Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Canada: Our North loses the Pole ~~ moving toward Siberia
Edmonton Journal ^ | Friday, June 17, 2005 | Nathan VanderKlippe

Posted on 06/17/2005 11:18:11 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Our North loses the Pole
After centuries in Canada, the roaming magnetic North Pole has crossed into international waters, en route to Siberia

CanWest News Service


Thursday, June 09, 2005

YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. - Sometime in the last year, a longtime friend turned its back on Canada and was last spotted heading for Siberia.

For centuries, the magnetic North Pole was ours, a constant companion that wandered the rolling tundra and frozen seas of our Arctic.

But no more.

A Canadian scientist who recently returned from a trip to measure the Pole's current location says it has now left Canadian territory and crossed into international waters.

"I think the Pole has probably just moved past the 200-nautical-mile limit," said Larry Newitt, head of the Natural Resources Canada geomagnetic laboratory in Ottawa. "It's probably outside of Canada, technically. But we're still the closest country to it."

In May, Newitt and his instruments landed on a patch of frozen ocean at 82.5 degrees North to make a more precise measurement of the magnetic Pole's position.

The pole, which, unlike the geographic North Pole, is in constant movement, has been within modern Canadian borders since at least the 1600s -- the time of Shakespeare and Sir Isaac Newton.

In 1904 it was measured just off the northern tip of Nunavut's King William Island by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, and since then has moved in a north to northwesterly direction at a stately 10 kilometres per year.

But in 2001, scientists discovered that it was picking up the pace, suddenly charging ahead -- and toward the edge of Canadian territory -- at more than 40 kilometres per year.

This year, bad weather prevented Newitt from reaching the actual location of the pole, and he hasn't completed the analysis of his observations. But he got close enough to make two measurements, and says it appears the pole is farther away than expected, and moving even faster than before.

"We landed at two places at around 83 North, and it certainly appears the pole is probably closer to 84 North," he said. "That means that the pole is still continuing to accelerate."

If the pole continues its current course, it will shoot across the top of Earth and end up in Siberia by mid-century.

But the pole's movements are difficult to forecast, since its location depends on a terrestrial magnetic field that is produced by extremely complex forces deep inside Earth. Those forces, at their simplest, drive a churning mass of molten iron that rises and falls on convective currents more than 3,000 kilometres below the planet's surface. The movement of that iron conducts and produces the magnetic field, whose poles are located fairly close, although still often thousands of kilometres away from, the geographic poles.

Curiously, the speed with which the pole moves could be related to dramatic events like the massive earthquake that caused last December's devastating tsunami. That quake was big enough to alter the shape of Earth and jar the planet into a slightly different axis of rotation. It also had enough power to jolt the molten iron that powers the magnetic field, and could be partly responsible for magnetic "jerks" that are propelling the magnetic North Pole, Newitt said.

Pg2

Scientists have also been intrigued by a weakening in the pole's intensity: It has lost 10 per cent of its force in the past few centuries. That could be a sign that the poles are preparing to reverse, a phenomenon that has occurred many times in Earth's distant history, said University of Alberta geophysics professor Moritz Heimpel.

But the pole's continuing movement away from Canadian soil likely won't affect anyone, beyond perhaps affecting the northern lights. The magnetic pole draws the charged particles from the sun that create the aurora, and "the people in Fort McMurray might not want it to move away very much," Heimpel said, lest it dim their light shows.

But Canada prides itself on being a northern nation -- it's part of that nebulous identity we spend so much time thinking about. Does losing the pole mean losing a piece of ourselves? Will we be launched into the throes of another identity crisis, now that the world's compasses no longer point to us?

Carolyn Relf, a geologist with Indian and Northern Affairs, says no.

"As long as Santa's still in the North, I don't care about the pole," she said.

Besides, there's not a whole lot we can do to get it back. The liquid iron that creates Earth's magnetic field is located so far beneath the planet's crust it's beyond the reach of even our most ambitious and patriotic leaders.

Col. Norm Couturier, commanding officer of Canadian Forces Northern Area, is the man charged with protecting Canada's Arctic sovereignty -- but guarding the pole is beyond his pay grade.

"It's a force of nature that we're not equipped to deal with," he said, laughing.

