Shifting North Magnetic Pole is affecting everything from cell phones to submarines

Normally the World Magnetic Model is updated every 5 years, but the North Magnetic Pole is changing position so fast, regular updates are now required.

Earth’s magnetic field is changing so quickly that researchers have been forced to update to the World Magnetic Model ahead of schedule. Developed by NOAA and the British Geological Survey, the model is widely used for precision navigation of devices ranging from nuclear submarines to the common smartphone. Your own phone may be affected.


Pick up your cell phone and look at it. That rectangular marvel of modern technology contains thousands of lines of code. Among them is the World Magnetic Model (WMM)–a program that helps your phone navigate. And it’s in a bit of trouble. Researchers have announced that the WMM needs an emergency update because Earth’s magnetic field is changing.

Savvy backcountry hikers have long known that compass needles don’t really point north. The magnetic north pole is displaced hundreds of miles from the true north pole and, to make matters worse, it wanders unpredictably from year to year. To find true north in the continental USA, you have to correct compass directions by as much as 20 degrees using a special “declination table.”

The World Magnetic Model is a computer program that makes this correction for you. It improves the navigation of devices ranging from nuclear submarines to common smartphones.

“The WMM is the standard magnetic model used for navigation by organizations such as NATO, the Ministry of Defence, and the US Department of Defense, and also by smartphone operating systems such as Android and iOS,” explains Will Brown of the British Geological Survey’s Geomagnetism Team, which produces the model in collaboration with NOAA of the USA.

Full story here on

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January 17, 2019 8:51 am

Let me guess…there is a model that shows a correlation with CO2 in the atmosphere, or maybe the oceans.

Reply to  Thom
January 17, 2019 1:28 pm

And it’s Trump’s fault

Reply to  Mark
January 17, 2019 3:32 pm

That fargging bastich!

Reply to  2hotel9
January 18, 2019 1:55 pm


Reply to  R2Dtoo
January 18, 2019 3:28 pm

Really? Nobody can tag that movie line? That makes me sad, almost as sad as going to a neighbor’s door and asking to borrow a cup of bullets. How many clues do people really need?

Michael S. Kelly, LS, BSA, Ret.
Reply to  2hotel9
January 18, 2019 6:39 pm

Johnny Dangerously. “It’s an 88 Magnum.” “It shoots through schools.”

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly, LS, BSA, Ret.
January 19, 2019 8:13 am

Always loved them pealing the paper off the car during the chase.

And another, to keep it lite and lively. 220, 221, whatever it takes.

Craig Austin
Reply to  Thom
January 18, 2019 6:48 am

North and South only? What about directionally fluid and non binary navigation?

Larry in Texas
January 17, 2019 8:57 am

I was wondering why my cell phone wasn’t picking up my Wi-Fi when I woke up this morning. Lol!

I would have thought GPS would have been enough for both positioning and direction finding. Or is that also dependent upon the World Magnetic Model.

Reply to  Larry in Texas
January 17, 2019 10:31 am

White Hat: I just read that the Earth’s North magnetic pole is drifting rapidly.
Cueball: Oh no! I must update our declination tables post haste, lest our merchant schooners run aground on the shoals! link

Ever since the mid-20th century, we’ve had electronic positioning systems that obviated the need for magnetic compasses as a primary navigational aid. More recently, we’ve had GPS. For aircraft, the magnetic compass is one of the instruments that still works without electricity. link It is for last ditch emergency use.

Reply to  commieBob
January 17, 2019 3:33 pm

You normally set the vacuum operated heading indicator from the Magnetic compass. Now when you are flying IFR your alternate airport must have a non GPS based approach. The reason being that if there is a problem at your first airport due to GPS signal issues, then the same problem may exist at the alternate as well. So you need to have an ILS, VOR or perhaps a NDB approach, but not that many pilots know how to do an NDB approach these days.

Now is you get a vacuum pump failure then you have to be able to fly partial panel. That means you have to use the compass instead of the heading indicator and the compass only works in straight and level flight. You have to use the turn coordinator and time your turns.

Reply to  James
January 17, 2019 4:09 pm

If you still have a radio, you can call the nearest tower and get a DF bearing. That entails announcing to the whole world that you’re lost but it beats the alternative.

The lostest I ever saw was a guy I picked up on a road north of Lake Superior where he’d made an emergency landing. He thought he was in the vicinity of Lake Winnipeg. Per your comment on NDB navigation, I think he was trying to use AM radio stations for that purpose.

The CBC has a whole bunch of low power AM repeaters. That makes trying to use those for direction finding confusing and therefore dangerous. I think that may be what happened to buddy on the highway.

Reply to  commieBob
January 17, 2019 9:52 pm

The only time I did anything like that was when flying back to my home airport at night, unbeknown to me the airport beacon light had gone out. However, a nearby airport beacon was on a few miles away, it was in the right direction so I flew towards it thinking I was heading home. When I got there I realized that it wasn’t the right airport, I knew where I was though so I was able to get my bearings and head home by dead reckoning (only a few miles overshoot). When I got in sight of the home airport I saw that the beacon was out and realized what had happened. Before the days of GPS of course.

