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Wednesday, April 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Randy Mann: Magnetic pole angles toward Russia

By Randy Mann

There was a recent report that our planet’s magnetic pole is slowly moving away from the Arctic regions and heading toward Russia. These magnetic shifts are still not completely understood by scientists.

Earth has a magnetic field that surrounds us. It’s generated by the rotation of the Earth’s inner core. The magnetic field also protects us from the sun’s harmful effects of solar flares and other types of radiation.

Based on long-term averages, the magnetic pole to the north was shifting about 5 miles per year. However, within recent years, the shift was an incredible 40 miles per year.

When our compass points to the north, or south, it’s not true north or true south. Airlines depend on these readings to accurately fly the planes. Airlines in Florida, for example, have been thrown off course by this polar magnetic shift. Tampa’s International Airport was forced to adjust its runway coordinates in mid-January to account for the movement of the Earth’s magnetic fields. In fact, the primary runway in Tampa was closed for several days until taxiway signs could be changed to account for the magnetic pole shift. This was the first time that runways were forced to close in order to allow for adjusting.

The changes in these magnetic fields tend to vary from place to place. It’s quite likely that other airports in the U.S., Canada, Europe and elsewhere will soon be forced to adjust their runways. According to the FAA, airport towers must be “absolutely precise in their compass headings.”

These magnetic pole changes may also affect our planet’s weather patterns. NASA has discovered “cracks” in the earth’s magnetic field that seem to be altering both wind and atmospheric pressure patterns. The recent outbreak of super storms and wide temperature extremes around the world have resulted in disastrous floods in Australia, Pakistan and the Philippines as well as raging blizzards east of the Rockies this winter in the U.S. and parts of Europe.

Some scientists suggest that these super storms may get worse as we head further into this second decade of the 21st century, especially if the magnetic pole shifting continues.

Long-term geologic evidence shows Earth has undergone a number of magnetic pole shifts. Can one imagine having a compass that points in the opposite direction? But, I seriously doubt that we’ll see a complete magnetic pole reversal for a very long time. Such a major shift usually takes many, many years, so it doesn’t happen overnight.

In terms of our local weather, colder and snowier has returned. It’s quite possible that we’ll top 60 inches of snow at the airport before the season ends.

This new weather cycle should keep us a bit cooler and wetter than normal into early April. However, I see warmer-than-normal temperatures and a bit less precipitation than usual from late April into early June. It’s possible that we may see readings approaching 90 degrees by Memorial Day.

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