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Friday, 10 June 2016

The Earth’s magnetic field is weakening ten times faster than expected

New satellite data from the European Space Agency has revealed some puzzling findings: the Earth’s magnetic field appears to be weakening much faster than previous research would suggest. These measurements show that on the whole, the planet’s geomagnetic field is weakening about ten times faster than expected, at a rate of about 5% every decade. However, it’s also important to note that in some regions it’s actually strengthened, particularly over Asia.

The data was collected by the ESA‘s three Swarm satellites, which track changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, making note of the strength, direction, and variations across the globe. Since their launch in 2013, they’ve measured magnetic signals from the Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere, and magnetosphere – creating a much more detailed map than scientists have ever been able to create before.

The localized fluctuations in the magnetic field are easily explained; researchers believe that they’re due to the movement of liquid metal flowing within the planet’s core. What they aren’t yet able to explain is exactly why the field as a whole is becoming weaker, or what the effects of that change will be.

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