Reply to  commieBob
January 18, 2019 8:35 am

I did a lot of things wrong but apparently I got just enough correct. So I’m night flying to an unfamiliar airport (Marathon) It’s hazy and all I can see is the cone of ground under me. The first indication that I’m in the cloud is the propeller strobing from the aircraft stobe. I had flight following and confessed to ATC. VFR into IFR at night I knew the statistics were not good. ATC had a 737 probe and directed me away from the clouds but of course my navigation is now off. I later found that Marathon had an omni I could of used. I had called the airport before takeoff and they said they’re beacon was good but I couldn’t find it. I circled out to the reef marker and started keying to turn on the runway lights. After I finally found the runway by flying the runway heading; had a normal but sweaty palm landing. Corporate jet lands just after me. The pilots get out and I ask where the beacon is. They pointed it, was essentially next to where I parked, the beacon was not on. Of course they had better instrumentation; I asked how they found the airport. They answered we were following you.

Reply to  commieBob
January 19, 2019 1:56 pm

They answered we were following you.


Marathon had a paper mill and the smell of sulfur was overwhelming. One of the fishing boats from down the lake got storm stayed in Marathon harbor for a while. It took about a week to clean the rust off the gear.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  commieBob
January 17, 2019 6:18 pm

I find Randall and his XKCD mildly confusing.

On one hand he is switched on enough to know a magnetic pole joke when there is one to be made, but on the other he is a shameless warmist who denied the existence of the entire Medieval Warm Period.

So I decided that rather than be confused it was simpler to just reading him.

michael hart
Reply to  Craig from Oz
January 17, 2019 8:54 pm

That so many apparently sensible and educated people like him go along with the dogma strikes me as one of the enigmas of our time. Many people I used to respect.

It was around about 1979 that it first seemed heuristically obvious to me that constructing a computer model that could represent the climate of the planet well enough to usefully predict how it would change with increasing CO2, was exceedingly unlikely. After all, they hadn’t admitted to being able to model the climate before that, with or without extra CO2.
Almost everything (a long list) that has transpired since then has confirmed that view. Yet I sometimes wonder if people like him ever went through a similar thought process, but maybe chanced upon some information that caused them to change their mind, and what that might have been.

Reply to  commieBob
January 19, 2019 4:12 am

Many years ago I worked for Decca Navigator. I wonder if my old job will come back. 🙂

Curious George(@moudryj)
Reply to  Larry in Texas
January 17, 2019 11:07 am

Don’t underestimate the gravity of this situation. To keep up with the wandering magnetic pole, all cell towers will have to move every four years … or what is the spaceweather telling us?

Reply to  Curious George
January 17, 2019 12:14 pm

They have no clue. GPS is about a zillion times more accurate than anything involving magnetic compasses.

Reply to  commieBob
January 17, 2019 3:58 pm


But this is an “emergency” reaction. In other words, they didn’t anticipate it, or they did and ignored it.

But like everything else earth like, we really don’t have a clue what’s going on, particularly as regards climate as this emergency adjustment affects everything.

In other words, no one anticipated its tiny effect on climate they hitherto claimed they understood to 0.001%.


Jim Masterson
Reply to  HotScot
January 17, 2019 4:25 pm

In other words, no one anticipated its tiny effect on climate they hitherto claimed they understood to 0.001%.

Your statement is probably true. But I think “they” believe “they” understand the climate 99.999%. It’s obvious “they” don’t (if “they” refers to climatologists).


Reply to  Curious George
January 18, 2019 7:33 am

I can’t understand why they don’t have a computer model of the evolving magnetic field of Earth which would (obviously) provide predictions accurate to within one or two thousandths of a degree.
Who are these clowns?
Michael Mann could stick his finger in a tree hole and figure this out in no time.

Carl Yee
Reply to  john
January 19, 2019 8:37 pm

I see the nose of the sarcasm dragon coming into the picture. But, IIRC, the magnetic deviation is not a predictable phenomenon and can only be plotted from observation, not prediction?

January 17, 2019 8:59 am

Trump gave it (North Magnetic Pole) to the Russians to help him get elected! TRUMP IS TO BLAME! TRUMP!

Reply to  Glen
January 17, 2019 9:10 am

Probably should add a sarc tag to that… even though it’s kinda obvious.

Doug Huffman(@doughuffman)
Reply to  SMC
January 17, 2019 9:13 am

No. Sarcasm would cause a meltdown for its discriminatory nature denying the equality of all opinion.

Reply to  Doug Huffman
January 17, 2019 9:16 am

Oh the irony.

Reply to  SMC
January 17, 2019 9:39 am

Oh, the sarcasm

Reply to  Glen
January 17, 2019 11:17 am

Ha ha ! Pootun’ is annexing the magnetic north pole. US is so slow to catch on that it will be safely inside Siberia before they realize what is happening.

Reply to  Greg
January 17, 2019 11:25 am

WH has instructed Treasury Dept to draw up a list of sanctions aimed at Russian individuals and entities involved in the magnet industry .