And though Couturier says it is, of course, sad to lose the pole, there is a sunny side. With the pole gone from Canada, it means we have less responsibility for the ill-prepared adventurers who go on half-crazed skiing adventures to reach the magnetic pole.

"It will probably mean now that we'll have to stage less rescue missions," he said. "When it was over in Canadian territory, every year we would have to go and assist somebody or recover somebody that was trying to get there.

"Now that it's in international waters, a little bit of the pressure is off us."

Still, it could be just a temporary reprieve. The forces that are pushing the pole away from us could just as easily pull it back inside Canadian borders one day.

"I'm sure we can share it for a little while. But it's coming back," said a hopeful James Pugsley, president of Yellowknife's Astronomy North.

"We did such a good job of managing it while it was here. It will be back."

nvanderklippe@globaltv.ca

WHY IT MATTERS

In an age of satellites and computer technology, why do we still care about the magnetic North Pole anyway?

For most of human history, we needed the pole for navigation, since compasses pointed to it and directed us north. But satellite-based navigation, using GPS (global positioning system) devices, has gained near-universal acceptance in planes and ships.

Doesn't that make compasses a relic of the past? Hardly, says Larry Newitt, the Canadian geophysicist who measures the pole's location. Figuring out exactly where the pole is allows map-makers to draw what's called "magnetic declination," which is the number of compass degrees that separate the direction of magnetic north from True North, which points to the geographic North Pole.

pg3

...Continued

In Edmonton, the magnetic declination is about 17 degrees to the east.

And as it turns out, everyone from boy scouts to workers drilling for oil still depend on compasses -- and need to know the magnetic declination to be able to navigate accurately.

The reason is that GPS calculates direction by calculating movement. So if your location at point B is due west of your location at point A, you're moving west. But it doesn't work well for slow-moving objects, such as hikers and canoeists, or for sophisticated directional drills, the kind used to hunt for oil in northern Alberta.

"People who do directional drilling in the oilpatch essentially use compasses down behind the drill bit to determine the direction they're going to drill if they're drilling horizontal wells," Newitt said.

And, surprisingly, many of those high-tech gadgets that we install today, such as satellite dishes and solar panels, also use magnetic compasses to point themselves in the right direction.

Ran with fact box "Why It Matters", which has been appendedto this story.

© The Edmonton Journal 2005


TOPICS: Canada; Extended News; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: compass; magneticpole; magnetism; northpole; poleshift; science; siberia

1 posted on 06/17/2005 11:18:13 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Can someone please those Canadians about the virtues of sharing.


2 posted on 06/17/2005 11:19:09 AM PDT by brooklyn dave (Bring Down the Mullocracy in Iran)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Bush's Fault.


3 posted on 06/17/2005 11:19:11 AM PDT by Constitution Day
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Ran with fact box "Why It Matters", which has been appendedto this story.

I am not finding this item.

4 posted on 06/17/2005 11:21:15 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Constitution Day

Has to be Bush's fault, had votes been recounted another ten thousand times in 2000 this couldn't have happened.


5 posted on 06/17/2005 11:22:45 AM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Does this mean that I need to reset the declination adjustment on my watch?


6 posted on 06/17/2005 11:22:48 AM PDT by wyattearp (The best weapon to have in a gunfight is a shotgun - preferably from ambush.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

What's a "Canada"?


7 posted on 06/17/2005 11:24:06 AM PDT by WildHorseCrash
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: brooklyn dave
"But Canada prides itself on being a northern nation -- it's part of that nebulous identity we spend so much time thinking about. Does losing the pole mean losing a piece of ourselves? Will we be launched into the throes of another identity crisis, now that the world's compasses no longer point to us?" Who writes this stuff? I guess they really do feel inferior to other people.
8 posted on 06/17/2005 11:24:39 AM PDT by Abathar (Proudly catching hell for posting without reading since 2004)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

magnetic "jerks"

So Clintonesque

9 posted on 06/17/2005 11:24:52 AM PDT by azhenfud ("He who is always looking up seldom finds others' lost change...")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I'm assuming that means the south magnetic pole is also on the move?


10 posted on 06/17/2005 11:24:53 AM PDT by cripplecreek (I zot trolls for fun and profit.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek

"I'm assuming that means the south magnetic pole is also on the move?'

