Scientists have discovered that the Earth’s magnetic field is gradually weakening which has caused technical disturbances in some satellites orbiting the Earth. Scientists first discovered such a phenomenon between 1970 and 2020 in a large region stretching from Africa to South America, and named it the “South Atlantic Anomaly”.
The Earth’s magnetic field is a magnetic field extending from Earth’s interior to outer space affecting all things on Earth and charged particles emitted from the Sun. The field is generated mainly due to Earth’s outer core which is mainly made up of molten iron and is present 3000 km below us. The outer core acts like a giant dynamo, due to the Earth’s rotation, the molten iron in the outer core moves which creates electric current and an electromagnetic field.
Many animals like birds, turtles, etc navigate their way with the help of the field, it also protects all life on Earth from harmful cosmic radiation. Mapping and navigation systems in our phones also are affected by the Earth’s magnetic field. Our sense of direction is due to the Earth’s magnetic field and the compass works due to it too. The beautiful phenomenon “aurora borealis” occurs due to the Earth’s magnetic field too.
In the south Atlanta Anomaly region, the weakening of the field has affected all satellites, television, mobile phones, computers are facing difficulties. The field’s strength has decreased by over 9% in the last 200 years. It is predicted that soon North and South poles may exchange their positions, the electromagnetic field will reverse which will cause all gadgets to require adjusting. Thankfully, it seems we have quite some time before that happens.
What are the reasons for the weakening of the magnetic field? The Earth goes through a cycle of field reversal, the last time it happened was 780,000 years ago. According to some scientists, this occurs due to the gradual change inflow of molten material in the Earth’s core which changes the strength of the negative flux. In simpler terms, imagine there is a tug of war, whichever side wins, has a stronger magnetic field and becomes the north pole.