James Bull
Reply to  Greg
January 17, 2019 3:58 pm

That’s why they built all those ice breakers they’re towing it towards Russia.

James Bull

Reply to  Glen
January 17, 2019 11:22 am

The speed up was from 1980 to 2000, Then it kinda plateau’d now it is slowing down again. Sound like anything else we know?

A bit too late to say OMG it’s speeding up .

Reply to  Glen
January 18, 2019 7:36 am

But the Russians are to blame for Trump, so it’s a chicken and egg kinda thing, I guess. Pretty clear Saint Hillary was the right choice all along. Next time you guys have a candidate who looks like a lying, self serving opportunist-I guess you should vote for her.

January 17, 2019 9:04 am

It’s a problem for those of us who point satellite antennas for a living (not the DVB type, a signal that has a broad footprint). The math becomes even more complicated when you are pointing at a satellite from a moving platform, such as an aircraft. That’s some number crunching there. I guess there is less free lunch now.

Doug Huffman(@doughuffman)
January 17, 2019 9:11 am

Magnetic influence inside a ferrous alloy hull? Why did we bother developing inertial navigation?

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Doug Huffman
January 17, 2019 9:40 am

Yes . Decades ago . And do they think no subs ever go close to the pole ? ( north is DOWN ? )
Are they really this clueless ?

Earl Smith
Reply to  Doug Huffman
January 17, 2019 9:55 am

Back in the ’60s I served on a US sub that was built with a magnetic compass for navigating. Without authorization for a gyro to give us good bearings. After a little moonlight expedition we located a damaged tank gyro that was in the scrapyard. After the exchange of several cans of coffee the sergeant at the scrapyard let us have the junk (submarines have a much large allowance for food to keep morale high). So with that junk gyro in hand we turned it in to the Navy supply system for replacement. Thus minimizing the magnetic compass inside a steel hull problem.

Reply to  Earl Smith
January 17, 2019 2:24 pm

Every armed force worth its salt is expert in getting things done in spite of the bureaucracy’s best efforts to keep them from being done.

I can’t find the link but it has been said that Yankee farm boys were much better at getting tanks and jeeps running than were the city bred Germans in WW2.

Richard Patton
Reply to  commieBob
January 17, 2019 3:12 pm

I’ve been doing some reading on WWII recently. Both the Japanese and the Germans suffered from the same problem. They had to get the technology perfect, while the Yanks just good enough to do the job and then produce the heck out of what they made.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Richard Patton
January 17, 2019 6:09 pm

One of the misunderstood aspects of WW2 is just how under mechanised the German forces actually were. While the panzers attracted all the attention they were a relatively small part of the greater army and when people talked about the jackboot marching all over Europe they were actually being literal.

Vast majority of the German army walked while their artillery was horse drawn.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
January 18, 2019 7:49 am

The Germans were very rail dependent, as well as moving much of their forces on foot. When the Allies came into France they had to be able to move mass amounts of material without a rail system, since we had actively destroyed much of it. Hence our massive numbers of various transport vehicles.

Photos and film of German forces going across eastern Europe in the invasion of Russian territory illustrate the point clearly, columns of soldiers 3-4 abreast stretching for miles while mech elements rush forward, and bringing up the rear are supply transport, again heavily dependent on captured rail, which being of a narrower gauge caused other problems.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Richard Patton
January 17, 2019 6:50 pm

Yes, it was the same with radar. The Germans were being too precise with their engineering adjustments and tuning where the Brits used a hammer.

Reply to  Doug Huffman
January 17, 2019 1:58 pm

Yes, of course. We used SINS, but we never confessed to them!

(ship’s inertial navigation system).

January 17, 2019 9:13 am

There’s been quite a lot of hand wringing over this for the past few weeks. Looks like much ado about very little.

Reply to  SMC
January 17, 2019 11:35 am

they are about 20 years too late for the “OMG it’s moving faster than ever : it’s worse than we thought” move.

Anyone with half a brain can look at the graph and realise it has been SLOWING DOWN since Y2K.

Of course the journos pushing this BS do not have the half-a-brain in question and can’t read a simple plot like that.

Anyway that does not matter since all you need to do is to say that something is not same any more and it is implicitly understood that it is in some the fault of mankind burning coal and eating too much red meat.

Reply to  Greg
January 17, 2019 1:11 pm

it has been SLOWING DOWN since Y2K.

And to think, there are still people who claim that Y2K caused no problems.

Reply to  Greg
January 17, 2019 9:11 pm

Excellent, I will remember that one.

January 17, 2019 9:15 am

Thing is, to compare smartphone navigation (inaccuracies) with nuclear subs and intercontinental ballistic missile is kind of like comparing the “accuracy” of Uncle Bill’s wooden pop-gun sight to a 20× Leupold gunsight on a 0.277 magnum competition rifle. All of us have Uncle Bill’s smartphones. Only the rarest few of us depend in any meaningful way on the precision of knowing magnetic north declination tables. Ever. Especially in the GPS enabled SmartPhone era.

Seriously, if there was ever a “non article”, this is close to it.
And moreover, tying the oh-noes we’re-all-going to-die lack of updates … to the gub’mint shutdown?
Pure pölïtical hubris.

