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You may think of the north pole as an affixed point the very “top” of the planet (which would be correct and that’s called the geographic north pole) but since the Earth is essentially a giant magnet the magnetic north pole is where the northern lines of attraction enter the Earth or where a compass needle will point north. The magnetic is also constantly shifting and moving in the direction of Siberia and away from Canada yet recently the rate at which it’s shifting has accelerated and it’s raising some concerns for scientists. As Kevin Anderton explained in Forbes, every five years scientists recalculate the location of the magnetic pole. This is important information for global navigation, which includes GPS satellites and other technology. These changes can make a big difference in our everyday lives.
Scientists at NOAA and the British Geological Survey check how accurate the World Magnetic Model is every year and when they did their check this year they noticed some large differences. Primarily that the pole’s movement had sped up. The location data for the pole was supposed to last until 2020 before it needed to be updated but according to experts at the NOAA, it needs to be updated now and scientists aren’t sure of the cause.
Why This Matters: As the Anchorage Daily News reported, because of the government shutdown scientists haven’t been able to post an emergency update the World Magnetic Model, which cell phone GPS systems and military navigators use to orient themselves. Roughly half of the employees at NOAA which hosts the model and publishes related software, are furloughed as the shutdown which has now entered its 35th day. The updated model was supposed to be released this week. It would have been a minor change for most of us — the discrepancy between the model and the North Pole’s new location is only measurable to people trying to navigate very accurately and at very high latitudes. But as long as NOAA staff are absent and the agency’s website is dormant, the whole world will have to go on navigating by the old model — which grows a little bit more inaccurate every day.
by Julia Fine Last month, we wrote about the outbreak of locust swarms traveling from East Africa to the Indian subcontinent. Now, as the New York Times reported yesterday, the locusts have made their way to New Delhi. The capital region’s fields, metro stations, suburbs, and more are now teeming with swarms. We previously noted […]
Our nation is in the midst of a moment where statues and monuments celebrating our racist past are being reevaluated and taken down. However, some on the political right have begun calling into question the validity of this conversation. Conservative media personality Meghan McCain wrote in a tweet that we’re “one week removed from entire […]
The House was set to vote to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, which will provide nearly $1B annually for parks and other conservation, but a group of Western Republicans has raised procedural hurdles that will delay final passage until late July, The Hillreported yesterday. And, a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) urges the United States to launch a major effort—a “Race for Nature” — to help the nation’s agricultural producers, who are facing a bleak economic future, by increasing opportunities to pay them for their conservation efforts.
Why This Matters: As the CAP Report explains, “Family farmers and ranchers need lifelines…Bold and swift investment in nature conservation can provide one.”
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