News & Events for Chesapeake Bay

The answer is 3: Magnetic north just moved. Here's what that means.

Date Posted: 2019-02-06
Source: National Geographic

Editor's Note: You may be wondering why this story's headline "THE ANSWER IS #3." It is the answer to our new news quiz series titled "Deeper Diver News Trivia Quiz." This quiz is drawn from the newsletter each week. If you'd like to participate then click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Magnetic north has never sat still. In the last hundred years or so, the direction in which our compasses steadfastly point has lumbered ever northward, driven by Earth's churning liquid outer core some 1,800 miles beneath the surface. Yet in recent years, scientists noticed something unusual: Magnetic north's routine plod has shifted into high gear, sending it galloping across the Northern Hemisphere—and no one can entirely explain why.

The changes have been so large that scientists began working on an emergency update for the World Magnetic Model, the mathematical system that lays the foundations for navigation, from cell phones and ships to commercial airlines. But then the U.S. government shut down, placing the model's official release on hold, as Nature News first reported earlier this year.

Now, the wait for a new north is over. The World Magnetic Model update was officially released on Monday, and magnetic north can again be precisely located for people around the world.

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––
 
 

Questions still likely abound: Why is magnetic north changing so fast? What were the impacts of the update's delay? Was there really a geologic reason Google maps sent me off course? We've got you covered.

Read the full story.

Provided by National Weather Service
Humidity%
Wind Speed
Barometer
Dewpoint
Visibility

Deltaville, VA
Current Conditions

Change my location

Events