Just saying,

Kevin McNeill
Reply to  GoatGuy
January 17, 2019 11:10 am

The people in SAR know that sooner or later the battery in your GPS will die at the most inopportune time so we all carry a magnetic compass knowledge of tbe correct declination is important. On the otber hand if everyone uses the same declination you will all arrive at the same wrong point much like modern climate science

bill johnston
Reply to  GoatGuy
January 17, 2019 4:11 pm

Analogous to male bovine excrement.

January 17, 2019 9:18 am

Wally Campbell has pointed out that these reported positions are neither magnetic poles nor geophysically important positions:

The pole “position” depends on altitude and its importance depends on the use made of it.
At the surface, the pole positions are influenced by local near-surface variations. At altitude those variations diminish rapidly and the pole position varies a lot less. Seen by the solar wind the geomagnetic field is very nearly dipolar and the pole positions have almost not moved in recent times.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
January 17, 2019 11:42 am

No problem, but can you explain how that works?
I can’t see how the EU cookie policy prevents remembering me…

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
January 17, 2019 12:01 pm

Indeed, I use plenty of sites with cookies which insist I say OK since that cEU reg ame in and they have no problem remember from one post to the next what my name and email is.

I thought this all started when the site got attacked a few months back and our host had to reconstruct everything. I concluded that this was just one thing which got lost to an increased work load as being non essential.

Having to re-enter name and email at every post is indeed annoying.

Reply to  Greg
January 17, 2019 12:12 pm

Mildly annoying. My phone remembers what I normally type in the fields, and offers that. All I usually need to do is tap it.


Reply to  Greg
January 17, 2019 12:21 pm

Interesting, my firefux usually does the autofill but not on this site. Truely annoying.

Richard Patton
Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
January 17, 2019 3:17 pm

My Ram Truck has a magnetic compass in it and there is one underpass that when I go under it says I’m going due west when I’m going due north. There are several other areas here in town where the local influences overwhelm any magnetic north my compass detects. The GPS on my phone gives me my true direction +/- a degree or so. (Of course when I’m not moving it has no clue what direction I’m going-sometimes I can say the same about myself)

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
January 19, 2019 12:17 pm

Thank you for your post, Dr. S!

The link cited in the article is not pay walled, however, a certification error prevents navigation to your site, and instead, is redirected to a site advertising “Income Share Agreements platform for schools that make a difference.”

Reply to  migueldelrio
January 19, 2019 3:39 pm
Reply to  migueldelrio
January 20, 2019 1:04 am

I see. Google has taken down the world wide web address for

Richard Patton
Reply to  migueldelrio
January 20, 2019 10:57 am

Actually Google has nothing to do with it. Leif’s page is a sub page on’s website. At that bottom of the page is a link to get to Leif’s stuff.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
January 22, 2019 11:08 am

Sorry, Leif – do you mean that this surface change of the NMP, does not effect the overall (higher altitude) position of the NMP ? And therefore the magnetic variation used in navigation is not changing??


Reply to  ralfellis
January 22, 2019 12:48 pm

do you mean that this surface change of the NMP, does not effect the overall (higher altitude) position of the NMP
The NMP position changes a lot with altitude as the spatially small field components rapidly decrease with altitude. For practical use near the surface this doesn’t matter, but for spacecraft it makes a big difference.

Richard Patton
Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
January 22, 2019 1:29 pm

It sounds like this hype is a big nothing burger.

January 17, 2019 9:25 am

Downside: the magnetic North pole is moving
Upside: the magnetic North pole is more accurate (vs actual North pole) than anytime in my lifetime

Steven Fraser
Reply to  Neo
January 17, 2019 9:31 am

Especially true if you are in London. Mag north is now right up the Prime Meridien.

Steven Fraser
Reply to  Steven Fraser
January 17, 2019 9:47 am

Paris is prety close, too.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Steven Fraser
January 17, 2019 10:24 am

My first quick read thought you said Prime Minister.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
January 17, 2019 11:17 am

Excuse me, our PM is ‘strong and stable’, no-one manages to change her mind despite the fact she is trying to do what she doesn’t believe in, they tried to get rid of her about three times in the last couple of years and dismally failed.

Reply to  vukcevic
January 17, 2019 11:52 am

That is because no one wants the poisoned chalice of Brexit, not because she is doing a good job.

She just suffered a commons defeat that has not been seen for something like 150 years. MP’s came back the next day to express confidence in her govt. The only reason for that is that no one wants the job and the Tories are hardly going to vote themselves out of a job.

Do you see Bumbling Boris or Gollum Gore or Jacob Reeks Smeg chomping at the bit for a chance to be PM ? No, it is a political death sentence until this is resolved. Whatever way it goes, they will keep their ugly heads down until danger is past.

so , yes, Theresa Maybe is safe in her “stable” job as globalist stooge, betraying the nation of Great Britain by capitulating to the non-elected bureaucrats and “negotiating” a deal that absolutely NO ONE will accept , whatever they think about Brexit.

The aim is create an impasse where a second referendum becomes acceptable. To do this she will have to go throught to the end saying she is opposed to a second vote, while doing everything in her power to ensure that is what happens.

