Scientists have been aware for some time that the earth’s magnetic poles shift. Most people do not realize that the magnetic poles are not the same as the geographic poles. While geographic poles are the two points where Earth’s imaginary spin axis passes through the surface, the magnetic poles are the locations designated by a compass needle. The geographic and magnetic poles are relatively close to each other, but if you attempted to use a compass to find the geographic poles, you would quickly become frustrated.
It is important to note that while the geographic North Pole does move in response to the Chandler Wobble, the wobble of the earth’s spin, this movement is predictable in the scientific community. On the other hand, magnetic pole shift is a completely different animal.
Around the earth’s solid inner core of iron is the outer core, which a deep layer of liquid iron. It is from this liquid outer core that the earth gets its magnetic field. The liquid outer core is not passive. It bubbles and tosses and is in continuous turmoil from the earth spinning it around. This constant state of turmoil is what causes the magnetic poles to shift.
Recently, there has been some fear that the shifting of the magnetic poles will soon be responsible for catastrophic “superstorms” that will cause great flooding and kill thousands. It has been predicted and passed along in January 2011 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) that California faces the risk of a, “catastrophic storm that could tear at the coasts, inundate the Central Valley and cause four to five times as much economic damage as a large quake,” according to an article written by Felicity Barringer in of The New York Times.
The cause of this, according to The New York Times, is “rising temperature of the earth’s atmosphere [that] increases the amount of energy it stores, making more violent and extreme weather events more likely.”
Changes in the earth’s atmosphere could affect any place on Earth, so why do people fear that this has something to do with the shifting of the magnetic poles? This is because it has been argued in the last decade that movement of the magnetic poles affects temperature on the earth’s surface. However, this has not been proven to any certainty. Scaremongers often cite the aurora borealis as proof that the earth’s magnetic poles have some influence on its atmosphere.
The beautiful phenomenon seen in Northern climates is in fact connected to the magnetic fields, explains Dr. Carol Raymond in an article by Fox News. Dr. Raymond says that the sun’s particles, carried by the solar wind pouring off the sun, are mediated by the earth’s magnetic field. The interaction causes events such as the aurora borealis – an ionospheric event, in the outer atmosphere.
However, Dr. Raymond goes on to point out that this is not something that happens in the inner atmosphere where the earth’s weather patterns occur.
All in all, scientific data is still too premature to determine whether or not the shifting of the magnetic poles has any influence on our weather patterns and temperature. In the upcoming years this question is certain to be answered. However, in the meantime all scare tactics to make people believe that shifting poles will bring doom and hellfire upon our planet are unfounded.