Magnetic North Pole is on the move

The Magnetic North Pole is on the move,  it is now drifting so fast that navigation in high latitudes can be effected.

The Earth’s magnetic field is a result of a rotating mixture of molten iron and nickel some 2000 miles below the earth’s surface. This is the earth’s natural “bar magnet” that has been used by sailors for thousands of years.

That movement of the magnetic North Pole has been predictable with the “error” or “Variation” being  tabulated on navigational sea charts so that the mariner can calculate the difference between true north and magnetic north.

mag north movement

The World Magnetic Model  has been updated  with the latest official location of the magnetic north. The model is typically updated every five years and was last updated in 2015. However, the rapid change in movement of the magnetic north this has had to be updated sooner than expected.

The magnetic North Pole has been moving around 34 miles a year heading towards Russia. Half-century ago, the magnetic North Pole was wandering about 7 miles each year.

With GPS signals being interfered with by some government agencies and now the rapidly varying magnetic north direction “old salts” are reminding young “technical” navigators to refresh their training in traditional navigational methods.