… since you asked 😉

Reply to  vukcevic
January 17, 2019 12:08 pm

Of course May is still in. Both sides still think they have a win-win with her. Those who want Brexit think she’ll either make a good deal that gives Britain it’s freedom or they’ll leave with no deal, which would be good enough. The Remainers think she’ll either make a good deal that keeps them virtually tide to the EU or there will be NO deal, letting them declare the need for a new Referendum that they can then better control this time.


Reply to  Steven Fraser
January 17, 2019 12:06 pm

right up the Prime Meridien.

It sounds like there’s great insult in there somewhere. And if you don’t like it, you can stick it right up your prime meridian.

January 17, 2019 9:44 am

Looking at its current location, it seems to be that even if it is moving faster, with respect to the United States of America, large movements will have the least affect on actual angular error than any period in history.

January 17, 2019 9:47 am

,,,and somehow they still found Florida in 1900

Hans Erren
January 17, 2019 9:52 am

Satnav doesn’t use magnetics

Randy Stubbings
January 17, 2019 9:54 am

I just caught a headline that said, “Magnetic pole moving faster than at any time in human history.” In other words, we have an “unprecedented” change in the location of the pole. A 30 second side-trip to reveals that we measured its location for the first time in 1831. The second time we measured it was in 1904. The two locations were about 50 km apart, but no one knows how far it might have wandered between those two years. It turns out that the field is also about twice as strong today as the million-year average. Also from the NASA website:

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

Probably not. As remarkable as these changes sound, “they’re mild compared to what Earth’s magnetic field has done in the past,” says University of California professor Gary Glatzmaier. Sometimes the field completely flips. The north and the south poles swap places. Such reversals, recorded in the magnetism of ancient rocks, are unpredictable. They come at irregular intervals averaging about 300,000 years; the last one was 780,000 years ago. Are we overdue for another? No one knows.

Reply to  Randy Stubbings
January 17, 2019 9:17 pm

” about 1 degree per decade” WOW, that’s ten times faster than global warming . Why is no one taking this cereally ?

Hans Erren
Reply to  Randy Stubbings
January 19, 2019 2:20 am
Randy Stubbings
Reply to  Hans Erren
January 21, 2019 3:14 pm

Thanks, Hans. Interesting read.

January 17, 2019 9:54 am

There two areas of strong field, one slightly to the west of Hudson Bay in Canada and the other is located north of lake Baikal in central Siberia.
Canadian ‘ pole’ has been loosing it’s strength during last couple of centuries while Siberia is gaining intensity, the cross over took place around 1995.
Nothing has physically moved as far as two centres of strong field are concerned except that two vorteces driving the field have variable velocity.
It’s a bit like a kitchen scales ad just a little bit on one side and take a bit off on the other side and scales will tip over quickly. Nothing inside the planet has physically moved its latitude by 30 degrees during the last 120 years, if it did we would have felt it
What is causing change in the balance ?
a- isostatic postglacial uplifting in Canada or
b- the Earth’s inner core differential rotation.

Reply to  vukcevic
January 17, 2019 10:26 am

There two areas of strong field, one slightly to the west of Hudson Bay in Canada and the other is located north of lake Baikal in central Siberia.
They are due to local smaller scale fields in the core. With increasing altitude those disappear and seen by the solar wind the Earth’s field is very nearly dipolar and the poles have scarcely moved at all,

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
January 17, 2019 10:44 am

absolutely agree, geomagnetic poles that determine geomagnetic axis have been almost static duringpast century.
Scare stories are half a penny nowdays

John Hedinger
January 17, 2019 9:58 am

Is this going to be a “Y2Knorth” kinda thing?

John W. Garrett
January 17, 2019 10:01 am

Marine navigators are used to the deviation of magnetic north from true north. The compass rose on paper charts has both magnetic and true bearings.

Hence the mnemonic:

True north +/-
Variation +/-
Magnetic +/-
Deviation +/-
Compass +/-
Add westerly (subtract easterly)

Jim Masterson
Reply to  John W. Garrett
January 17, 2019 10:11 am

The mnemonic I learned in the US Navy was:

And the converse:


January 17, 2019 10:04 am

Off topic a bit so apologize for that but a nice follow on to the Cuomo Green New Deal story

Just received a call from a local official reminding me that a back-flow device on the fire suppression system requires it’s annual inspection. Have spoken to him before. He recommends a particular contractor each time. If past experience holds up I will shortly receive a call from that contractor.

It isn’t billions of dollars but it explains the Green New Deal pretty well.

steve case
January 17, 2019 10:06 am

My Google Maps says i’m sitting in my neighbor’s living room across the street. It used to be right on the money.

Years ago 1982 the Aeronautical charts showed 0° north declination right up the middle of Lake Michigan which meant that a magnetic compass read pretty much true here in Milwaukee. Now the charts show Minneapolis sitting on the 0° line and we are 4° off.

