BREAKING NEWS: Earth’s Magnetic Field Continues Decline in Strength and Increase Rate of Movement

Presented at this week’s Living Planet Symposium, new results from the constellation of Swarm satellites show where our protective field is weakening and strengthening, and importantly how fast these changes are taking place.

magnetic field weakening

The Earth’s magnetic north pole is drifting from northern Canada towards Siberia with a presently accelerating rate of 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) per year at the beginning of the 20th century, up to 40 kilometers (25 mi) per year in 2003 – and since then has only accelerated. “At this rate it will exit North America and reach Siberia in a few decades, says scientist Larry Newitt of the Geological Survey of Canada.

magnetic field reversal

In addition, the magnetic north pole is wandering east, towards Asia. The current rate of change (since 1840) is about 0.07 degrees per year. But between 1225 and about 1550 AD, rates averaged closer to 0.12 degrees per year – significantly faster than expected.

VIDEO: Changes in Strength
of Earth’s Magnetic Field

magnetic field weakening3

Based on results from ESA’s Swarm mission, the animation shows how the strength of Earth’s magnetic field has changed between 1999 and mid-2016. Blue depicts where the field is weak and red shows regions where the field is strong. The field has weakened by about 3.5% at high latitudes over North America, while it has grown about 2% stronger over Asia. The region where the field is at its weakest field – the South Atlantic Anomaly – has moved steadily westward and further weakened by about 2%. In addition, the magnetic north pole is wandering east.

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With more than two years of measurements by ESA’s Swarm satellite trio, changes in the strength of Earth’s magnetic field are being mapped in detail. It is clear that ESA’s innovative Swarm mission is providing new insights into our changing magnetic field. Further results are expected to lead to new information on many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside the planet to weather in space caused by solar activity.

Swarm_constellation

Launched at the end of 2013, Swarm is measuring and untangling the different magnetic signals from Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere – an undertaking that will take several years to complete.

Although invisible, the magnetic field and electric currents in and around Earth generate complex forces that have immeasurable effects on our everyday lives.

The field can be thought of as a huge bubble, protecting us from cosmic radiation and electrically charged atomic particles that bombard Earth in solar winds. However, it is in a permanent state of flux.

The magnetic field is thought to be produced largely by an ocean of molten, swirling liquid iron that makes up our planet’s outer core, 3000 km under our feet. Acting like the spinning conductor in a bicycle dynamo, it generates electrical currents and thus the continuously changing electromagnetic field.

It is thought that accelerations in field strength are related to changes in how this liquid iron flows and oscillates in the outer core.

Chris Finlay, senior scientist at DTU Space in Denmark, said, “Unexpectedly, we are finding rapid localized field changes that seem to be a result of accelerations of liquid metal flowing within the core.”

Rune Floberghagen, ESA’s Swarm mission manager, added, “Two and a half years after the mission was launched it is great to see that Swarm is mapping the magnetic field and its variations with phenomenal precision.

“The quality of the data is truly excellent, and this paves the way for a profusion of scientific applications as the data continue to be exploited.”

In turn, this information will certainly yield a better understanding of why the magnetic field is weakening in some places, and globally.

Star With Different Internal Driving Force Than The Sun

A star like the Sun has an internal driving in the form of a magnetic field that can be seen on the surface as sunspots. Now astrophysicists from the Niels Bohr Institute have observed a distant star in the constellation Andromeda with a different positioning of sunspots and this indicates a magnetic field that is driven by completely different internal dynamics. The results are published in the scientific journal, Nature.

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Stars are glowing balls of gas that through atomic processes release energy that is emitted as light and heat. In the interior of the star are charged particles that swirl and spin and thereby create a magnetic field that can burst out onto the surface of the star, where it appears as sunspots. Sunspots are cool areas caused by the strong magnetic fields where the flow of heat is slowed. On our star, the Sun, the sunspots are seen in a belt around the equator, but now scientists have observed a large, distant star where sunspots are located near the poles.

