Daily Haiku / Senryu : Magnetic

magnetic true north
trusting a compass, you’re lost
declination shifts

Did you know the Geographic (True) North Pole and the Magnetic North Pole are not the same? The Geographic North Pole is where the longitudinal lines converge to meet in the north. The Magnetic North Pole is where the northern lines of attraction from the earth’s magnetic field enter the earth.  The difference between the two?  around 500 miles!

A compass points to the Magnetic North Pole.  “The magnetic fields are mainly produced by a giant pool of molten, swirling liquid iron in the Earth’s outer core, 3 000 km (1 864 miles) below the surface. Its behavior can be compared to the one of a spinning conductor in a bicycle dynamo, generating electrical currents which, in turn, constantly affect the electromagnetic field.”1  This magnetic field protects us from the solar winds.

Making things more interesting is the Magnetic North Pole moves due to changes in the motion of the outer core.  In 1833, that pole rested in Boothia Peninsula, Canada. By 2001, it had moved 370 miles to Resolute Bay, Canada. NASA says that pole is migrating northward 40 miles per year, up 30% in the last decade alone. In 1904, it dawdled at only 9 miles per year. In 2015, a Kyoto project recorded the Magnetic North Pole at  86.3N and 160.0W.  (See the red dot on the image to the right from their study). The kicker is while it has been in Canada for centuries, in 2014 it was projected to move into Russian waters in 2017 — this year!

I made this map of the 2015 Kyoto coordinates using Google Satellite map.  I find it fascinating that you can see the ice flows on Google.

2015 Magnetic North Pole from the Kyoto Study Coordinates inputted into Google Maps Satellite imagery

Even the Geographic True North Pole moves. Shannon Hall writing for Scientific American said lately it’s taken a “sharp turn to the east”2 and started heading towards the Greenwich meridian. Up until around 2000, it had been heading towards Hudson Bay, Canada.

All of this was interesting to me.  I had thought the poles were basically static — well compared to humans, they are.  Still they are moving quite a bit.  Just looking at the Kyoto graphic, you can see how far the Magnetic North Pole has migrated.

This move has even affected airports.  They have had to rename their markers.  What do you think about the shifting Magnetic North Pole?



  1. Earth’s magnetic field changes mapped in detail , The Watchers: Watching the world evolove and transform
  2. NASA: Earth’s poles are tipping thanks to climate change
    by Shannon Hall, Scientific American, April 8, 2016
    PBS Newshour: The rundown, a blog of news and insights

Daily Prompts
The Daily Post

Earth’s magnetic field, Wikipedia

North Magnetic Pole

Magnetic North vs Geographic (True) North Pole
GIS Geography

Magnetic North Pole Positions 2015.svg
By Cavit [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Adjust your compass now: the north pole is migrating to Russia
by Guy Adams, March 7, 2011
The Independent

Image: The force that protects our planet, 2014 copyright by ESA/ATG medialab

Image: 2015 location of Geomagnetic and Magnetic North Poles

86.3N 160.0W
Google Maps

Interesting reads:

Why the Earth’s magnetic poles could be about to swap places – and how it would affect us by Phil Livermore (Associate Professor of geophysics, University of Leeds) and Jon Mound (Associate Professor of Geophysics, University of Leeds)
The Watchers: Watching the world evolove and transform

Earth’s magnetic field showing signs of significant weakening
The Watchers: Watching the world evolove and transform

Pilots, check your bearings: Boeing Field catches up with Earth’s magnetic field
By Dominic Gates, Seattle Times aerospace reporter, August 16, 2017
Seattle Times

Airports Compensate for Shifting Magnetic North Pole
by Monica Poling, August 20, 2017
Travel Pulse

Earth’s Magnetic Heartbeat
ESA’s magnetic field mission

From Amazon:  I still want a compass even though with all this information I realize without knowing declinations, I don’t really know how to use one.  I still think they are cool.  Also a couple of books that might be of interest.

Camping Survival Compass | Glow in the Dark Military Compass

Antiqued Brass Poem Compass With Leather Case

Polar Dream: The First Solo Expedition by a Woman and Her Dog to the Magnetic North Pole

Cold Feat: A Journey to the North Magnetic Pole
note: Amazon didn’t have any reviews but I did find a few at Waterstones

Disclaimer: I am an Amazon affiliate so I get a small percentage when the links are used to buy things from 2% to 10% depending on what it is.  Books are 4.25%. I had my first buy last week and received $3.00.  Yay!  Amazon requires the following text: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”