

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