Sunspots at the poles

“What we can observe on the star is that it has a large sunspot at its north pole. We cannot see the south pole, but we can see sunspots at latitudes near the poles and these sunspots are not there at the same time, they are seen alternately on the northern and southern hemispheres. This asymmetry of sunspots indicates that the star’s magnetic field is formed in a different way than the way it happens in the Sun,” explains astrophysicist Heidi Korhonen, Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

The star that has been observed is a massive star that is approximately 16 times the size of the Sun in diameter. It is located180 light years away in the constellation Andromeda. It is much too far away to be able to observe the details on the surface of a star that is only seen as a spot of light that is less than one pixel. Astronomers have previously seen sunspots on Zeta Andromeda using the Doppler method, which means that you observe that light wavelengths of the rotating star. Sunspots are cool areas and by studying the wavelengths you can construct a map of the surface temperature. So far this has been the best way to observe the surface structures of distant stars, but there may be misinterpretations, so there have been doubts about the accuracy concerning the existence of the polar sunspots.

But by using a method where you gather images from several different telescopes that you observe simultaneously, you can get far more details than you could achieve with even with the largest telescopes individually. But it was not easy. It is a method that has been used for decades in the radio waveband field and using the CHARA Array, consisting of six telescopes, it has now become possible to observe the visible and near-infrared light.

“With these new observations, we have many more details and extra high resolution. Our new measurements confirm that there are large sunspots at the poles. We see dark sunspots on the northern visible pole, while the observations reveal that the lower latitudes are areas with sunspots that do not last, but appear and disappear again with an asymmetrical distribution on the surface of the star and this was surprising,” says Heidi Korhonen, who is an expert on sunspots.

Powerful magnetic field

But why is the location of the sunspots different than those we know from the Sun?

Heidi Korhonen explains that it is a very different star than the Sun. It is a binary star, that is, two stars orbiting each other. This causes the stars to rotate more quickly. The Zeta Andromeda star, which is the larger of the two stars, rotates at 40 km per second. The Sun rotates at 2 km per second.

“It is the rapid rotation that creates a different and very strong magnetic field. The strong magnetic field gives a more complicated dynamo effect that resembles what you see at the stage where a new star is being created. Here we are seeing the same effect in an old active star that is in its final stage,” explains Heidi Korhonen.

On the Sun, the sunspots appear and disappear on a regular basis and the number increases periodically approximately every 11 years. The magnetic field that creates the sunspots can also trigger large, explosive discharges of plasma, causing solar storms to hit the Earth. These storms result in very strong northern lights and can also cause problems for orbiting satellites and the power grid on Earth.

JUST IN: Scientists Beginning to Identify Signs That Galactic Cycles are Analogous with Sun-Earth’s Circumvolution

A Description of Extraterrestrial Galactic Obedience and Disobedience evolving within a tangled yet symmetrical display of what to some would appear to be as though disjointed and without direction. HOWEVER, when a person as myself, having watched closely for over 16 years and having intimately documented and published my research of the Sun-Earth connection, I found myself in a most optimized position to systematize newly disclosed research.

equation-1998

Equation:
Sunspots → Solar Flares (charged particles) → Magnetic Field Shift → Shifting Ocean and Jet Stream Currents → Extreme Weather and Human Disruption (mitch battros 1998).

Such findings include new discoveries of the inner-workings of our galaxy ‘Milky Way’ and its interaction with or solar system and of course our home planet Earth. Near mind-blowing insights into the mechanics of celestial events such as supernovas, gamma ray burst, pulsars, galactic cosmic rays, and closer to home – solar flares and coronal mass ejections.

milky-way-solar-system

New Equation:
Increase Charged Particles and Decreased Magnetic Field → Increase Outer Core Convection → Increase of Mantle Plumes → Increase in Earthquake and Volcanoes → Cools Mantle and Outer Core → Return of Outer Core Convection (Mitch Battros – July 2012).

New findings released yesterday described a large supernova event occurred in a galaxy near our own Milky Way named M74. The exploding star was 200 times larger than our Sun. The sudden blast hurled material outward from the star at a speed of 10,000 kilometers a second. That’s equivalent to 36 million kilometers an hour or 22.4 million miles an hour.

The massive explosion was one of the closest to Earth in recent years, visible as a point of light in the night sky starting July 24, 2013, said Robert Kehoe, SMU physics professor, who leads SMU’s astrophysics team.

supernovam74

“There are so many characteristics we can derive from the early data,” said astrophysicist Govinda Dhungana of Southern Methodist University. “This was a big massive star, burning tremendous fuel. When it finally reached a point its core couldn’t support the gravitational pull inward, suddenly it collapsed and then exploded.”

