Over the past 200 years, the magnetic shield surrounding our planet has weakened by 9%. The area with the lowest intensity is in the Southern Hemisphere, off the coast of Brazil and southwestern Africa. Scientists claim that this is an abnormal gap in the geomagnetic field. They have already warned: perhaps, we are on the verge of changing the Earth’s magnetic poles.
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Specialists of the European Space Agency (ESA) have recently recalled the weak field area in the southern Atlantic Ocean. This zone is called South Atlantic Anomaly. From 1970 to 2020, the minimum intensity of the geomagnetic field there weakened many times more than in the whole planet. The area of the anomaly is constantly growing and shifting to the west at a speed of 20 km/year.
Besides, scientists suggest that the South Atlantic anomaly could be divided into two parts. Over the past 5 years, the second center of minimum magnetic field intensity has emerged in southwestern Africa. This became clear after comparing ground-based observations with information from ESA satellites.
Scientists were puzzled by all this information: it does not really fit in with the generally accepted theory of the formation of the Earth’s magnetosphere. Now, the researchers are sure that the geomagnetic field is strong enough to protect the planet from harmful radiation coming from not only the depths of space but also from the sun. But, as soon as it begins to weaken, astronauts on the ISS (they will need additional protection from radiation) and numerous satellites in low Earth orbits will be hit. They face technical interference, and possibly a complete failure. But the most important aspects of our daily life, such as navigation and some types of communication, depend on their work.
Earth is a big magnet. One of its poles is in the Arctic, the other is in the Antarctic, and between them the so-called force lines of the geomagnetic field are stretched. It is on them that migratory birds are guided, they are felt by the compass needle, indicating the direction to the north or south. When flares occur on the Sun, streams of charged particles reach the Earth and move along the lines of force of the geomagnetic field, accumulating in the region of the poles. Faced with molecules of atmospheric gases, particles make them glow. So, Aurora Borealis arises: a phenomenon known as the Aurora. This ends the good and the beautiful, everything else is continuous problems.
The more powerful the flash on the Sun is, the stronger it affects the Earth’s magnetosphere. Where its protection is weak, equipment breaks down, communication is lost, navigation systems get lost, surface charges appear on transformers and pipelines. Power grids covering vast territories could fail, as happened in March 1989 in the Canadian province of Quebec, when 6 million people were left without electricity for 9 hours.
Just one solar flare of extraordinary power can lead to the collapse of the global energy system. Such forecasts exist, but in order for such a scenario to become a reality, a total weakening of the planet’s magnetic shield is necessary.
Over the past 200 years, the intensity of the geomagnetic field has decreased by 9%. This has happened more than once in the history of the Earth, but this should not comfort us.
The fall in the geomagnetic field is a sign of a planetary catastrophe: a change in the Earth’s magnetic poles. When dinosaurs extinct 65 million years ago, a sharp change in geomagnetic polarity happened. This is a very real threat: the Earth’s magnetosphere, which protects all life from solar radiation, ceases to work for 15,000-20,000 years. It is clear that such a period will be more than enough for the death of mankind.
The pole change (scientifically speaking, inversion) cannot be reliably predicted. The weakening of the geomagnetic field is necessary, but it seems to be not a sufficient condition for such a forecast.
If the assumptions about the upcoming flipping of the poles are confirmed, humanity will face another global challenge. When the magnetosphere, which protects not only the technology but also people themselves from cosmic radiation, is significantly weakened, we will all have to stay on rigid self-isolation. But this will not be the isolation that allows you to order food at home and enjoy city views and beautiful sunsets from the balcony. It will be possible to hide from radioactive radiation only behind the hard shell of the Earth: in caves and artificial mine workings. Another option is to go underwater, building cities there.