January 17, 2019 10:06 am

There is a serious lack of alarmism. It should say: and the magnetic poles could reverse or flip (for Al Gore, that means tip over), and then it should imply that this will happen soon and we are all going to die. Like some of the claims that this article points out:

“even flushing the toilet could become impossible”
“would render parts of the planet uninhabitable”
“the strength of Earth’s magnetic field has been decreasing for the last 160 years at an alarming rate”
“The increased radiation, however, could mess with the navigation of satellites and aircraft as well as electrical power grids”

“What, me worry?” (MAD)

Tom Halla
January 17, 2019 10:18 am

I had no idea that GPS systems in common phones used magnetic north to determine position.

Reply to  Tom Halla
January 17, 2019 12:14 pm

who said they did ?

Reply to  Tom Halla
January 17, 2019 1:18 pm

They use the compass to orient the map that’s displayed on your phone.

Tim Beatty
January 17, 2019 10:37 am

It seems odd this is news. As a pilot, I get maps that update monthly and bi-annually and each region has the magnetic pole offset and drift rate. How is a paper map better updated than electronic maps? Doesn’t seem like this should be much of an issue.

jim heath
January 17, 2019 11:34 am

It’s amazing how this is dismissed when it’s actually happening, and Global Warming is treated as a religion and it’s not happening. down is up and up is down apparently.

Reply to  jim heath
January 17, 2019 12:19 pm

Look again, this ( alleged speed up ) is NOT happening , it HAS happened and we now see a slow down. the parallels to AGW are astounding as is the failure to read a graph and report the antithesis of what is actually happening.

Just par for the course to news media steeped in fake news and “alternative facts”.

Toby Nixon(@tobynixon)
January 17, 2019 12:20 pm

There ought to be a standard internet “magnetic pole location protocol” like the standard Network Time Protocol, and a service like the US Naval Observatory Master Clock server, so anyone at any time could do a simple query and receive the latitude and longitude of the magnetic poles. Then any internet-connected device could periodically or in real time apply the correct declination.

January 17, 2019 12:59 pm

Just on Stuff news N.Z. Can the north pole shifting be caused by climate change? Their persistent articles are becoming more and more unbelievable by the day.

Reply to  Billy N.Z.
January 17, 2019 1:18 pm

And in other breaking Stuff news,if you collect starfish from 940 meters under the Antarctic and throw them in a shallow tank,heat the water,the starfish grow slower. Wow,I love how my tax is paying for such accurate experiments. NOT.

bit chilly
Reply to  Billy N.Z.
January 17, 2019 4:39 pm

Billy, you have to provide a link to that one.Sounds a great paper/topic for baiting alarmists.

Reply to  bit chilly
January 17, 2019 5:43 pm

sorry bit chilly,I only have an old computer,can’t place links. But if you go to you will see a lot of propaganda articles. They print on average one a day. If you go to that is where the clown wrote the article on sea level rising 70 meters that his grandchildren will see. The study on starfish was done by Otago university. Good luck.

January 17, 2019 1:05 pm

I have been told that GDP signals from the GPS satellites are affected by the magnetic pole movements as well as solar wind. Is this correct?

Reply to  JimG1
January 17, 2019 1:17 pm

GPS not GDP. My tablet filling in, incorrectly, for me.

Matt G
January 17, 2019 1:07 pm

Not shown on here, but the magnetic north moved south during and just before the LIA until around the 19th century. While the magnetic north has moved north the recent modern climate emerged.

Moved north during recent modern warming and moved south during cooling leading to the Little Ice Age. (coldest period in last 10,000 years)

Coincidence the planet generally cools when magnetic north moves south and warms when magnetic north moves north?

Maybe/maybe not

If correct the magnetic north will move south again about from now, so does this mean future global cooling to follow?

Reply to  Matt G
January 17, 2019 1:28 pm

Published: November 15, 2018

New perspectives in the study of the Earth’s magnetic field and climate connection: The use of transfer entropy

The new results seem to support this hypothesis, with more information transferred from the SAA to the GSL time series, with about 90% of confidence level. This result provides new clues on the existence of a link between the geomagnetic field and the Earth’s climate in the past and on the physical mechanism involved because, thanks to the application of the transfer entropy, we have determined that the sense of the connection seems to go from the system that produces geomagnetic field to the climate system. Of course, the connection does not mean that the geomagnetic field is fully responsible for the climate changes, rather that it is an important driving component to the variations of the climate.

Reply to  Latitude
January 17, 2019 2:13 pm

As demonstrated by vukcevic at numerous occasions.
Correlation is negative so their statement kind makes sense, but I’m not well versed in entropy matter s

Matt G
Reply to  vukcevic
January 17, 2019 2:44 pm

Thanks for links.


Are you expecting μT to increase when magnetic north moves south again?

Reply to  Matt G
January 18, 2019 6:14 am

As Canadian ‘pole’ is diminishing in strength ‘magnetic dip pole, will be getting closer to the Siberian’pole’ whose strength is gradually increasing so field at dip pole is expected to increase too.

Bart Tali
January 17, 2019 2:10 pm

The magnetic pole shift may be a symptom of post-glacial rebound making changes to Earth’s gravity. As glaciers melt, the distribution of mass around the Earth changes.