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The star’s original mass was about 15 times that of our Sun, Dhungana said. Its temperature was a hot 12,000 Kelvin (approximately 22,000 degrees Fahrenheit) on the tenth day after the explosion, steadily cooling until it reached 4,500 Kelvin after 50 days. The Sun’s surface is 5,800 Kelvin, while the Earth’s core is estimated to be about 6,000 Kelvin.

The new measurements are published online here in the May 2016 issue of The Astrophysical Journal, “Extensive spectroscopy and photometry of the Type IIP Supernova 2013j.”

 

JUST IN: New Maps Chart Mantle Plumes Melting Greenland Glaciers

Many large glaciers in Greenland are at greater risk of melting from below than previously thought, according to new maps of the seafloor around Greenland created by an international research team. Like other recent research findings, the maps highlight the critical importance of studying the seascape under Greenland’s coastal waters to better understand and predict global sea level rise.

Uummannaq fjord

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California; and other research institutions combined all observations their various groups had made during shipboard surveys of the seafloors in the Uummannaq and Vaigat fjords in west Greenland between 2007 and 2014 with related data from NASA’s Operation Icebridge and the NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat satellites. They used the combined data to generate comprehensive maps of the ocean floor around 14 Greenland glaciers. Their findings show that previous estimates of ocean depth in this area were as much as several thousand feet too shallow.

Why does this matter? Because glaciers that flow into the ocean melt not only from above, as they are warmed by Sun and air, but from below, as they are warmed by water.

Iceland - Greenland Mid-Atlantic Ridge3

In most of the world, a deeper seafloor would not make much difference in the rate of melting, because typically ocean water is warmer near the surface and colder below. But Greenland is exactly the opposite. Surface water down to a depth of almost a thousand feet (300 meters) comes mostly from Arctic river runoff. This thick layer of frigid, fresher water is only 33 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius). Below it is a saltier layer of warmer ocean water. This layer is currently more than 5 degrees F (3 degrees C) warmer than the surface layer, and climate models predict its temperature could increase another 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C) by the end of this century.

About 90 percent of Greenland’s glaciers flow into the ocean, including the newly mapped ones. In generating estimates of how fast these glaciers are likely to melt, researchers have relied on older maps of seafloor depth that show the glaciers flowing into shallow, cold seas. The new study shows that the older maps were wrong.

“While we expected to find deeper fjords than previous maps showed, the differences are huge,” said Eric Rignot of UCI and JPL, lead author of a paper on the research. “They are measured in hundreds of meters, even one kilometer [3,300 feet] in one place.” The difference means that the glaciers actually reach deeper, warmer waters, making them more vulnerable to faster melting as the oceans warm.

Co-author Ian Fenty of JPL noted that earlier maps were based on sparse measurements mostly collected several miles offshore. Mapmakers assumed that the ocean floor sloped upward as it got nearer the coast. That’s a reasonable supposition, but it’s proving to be incorrect around Greenland.

Rignot and Fenty are co-investigators in NASA’s five-year Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) field campaign, which is creating similar charts of the seafloor for the entire Greenland coastline. Fenty said that OMG’s first mapping cruise last summer found similar results. “Almost every glacier that we visited was in waters that were far, far deeper than the maps showed.”

The researchers also found that besides being deeper overall, the seafloor depth is highly variable. For example, the new map revealed one pair of side-by-side glaciers whose bottom depths vary by about 1,500 feet (500 meters). “These data help us better interpret why some glaciers have reacted to ocean warming while others have not,” Rignot said.

The lack of detailed maps has hampered climate modelers like Fenty who are attempting to predict the melting of the glaciers and their contribution to global sea level rise. “The first time I looked at this area and saw how few data were available, I just threw my hands up,” Fenty said. “If you don’t know the seafloor depth, you can’t do a meaningful simulation of the ocean circulation.”

