Weakening of Earth’s Magnetic Field Causing Satellites and Spacecraft to Malfunction

May 22, 2020

Over the past 200 years, Earth’s magnetic field has lost around 9% of its strength. Meanwhile, a large region of reduced magnetic intensity has developed between Africa and South America — known as South Atlantic Anomaly. Over the past 5 years, however, a second center of minimum intensity has emerged southwest of Africa, suggesting that the South Atlantic Anomaly could split up into two separate cells.

Earth’s magnetic field is vital to life on our planet– it is a complex and dynamic force that protects living beings from cosmic radiation and charged particles from the Sun.

The current prevailing understanding is that it’s largely generated by a sea of superheated, swirling liquid iron that makes up Earth’s outer core around 3 000 km (1 864 miles) below the surface. It acts as a spinning conductor, producing electrical currents that generate the continuously changing electromagnetic field.

It’s known that the field varies in strength and direction. For instance, recent studies have shown that the north magnetic pole’s position is rapidly migrating toward Siberia.

For the past 200 years, the magnetic field has lost about 9 percent of its strength on a worldwide average.

Meanwhile, a large region of reduced magnetic intensity has developed between Africa and South America — known as the South Atlantic Anomaly.

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Earth’s magnetic field is weakening between Africa and South America, causing satellites and spacecraft to malfunction

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