These changes in gravity change the shape of the geoid, which may affect ocean currents. And ocean currents affect the climate.

January 17, 2019 2:22 pm

And if it flips over, for a while there may be no pole to point the compass to. Makes country backpacking difficult.

Flight Level
January 17, 2019 2:44 pm

We are days (hours ?) before Mrs. Occasio-Cortez and Mr Al Gore announce on a concerned press conference that we’re doomed due to global warming influence on magnetic north pole.

So unless you have extra disposable cash, no need to vote for new taxes.

No fears. It has been always so. Except that now we can update things much faster than adding new sheets of paper to binders.

There are more than one magnetic north poles, magnetism is a vector thing, several magneto anomalous zones add their effects. The resultant distribution of field gives what is known as magnetic pole.

Second, all big things in the air use inertial coupled to satellite navigation systems. Which are totally immune to magnetic variations.

Things become a concern for general “compass” aviation and situations where none of the vastly redundant navigation systems is serviceable.

Canadian media are free to panic as Canada has creative mixtures of true north and magnetic north rules.

As far as I know on the old continent only France has renamed few minor airport runaways to correct for their magnetic heading. Quite a decade ago.

Summary: – Business as usual, nothing new under the sun.

January 17, 2019 3:16 pm

Shifting North magnetic pole? Perhaps that explains Occasional-Cortex’s behavior!

Reply to  2hotel9
January 18, 2019 9:34 am

She must be bi-polar.

Reply to  beng135
January 18, 2019 3:24 pm

Oh, I think there are multiple axis of stupid involved there.

January 17, 2019 3:23 pm

If you should get lost, the basics are still the fact that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Look at the shadows and its easy to know approx. where the North and South is. T hen if you are still lost, find water and follow its flow, it will finally bring you to people.


[The mods do NOT recommend these practices be followed across most of northern Canada, Alaska, Russia, Mongolia, Australia, or the jungles of the Amazon, Congo, Mississippi, or Central FL. They do work near most major cities, and on both equinox days. .mod]

Reply to  Michael
January 17, 2019 3:31 pm

The basics still work! My wife is always amazed by how I can navigate around cities I have never been in before, and I always say”they are called maps” and I only need to check one for a few minutes to be able to operate in pretty much any place. Erratically placed one-way streets are the only real problem I usually have.

Reply to  Michael
January 17, 2019 9:38 pm

This is such obviously misguided advice.
Anyone who has ever seen a map knows that east and west are at 90 degrees from north.
Clearly, as the north moves, as any map will show you, then east and west are also moving.
If this keeps up, the sun will soon be rising and setting in the north and south!
Such a lack of edukation today. I really feel so lost nowadays.
Obviously the Russians are behind this in order to make northern Siberia warmer.

Reply to  Michael
January 17, 2019 10:07 pm

Quite a seasonal difference in the sunrise position where I live. Best bet here would be to check out a TV dish on a roof, that points south.

Reply to  Phil.
January 18, 2019 7:33 am

Or you could just knock on the door and ask where you are! Unless it is a bad neighborhood, that is.

January 17, 2019 3:49 pm

OK, all sarc aside, I was taught about the difference between true North and magnetic North in basic orienteering in scouts, got a much more detailed course in US Army Basic then even more detail in USA Field Artillery Forward Observer and Fire Direction courses. Studying the continuing shift of magnetic pole has always been interesting. That it moved faster in the past and now appears to be picking up pace again makes one wonder, and I never realized the geomag pole did that bobble in early 1900s, always thought it tracked much the same just on a much shorter line. Just how deep into the Earth’s crust does the effect occur? And how deep down is the cause of this variation? Or is this caused by interactions between Sol and other planetary bodies on Earth’s magnetosphere? Questions upon questions.

Hocus Locus
January 17, 2019 6:03 pm

“The magnetic pole is on the move!”
[looks over shoulder, shrugs]
“The magnetic pole’s movement is accelerating rapidly!!”
[glances at map, notes years of fixes, rolls eyes]
“Your own phone may be affected!”
[spins phone on table, puts back in pocket, shrugs]
“Polarization of molten ferrous rock will be affected!”
[screams in terror]

January 17, 2019 6:51 pm

Can any of you savants please elucidate the difference between the “Magnetic Pole” and the “Geomagnetic Pole”?

The observation that the intervals between magnetic pole reversals are lengthy (“Earth has settled in the last 20 million years into a pattern of a pole reversal about every 200,000 to 300,000 years, although it has been more than twice that long since the last reversal.”) is based on sea floor spreading. At the very slow rate of spreading: “As a general rule, fast ridges have spreading (opening) rates of more than 9 cm/year. Intermediate ridges have a spreading rate of 5–9 cm/year while slow spreading ridges have a rate less than 5 cm/year.” a reversal period of less than 1000 years means that the width of a sea floor band would probably be less than 9 m, and at a maximum guess would be no more than 15 m. The chances of being able to detect such a band would be, I imagine, rather low, and if detected would likely be attributed to hiccough in the equipment.

However, vases can be dated, and the attitude in which they are fired can be determined by the direction of flow of the glaze. There are reports that there was a reversal about 1500 BC and another about 750 BC. These would be undetectable by undersea equipment.