BREAKING NEWS: Volcanoes Responsible for Climate Change Through Much of Earth’s History

A new study in the April 22 edition of the journal ‘Science’, reveals that volcanic activity associated with the plate-tectonic movement of continents may be responsible for climatic shifts from hot to cold throughout much of Earth’s history. The study, led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences, addresses why Earth has fluctuated from periods when the planet was covered in ice to times when polar regions were ice-free.

volcanic arc

Lead researcher Ryan McKenzie said the team found that periods when volcanoes along continental arcs were more active coincided with warmer trends over the past 720 million years. Conversely, periods when continental arc volcanoes were less active coincided with colder, or cooling trends.

For this study, researchers looked at the uranium-lead crystallization ages of the mineral zircon, which is largely created during continental volcanic arc activity. They looked at data for roughly 120,000 zircon grains from thousands of samples across the globe.

zircon and mantle

Zircon is often associated with mantle plumes. If the zircon Hf model age is very close to its formation age (zircon U–Pb) – the magma could be subsequent of a depleted mantle plume. On the other hand, if the zircon Hf model age is older than its formation age, it can be concluded that the magma was derived from enriched mantle sources or was contaminated by crustal materials.

“We’re looking at changes in zircon production on various continents throughout Earth’s history and seeing how the changes correspond with the various cooling and warming trends,” McKenzie said. “Ultimately, we find that during intervals of high zircon production we have warming trends, and as zircon production diminishes, we see a shift into our cooling trends.”

equation-mantle plumes

New Equation:
Increase Charged Particles → Decreased Magnetic Field → Increase Outer Core Convection → Increase of Mantle Plumes → Increase in Earthquake and Volcanoes → Cools Mantle and Outer Core → Return of Outer Core Convection (Mitch Battros – July 2012)

One question unanswered in recent climate change debates, is what caused the fluctuations in CO2 observed in the geologic record. Other theories have suggested that geological forces such as mountain building have, at different times in the planet’s history, introduced large amounts of new material to the Earth’s surface, and weathering of that material has drawn CO2 out of the atmosphere.

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Using nearly 200 published studies and their own fieldwork and data, researchers created a global database to reconstruct the volcanic history of continental margins over the past 720 million years.

“We studied sedimentary basins next to former volcanic arcs, which were eroded away over hundreds of millions of years,” said co-author Brian Horton, a professor in the Jackson School’s Department of Geological Sciences. “The distinguishing part of our study is that we looked at a very long geologic record – 720 million years – through multiple warming and cooling trends.”

The cooling periods tended to correlate with the assembly of Earth’s supercontinents, which was a time of diminished continental volcanism, Horton said. The warming periods correlated with continental breakup, a time of enhanced continental volcanism.

NASA Missions Measure Solar Flare Electromagnetic Phenomenon

Solar flares are intense bursts of light from the Sun. They are created when complicated magnetic fields suddenly and explosively rearrange themselves, converting magnetic energy into light through a process called magnetic reconnection – at least, that’s the theory, because the signatures of this process are hard to detect. But during a December 2013 solar flare, three solar observatories captured the most comprehensive observations of an electromagnetic phenomenon called a current sheet, strengthening the evidence that this understanding of solar flares is correct.

eclectromagnetic sheet

These eruptions on the Sun eject radiation in all directions. The strongest solar flares can impact the ionized part of Earth’s atmosphere – the ionosphere – and interfere with our communications systems, like radio and GPS, and also disrupt onboard satellite electronics. Additionally, high-energy particles – including electrons, protons and heavier ions – are accelerated by solar flares.

Unlike other space weather events, solar flares travel at the speed of light, meaning we get no warning that they’re coming. So scientists want to pin down the processes that create solar flares – and even some day predict them before our communications can be interrupted.

Image converted using ifftoany

“The existence of a current sheet is crucial in all our models of solar flares,” said James McAteer, an astrophysicist at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and an author of a study on the December 2013 event, published on April 19, 2016, in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. “So these observations make us much more comfortable that our models are good.”

And better models lead to better forecasting, said Michael Kirk, a space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who was not involved in the study. “These complementary observations allowed unprecedented measurements of magnetic reconnection in three dimensions,” Kirk said. “This will help refine how we model and predict the evolution of solar flares.”