The Equator as well? Weather implications... just what we need, something else that the "climate change" zealots can demagogue. What socialist "solution" do you suppose will be trotted out for this one?


11 posted on 06/17/2005 11:32:50 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I fear what this is going to do to the Canadians' paper-thin sense of self worth and their collective national insecurity.
12 posted on 06/17/2005 11:34:10 AM PDT by ElkGroveDan (I'm sick and tired of being sicked and tired!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I've been thinking my house was rotating clockwise the last few years, this explains it.


13 posted on 06/17/2005 11:34:13 AM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (LET ME DIE ON MY FEET IN MY SWAMP, ALEX KOZINSKI FOR SCOTUS)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

A magnetic shift proably has more of an effect on the planet's climate than man made carbon waste.


14 posted on 06/17/2005 11:34:37 AM PDT by Bogey78O (*tagline removed per request*)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Constitution Day

Something needs to be done NOW!

This is at least as serious as global warming.

We need to set up a vast bureaucracy and study this ad infinitum and shut down industry which some junk scientists agree may be causing this crisis.

A global tax on magnets is in order - for the children, of course.


15 posted on 06/17/2005 11:37:01 AM PDT by Kenny500c
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

So like, COME BACK EH?

We have beer here in the Great White North eh?


16 posted on 06/17/2005 11:37:15 AM PDT by Mikey_1962
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RegulatorCountry

The equator is an imaginary line that circles the globe center. It won't go anywhere.


17 posted on 06/17/2005 11:38:14 AM PDT by cripplecreek (I zot trolls for fun and profit.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Magnetic pole shift bump

Art Bell, please pick up the red courtesy phone ;>)

/jasper

18 posted on 06/17/2005 11:38:50 AM PDT by Jasper ( Craigellachie, Stand Fast!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Bogey78O

"A magnetic shift proably has more of an effect on the planet's climate than man made carbon waste."

That's what I was thinking. But, a pole shift doesn't mean a change in axis, does it? Longitude, latitude, GPS devices, geosyncronous satellites... it can't be the case, we'd have a major mess on our hands. I guess I'm commenting on something that I don't have a strong understanding of, because I can't wrap my mind around magnetic north being greatly at odds with true north.


19 posted on 06/17/2005 11:40:32 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek

"The equator is an imaginary line that circles the globe center. It won't go anywhere."

In a pole shift, I'm not certain that that imaginary line would mean anything anymore, hence the comment.


20 posted on 06/17/2005 11:41:51 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

You guys want an internal combusion engine, tax cuts, ban on federal funding for stem cells, and right-wing shift in the courts, and THIS is what you reap. Total, utter, Bush-wrought devastation.

Hope you're all happy now that the North Pole is going Commie.


21 posted on 06/17/2005 11:42:35 AM PDT by AbeKrieger (Islam is the virus that causes al-Qaeda.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
<tinfoil>The communists have stolen the North Pole!</tinfoil>
22 posted on 06/17/2005 11:42:46 AM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative (Have you visited http://c-pol.blogspot.com?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RegulatorCountry

Hey, I thought the North Pole was where the plastic washer goes to make my globe spin smoothly.


23 posted on 06/17/2005 11:44:31 AM PDT by AbeKrieger (Islam is the virus that causes al-Qaeda.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: AbeKrieger

"Hey, I thought the North Pole was where the plastic washer goes to make my globe spin smoothly."

This is no time to be going all wobbly on us, now is it?


24 posted on 06/17/2005 11:46:36 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
The Earth is round so it's all the same to me unless someone finds a sharp corner. I don't think the people on the other side of the Earth believe they're standing upside down no more than we do.
25 posted on 06/17/2005 11:52:17 AM PDT by TheForceOfOne (My tagline is currently being blocked by Congressional filibuster for being to harsh.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

The pole left because it's fleeing for a red state.


26 posted on 06/17/2005 11:54:26 AM PDT by Ashamed Canadian (America - please invade us now!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Abathar

You're only just realising that? Because our government has done whatever necessary to hide our proud past, including in two world wars, we have completely lost our identity. I feel more American than anything myself.


27 posted on 06/17/2005 11:55:33 AM PDT by Ashamed Canadian (America - please invade us now!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
In 1904 it was measured just off the northern tip of Nunavut's King William Island by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, and since then has moved in a north to northwesterly direction at a stately 10 kilometres per year.