First quote from:
Second quote from:
Cannot give the reference to the pottery glaze indicating recent reversals as this is forbidden on this site.

January 17, 2019 7:14 pm

It looks like it’s been getting closer to the actual north pole…so what’s the problem?

January 17, 2019 8:41 pm

The South Magnetic Pole is also on the move ,Some predict the two Poles will meet in the Indian Ocean -where they’ll have a Big POW WOW – ie A pole reversal party -Everyone is invited , and though attendance is not mandatory – it is unavoidable . Cheers!!

Jeff Alberts
January 17, 2019 8:49 pm

“That rectangular marvel of modern technology contains thousands of lines of code”

That’s got to be off by a couple orders of magnitude. A simple app would have thousands of lines of code. The OS of any given phone probably has a million or more.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 17, 2019 9:33 pm

… except that the “lines of code” are source code and not the object code which is in the phone.

There will a fair bit of python and java script which could be interpreted code, though even python often gets pre-interpreted and become byte code not “lines of code”.

Thought journo who wrote that clearly understands little of the subject someone could probably find him “thousands of lines of code” if there was bet on.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Greg
January 21, 2019 6:41 pm

The object code still started out as lines of code, so that would be included.

Steve Garcia(@feet2thefire)
January 18, 2019 8:39 am

As far as I know, the GEOmagnetic pole is the one the compasses point to. Not the magnetic pole. The GEOmagnetic pole is hardly changing at all. The GEOmagnetic pole is the one that the compass needle dips and goes vertical at, if you are standing there. IGNORE the magnetic pole. That is just a mathematical artifact.

Steve Garcia(@feet2thefire)
Reply to  Steve Garcia
January 18, 2019 8:44 am

How is the magnetic pole a mathematical artifact? you might ask. THAT pole has both poles 180° opposite – because they MAKE it do that, so that the axis goes through the center of the Earth. The GEOmagnetic pole – which is way over by Ellesemere Island does NOT have an axis going through the center of the Earth. The S Pole wander is independent of the center of the Earth. Same with the N Pole. Both wander on their own. They are WAY independent of each other and wander each on its own. THAT tells you that they are naturally occurring, not creations of math.

The GEOmagnetic N Pole is the one the birds navigate by – AND MAN.

Reply to  Steve Garcia
January 19, 2019 7:24 am

Steve Garcia, you have it backwards — the geomagnetic pole is the math artifact, not the magnetic pole (as E.S. properly says below).

Steve Garcia(@feet2thefire)
January 18, 2019 8:51 am

BTW, look at that map of magnetic north pole. Do you see anything erratic about it? It is a damned near straight line, since at least 1980 that line has been straight. And yet the article asserts that it is doing something erratic. I call b.s. If it is wandering and follows a straight line, that is not erratic. That is predictable.

johnny doh
January 18, 2019 10:22 am

Submarines use inertial guidance systems developed by Lee Attwood at North American Aviation in the 50’s

January 18, 2019 10:38 am

Steve Garcia
The pole the compasses point is not the GEOmagnetic pole, it is the magnetic pole.
In Canada Domestic Airspace is divided into two areas: the Northern Domestic Airspace and the Southern Domestic Airspace. In the Northern Domestic Airspace all runways are in true north and you navigate in true. A map of the area is shown:
The north magnetic pole drifted south from 1600 to 1831 when it was measure for the first time. Maybe the pole will start coming south again.

January 18, 2019 5:16 pm

I don’t know, but I’ll bet the subs have triple redundancy navigation systems.

Robert Pechtl
January 19, 2019 8:53 am

With the pole moving North and away from the USA this means it will be even less likely to see the Aurora borealis in the continental us. It will be more frequent in Russia.

Reply to  Robert Pechtl
January 19, 2019 3:39 pm

YES!!! That clearly shows Putin’s Running Dog Bourgeoisie Stooge Donald Trump caused it!!!!!!!!(once again, do I actually have to put a sarc tag on this stuff?)

Jeff Mitchell
January 19, 2019 2:27 pm

Would it be possible to have a bar graph showing the distance moved each 5 year period? The map is a flattening of a sphere, so I can’t tell how much the distortion is.

Deplorable B Woodman
January 21, 2019 2:11 pm

So, when are we going to have the Magnetic Pole Flip?
(and what effect would it have on Life As We Know It?)

January 22, 2019 7:56 am

So what is happening at the back end? Is the South end of the magnetic field symmetrically opposite from the North?
Are the ends non-symmetric?
Is the South end moving also.
Does this mean a pole shift is closer than we think?
Peaking of pole shifts-How long does one take to complete?
Is there a similar shift in the Earth’s core? A fast shift might not be pleasant.

January 22, 2019 9:13 am

When I published this

Climate Change And The Earth’s Magnetic Poles, A Possible Connection.

Available on my website, I was told in no uncertain terms that climate change was causing the problem, not the other way round.

I couldn’t confirm the reasons but suspected it was something to do with the way the Earth’s magnetic field channeled cosmic rays hitting us.

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