A current sheet is a very fast, very flat flow of electrically-charged material, defined in part by its extreme thinness compared to its length and width. Current sheets form when two oppositely-aligned magnetic fields come in close contact, creating very high magnetic pressure. Electric current flowing through this high-pressure area is squeezed, compressing it down to a very fast and thin sheet. It’s a bit like putting your thumb over the opening of a water hose – the water, or, in this case, the electrical current, is forced out of a tiny opening much, much faster. This configuration of magnetic fields is unstable, meaning that
the same conditions that create current sheets are also ripe for magnetic reconnection.

“Magnetic reconnection happens at the interface of oppositely-aligned magnetic fields,” said Chunming Zhu, a space scientist at New Mexico State University and lead author on the study. “The magnetic fields break and reconnect, leading to a transformation of the magnetic energy into heat and light, producing a solar flare.”

Because current sheets are so closely associated with magnetic reconnection, observing a current sheet in such detail backs up the idea that magnetic reconnection is the force behind solar flares.

“You have to be watching at the right time, at the right angle, with the right instruments to see a current sheet,” said McAteer. “It’s hard to get all those ducks in a row.”

This isn’t the first time scientists have observed a current sheet during a solar flare, but this study is unique in that several measurements of the current sheet – such as speed, temperature, density and size – were observed from more than one angle or derived from more than method.

This multi-faceted view of the December 2013 flare was made possible by the wealth of instruments aboard three solar-watching missions: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, NASA’s Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO – which has a unique viewing angle on the far side of the Sun – and Hinode, which is a collaboration between the space agencies of Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Even when scientists think they’ve spotted something that might be a current sheet in solar data, they can’t be certain without ticking off a long list of attributes. Since this current sheet was so well-observed, the team was able to confirm that its temperature, density, and size over the course of the event were consistent with a current sheet.

As scientists work up a better picture of how current sheets and magnetic reconnection lead to solar eruptions, they’ll be able to produce better models of the complex physics happening there – providing us with ever more insight on how our closest star affects space all around us.

This research was funded by a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation awarded to James McAteer.

The Causes of Heating and Cooling of Earth’s Core and Climate Change

Ongoing studies supported by the NSF (National Science Foundation) indicate a connection between submarine troughs (rifts), Earth’s mantle, and Earth’s outer core. Furthermore, new research indicates the shifting of magnetic flux via Earth’s magnetic field, has a direct and symbiotic relationship to Earth’s outer core, mantle, lithosphere, and crust.

_new_equation-2012

As a living entity, Earth fights for its survival. If internal or external events begin to throw Earth out of balance i.e. orbital, tilt, or magnetic alignment – it begins to correct itself. When oceanic tectonic subductions occur, it cools the mantle and outer core. To balance this shift in temperatures, the Earth’s core increases heat and as a result releases what is known as “mantle plumes”. These plumes filled with super-heated liquid rock float up to the ocean bottom surface.

This action both cools the outer core and heats the oceans. As a result of heated oceans, we get tropical storms and various forms of extreme weather. When troughs, subduction zones, and rifts shift, as a result of convection, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes occur.

What makes this all work is the Earth’s magnetic field. Right now the magnetic field is weakening significantly. This will continue until it reaches zero point, at which time there will be a full magnetic reversal. Until this time, we will witness magnetic north bouncing in the northern hemisphere. Closer to the moments of a full reversal, we will see magnetic north drop down to/then below the equator.

As a result of a weakened magnetic field, larger amounts of radiation via charged particles such as solar flares, coronal mass ejections, gamma rays, and galactic cosmic rays – are more abundantly reaching Earth’s atmosphere and having a heightened reaction with Earth’s core layers. This is what causes looped reaction. Radiation heats the core layers, the outer core reacts by producing ‘mantle plumes’, which causes crustal fracturing, which then causes earthquakes, volcanoes, heated oceans – all of which cools the outer core.

This seemingly repeating loop will continue until the Earth will once again find its balance. Until then, we can expect naturally occurring earth changing events which will produce the loss of mass in some parts of the world, and emergence of mass in other parts. Maybe this is the time to change the things we can (attitude, environment, community, self, surroundings), one would be a fool not to apply themselves within their means – but then there is the time to loosen up a bit, know what is happening is just part of a process.

Just as the Earth, we humans can just keep on trucking, and maybe, just maybe, some will simply ‘enjoy-the-ride’.