This statement is arguably inaccurate, since most people assume direction to be based on magnetic north. Hence, any direction the Magnetic North might move in would be South.

If referenced to Geodedic North, it could be moving Northwesterly, getting closer to True North.

28 posted on 06/17/2005 11:56:13 AM PDT by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are ignorance, stupidity and hydrogen)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

What do we suspect will happen when the poles reverse?


29 posted on 06/17/2005 11:56:17 AM PDT by civis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RegulatorCountry

The Equator is not based on Magnetic North.


30 posted on 06/17/2005 11:57:18 AM PDT by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are ignorance, stupidity and hydrogen)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: RegulatorCountry
In a pole shift, I'm not certain that that imaginary line would mean anything anymore, hence the comment.

You're confusing the true rotational axis pole and the magnetic pole.

Not certain why that happens so often. The true north pole isn't going anywhere, hence the equator isn't going anywhere. The wanderings of the magnetic north pole have no influence on where true north is.

31 posted on 06/17/2005 11:57:43 AM PDT by Strategerist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Could it be the north pole could end up over an old gulag camp!!
32 posted on 06/17/2005 11:57:49 AM PDT by deadmenvote (I am not the boss, just pay the bills.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: civis
What do we suspect will happen when the poles reverse?

The magnetic poles, of course...the true poles of earth have never reversed. The magnetic poles have reversed thousands of times.

Well, basically the earth's magnetic field gets very weak; actually may have a stretch of years with multiple "poles" scattered around the world. Then it finally reverses.

Practical effect is several decades where spectacular aurora are visible all over the world, and several hundred thousands more deaths per year from cancer due to the weak magnetic field. Other than that, not a big deal. The field has reversed several times in human/hominid history and we're still around.

33 posted on 06/17/2005 12:02:37 PM PDT by Strategerist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek
The equator is an imaginary line that circles the globe center. It won't go anywhere.

Well, we could all imagine it going somewhere else, couldn't we?

34 posted on 06/17/2005 12:04:36 PM PDT by The Electrician ("Government is the only enterprise in the world which expands in size when its failures increase.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: deadmenvote

New location for Gitmo!


35 posted on 06/17/2005 12:11:23 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: civis
What do we suspect will happen when the poles reverse?

My investment in compass companies will finally pay off as everyone has to buy new ones. Cha-ching!

36 posted on 06/17/2005 12:41:29 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Republicans and Democrats no longer exist. There are only Fabian and revolutionary socialists.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Siberia: "All your North Poles are belong us"


37 posted on 06/17/2005 1:05:37 PM PDT by TexasRepublic (BALLISTIC CATHARSIS: perforating uncooperative objects with chunks of lead)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Moronic Canadians. The territorial limit from a nation's shore-line is still just 12 miles. The Exclusive Economic Zone is 200 miles. Trying to claim the North Pole by way of the 200 miles zone is truly moronic...

The North Pole belongs to no one...


dvwjr


38 posted on 06/17/2005 1:36:18 PM PDT by dvwjr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach


Ah, that explains he Canadian Geese. Instead of heading on up to canada, they figure the trip to Siberia is too far and just said "screw it, let's poop here in New Jersey"


39 posted on 06/17/2005 7:14:46 PM PDT by Malsua
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RegulatorCountry

>>>"I guess I'm commenting on something that I don't have a strong understanding of, because I can't wrap my mind around magnetic north being greatly at odds with true north"<<<

For something really confusing try this, Is the North Pole actually the South Pole or are Millions and Millions of Magnets and Compasses wrong? (In Magnetism opposites attract, therefore when the North end of a Magnet points North is the Magnet mislabled or is the North Pole actually the South Pole?)
;^}
Try that on restless kids it will keep them busy for awhile.


40 posted on 06/18/2005 8:35:06 AM PDT by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Can't someone just go up there and nail the darned thing down?
Or, as another thread on the site has suggested, duct tape it down?


41 posted on 06/18/2005 8:39:00 AM PDT by righttackle44 (The most dangerous weapon in the world is a Marine with his rifle and the American people behind him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: righttackle44

Now that's a good idea, where is my duct tape?


42 posted on 06/18/2005 9:50:28 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson