Should We Be Concerned About A Pole Shift?

Lets hope that the whole 2012 premonition thing wasn't just 
called a little early...
Before we go diving into this topic, its important to remember that people have been predicting a cataclysmic pole shift event for years, but thankfully we're still around to dismiss that whole Mayan 2012 thing as a ridiculous fad, but strangely there does seem some evidence right now that the scientific community is concerned about our planet's magnetosphere and the positioning of the poles which are shifting at an alarming rate.

Earlier this year National Geographic wrote an article on the changing position of the magnetic north pole, saying; 

"In the mid 1900s, the north magnetic pole was lumbering along at less than a hundred feet each day, adding up to less than seven miles of difference each year. But in the '90s, this started to change. By the early noughts, magnetic north was chugging along at some 34 miles each year.

“Things are acting very strangely at high latitude,” says Livermore, who notes that this increase seemed to coincide with a strengthening jet in the planet's liquid outer core. Though the events could be linked, it's not yet possible to say for sure.

By early 2018, scientists realized that the model would soon exceed the acceptable limits for magnetic-based navigation. Something had to be done before the model's next regular update, slated for 2020."

In the past the pole's movement was slow enough that adjustments were only required every five years or so, but the current rate of change over the past few years has meant there has been a demand, particularly by NATO forces, to adjust the positioning much earlier than is usually expected.

By all accounts the north pole which until quite recently was predominately situated in northern Canada, has begun to rush eastward towards Siberia. Naturally publications like National Geographic and the scientists involved are eager to stipulate that we are under no threat, reiterating that pole shifts take thousands of years to manifest, but the results from future planned experiments may suggest otherwise. 

In the New Scientist magazine (dated 29th June, 2019) it says:

Tarduno and his collegues have discovered that at one place within this patch, underneath southern Africa at the core-mantle boundary, the field is actually reversed. A compass down there would point south. "It's an astounding thing," says Tarduno.

He and his team see these anomalies in all sorts of places going back in time and have even begun to observe how they moved. "It's getting to the point where we can track some of these anomalies in the core flow," says Tarduno. They can even see how they occasionally evolved into full reversals. "Sometimes, these things grow large enough that the whole field suddenly reverses polarity," he says. Which begs the question: do the shenanigans at the north pole signal an imminent reversal?

That is one of the things Glatzmaier and his peers are trying to find out. To do that, they have to go beyond measuring the past and create computer models of the magnetic field that can predict what it will do next.

We're not told what "imminent" might be, but it would be a strange choice of wording if we were looking at a shift in a few hundred years or more.

The article goes on to explain that although computer models have produced promising data, it still lacks the levels of complexity that is required to model the shifting liquid and solid core of our planet's centre. Continuing, New Scientist says that there are proposals by a team in Dresden (the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf lab) that would like to create an experiment with a vessel containing eight tons of liquid sodium that would be used to simulate and obtain data on how the magnetosphere functions in real time. That hardly sounds cheap, or safe even, so on its own it begins to make me question whether there is a real and growing concern on this topic.

Despite all assurances that a pole shift would be safe I think it would be sensible to err on the side of caution. A significant reduction in the magnetosphere would expose all the technology we currently rely on to disruptive solar radiation. If a shift coincided with high levels of solar weather we could potentially see all communications, power and navigation systems reset to zero. The civilisational ramifications of that could be dire. This of course is assuming that pole shifts in short time spans are even possible, and I'm not pretending that this has been confirmed. Whether or not we're heading towards a pole reversal or not, our current spluttering magnetosphere is not good news for reasons I'm about to divulge.

Bizarre Predictions

Of course there exists rather more extreme predictions out there on what occurs during a pole shift events, many of them are very reminiscent of the 2012 film, but it seems much of the inspiration for the whole 2012 doomsday scare may have come from a book initially written in the 1960s by a Chan Thomas and later published fully in 1993. I won't go into huge detail on this as its been spoken about ad nauseam on conspiracy blogs and videos since fragments of the initial 1960 draft cropped up in a sanitised condition on the CIA's disclosed documents a few years ago, buts its still interesting stuff.

Much of Chan's book (entitled The Adam and Eve Storycentres around the idea of a cyclical disaster that befalls mankind every 10,000 years or so and that most, if not all of humanity's preserved mythology is rooted in this story. Admittedly much of Thomas' work seems to be preoccupied with proving parts of the Judeo-Christian texts as factual which to a 21st century reader will likely undermine any serious consideration of his theories, but there does seem some sort of twisted logic to the points he was trying to illustrate.

Thomas' main theory is that the earth periodically experiences sudden and extreme reversals of the earth's magnetic poles in as little as twenty-four hours. The result of this, besides the sudden increase of solar radiation, is that the earth's crust effectively "rolls" around on top of the liquid magma akin to a ball bearing. This rapid shifting of the earth's crust then leads to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, sudden continental drift, tidal waves and super-sonic winds that rip through forests and remove all traces of previous civilisations. 

Whilst this sounds (extremely) far-fetched it could well explain some big questions such as how woolly mammoths were found freeze dried in a standing position, or why the out-of-Africa migration theory makes little sense after considering that Australian Aboriginal DNA has recently been found in South American natives. In some respects this theory also tidies up a lot of our anthropology, bridging the gaps between many of the similar themes found throughout the world's myth and legend such as Alantis, the Garden of Eden, The Deluge, the Germanic Ragnarok and the Indian Kali Yuga to name but a few. Perhaps the differences between cultures nothing more than the effects of time and oral traditions.

The book then goes on to talk about alien ships that hurry survivors away before the cataclysm strikes, and speaks of planets moving at random out of their orbit all of a sudden à la electric universe theory. Obviously none of these are ideas taken seriously by scientists but as many other conspiracy blogs and youtube channels will tell you, the inclusion of this book in the CIA's secret archive from the 1960s until the early nineties is odd to say the least, as are the acknowledgements made in the 1993 version to three high ranking US military staff; "for their inspiring encouragement without which this book might not exist"

Some studies have recently begun to question whether pole shifts are possible within shorter time periods, albeit with more sober predictions. One scientific journal reports that researchers in a cave in China found that complete polarity changes have occurred in less than two-hundred years in the past as evidenced by changes in rock sediment, however speaking purely from a layman's position, I wonder if its possible that a flip one way and then back again in quick succession, say a year or two, would go unnoticed in geological samples?

Either way the wandering nature of the poles at the moment coupled with a decreasing level of geomagnetic activity is causing some concern. In recent history, earth's magnetic field was losing 5% of its integrity per century, but lately it has been decreasing in power by 5% every decade adding to concerns of an imminent pole-shift

The 2017 journal hardly beats about the bush when discussing the topic, adding:

"One surprisingly abrupt centennial reversal transition occurred in 144 ± 58 years (2σ) and provides unprecedented evidence that raises fundamental questions about the speed of geomagnetic field shifts. Such rapid polarity changes could severely affect satellites and human society in the future if the current geomagnetic field intensity continues to decrease."

Whilst this all sounds scary its important to note that pole shifts and fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field have occurred since the dawn of time. The fact that we and the many other organisms who we share our planet with are still here should be a good indication that we're not in imminent danger of being cooked in some dramatic fashion. In the past the magnetic field has always fluctuated, and has always rectified itself fairly quickly, (although "quick" in a geological sense is subjective) but there may well be other dangers as the journal rightly points out that are associated during such a critical time.

Effects on Technology

The most likely issue that might arise in our own lifetime as a result of the current magnetic behaviour is the potential disruption to technology. As we've already discussed, navigation equipment is already having to be updated far more often than it was just a decade or two ago, but this is all a mild inconvenience compared with what could happen if our planet was bombarded with the full effects of a solar storm at a time when our natural defences are at an all-time low.

This is a doomsday scenario that has been spoken of extensively over the years so I won't go into massive detail, but essentially a coronal mass ejection like the one that hit the world in 1859 that led to the Carrington Event, could wreck havoc on our now computer reliant civilisation. The potential disruption would be life altering for all of us and would disrupt pretty much all human activity. 

Volcanic Activity

Its not just technology though, volcanic activity is suspected to be increased during times of pole shifts. It has been suggested that the last large eruption in Europe 40,000 years ago from the caldera at Phlegraean Fields coincided with a brief reversal of magnetic polarity. To put things into perspective, the eruption was large enough to lower global temperatures by a few degrees for around three years - a rerun of the event today would undoubtedly result in the deaths of millions world-wide resulting from the slow down of agricultural output, not to mention the immediate effects of toxic ash floating in and around Europe and the Mediterranean region.

With a bit of luck the pole shift and the last Italian supervolcanic eruption was just a coincidence, but as concerns grow about the increasing volcanic activity around Campi Flegrei and Yellowstone, we're left with our fingers crossed, even if statistically we're safe for a few thousand years.

Atmospheric Effects

Yet another concerning aspect is the speculated link between a lowered magnetic field and mass-extinctions caused by a lowering of oxygen levels in the atmosphere. A scientific journal written on the Earth and Planetary Science Letters says that when oxygen is exposed to solar winds it can become ionised and be stripped away. The journal states:

"The results show that geomagnetic reversal could enhance the oxygen escape rate by 3–4 orders only if the magnetic field was extremely weak, even without consideration of space weather effects. This suggests that our hypothesis could be a possible explanation of a correlation between geomagnetic reversals and mass extinction. Therefore, if this causal relation indeed exists, it should be a “many-to-one” scenario rather the previously considered “one-to-one”, and planetary magnetic field should be much more important than previously thought for planetary habitability."

Computer models suggest that as much as 5% of a total 9% reduction of the world's oxygen during the Triassic-Jurassic periods could have been caused by the carrying away of oxygen on solar-wind as the planet went through many instances of pole reversals in a relatively short space of time. If true it could well have been a contributing factor to the mass-extinction event that killed up to 84% of species living around that time. Interestingly, another theory as to what caused the mass-extinction in the Triassic-Jurassic era is increased volcanic activity, so as already discussed, this looks like a very complex dynamic of contributing and interconnected issues all potentially revolving around our magnetic field.

Whilst its not of immediate concern to us alive today, it is perhaps worth mentioning that oxygen levels over the past 800,000 years have depleted by just under one percent. The cause of this is not known, but is more likely to be a result of changes in climate than solar wind, although climate as we're about to find out may also be at least partially influenced by geomagnetic processes.

Climate  

I think it is currently beyond human ability to completely model and account for the complexities of climate and weather patterns, but needless to say a connection has been drawn between changes in earth's geomagnetic behaviour and long-term weather trends. 

Two studies conducted by Wollin G, Ericson and Václav Bucha in the 1970's wrote that investigations into sedimentary rock that showed that periods of low geomagnetic activity often coincided with warmer climatic conditions, with Bucha suggesting that low magnetic conditions create a greater frequency of low pressure weather patterns causing more severe and erratic cyclonic activity. 

Some studies in the past have argued otherwise, suggesting that long-term lowering of geomagnetic activity have actually decreased the average temperature on earth by allowing more cloud-forming galactic cosmic rays to permeate through our planet's atmosphere, although those studies were not conclusive. Most other studies have come to the warming conclusion, suggesting a reduced magnetic field increases solar forcing - put simply the solar radiation that reaches the earth's surface would likely negate the cooling effect of increased low-pressure weather patterns.

A joint Italian-Spanish study conducted last year seemed to back the warming hypothesis further by comparing changes in the magnetic anomaly in south Africa with global sea level rises and found a link, writing:

"The results seem to support the existence of an information flow between SAA [South Atlantic Anomaly] and GSL [Global Sea Level] anomalies, with larger information transferred from SAA to GSL and a confidence level about 90%. The found connection does not mean that the geomagnetic field is fully responsible of the climate changes, rather that it is an important driving component to the variations of the climate. This result is especially relevant because it could help to find a physical mechanism able to explain this connection by discarding those in which the climate controls the geomagnetic field and supporting the mechanisms associated to the geomagnetic field.

Although this work seems to provide a favorable argument to this link, future investigations are needed to completely exploit this issue, for example to check other time series at longer timescales."

Another interesting possible contributing factor to the ebbs and flows of both global temperature and geomagnetic strength is that both may be affected by subtle changes in our planet's orbit and axial precession over time in what is called the Milankovitch cycles, which are the most likely explanation for vast changes in glacial behaviour over long periods of time.

Looking around at the way things are now with the climate it would be easy to breathe a sigh of relief on man-made climate change and pin all of this on natural processes but unfortunately its not that simple. Its most likely that human activity is majorly acerbating a natural warming process, or perhaps totally nullifying the cooling effect of increased cloud cover during this current geomagnetic lull. Either way our planet's climate is dictated by a complicated combination of geomagnetic activity, galactic and solar weather, orbital eccentricity, axis precession and surface activity which until very recently was only affected by volcanic activity.

To add insult to injury there is also some small evidence that lowered geomagnetic activity also decreases our ocean's ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere adding an albeit small contributing factor (0.35 Pg C/yr) to anthropogenic emissions. Alexander Pazur and Michael Winklhofer's paper entitled "Magnetic effect on CO2 solubility in seawater: A possible link between geomagnetic field variations and climate"concludes by stating:

Given the high anthropogenic emission rate of CO2 (7 Pg C/yr), it would be preposterous to make the weakening Earth's magnetic field responsible for global warming. Yet, by lowering the capacity of the surface ocean to absorb excess CO2 from the atmosphere, the diminishing field acts in the same direction as the increase in sea‐surface temperature and acidity, thereby exacerbating the effects of global warming.

UV Protection

Whilst this is pure speculation, its worth questioning the reasons as to why skin cancer rates have increased so much in recent years. It was recently reported in the UK that skin cancer rates have increased by as much as 45% in the last decade in the UK. News papers have been quick to blame "cheap flights" for this increase, as has "fashionable" tans, but is this the reality?

I'm only suspicious of the causes because this is a trend that has also been seen in America too, with skin cancer cases having tripled since 1975 with white men seeing the largest increase in afflictions which suggests to me at least that this is an occupational hazard, rather than a fashion thing or the graphs would show more even gender distribution, surely?

Suspiciously NASA has been looking at increasing levels of UV exposure over the same sort of time period (since the 1970s) and are quick to blame CFCs which were thankfully banned before they could destroy all traces of our ozone. Whilst NASA contends that the hole created by CFCs is still repairing, is it worth considering another cause of increased UV exposure and skin cancer?

I may well be clutching at straws as I haven't gone into detail about the age break down of those affected by skin cancer, but I suspect that most of the damage was done decades ago and is only just resulting in complications now as people are getting older.

We've already looked into other seemingly unconnected dynamics between our planet's geomagnetic field and other earth-science topics that appear to have merit, so is it not worth considering that the decreasing magnetic field is also somewhat responsible for this rather rapid rise in cancer related mortality?

I happened across a New York Times article from back in 1976 which highlighted a few concerning issues which may be relevant to problems we're seeing right now, with the article saying:

"A team of atmospheric scientists has concluded that a series of events almost a million years ago may possibly have weakened the earth's ozone shield, permitting excessive ultra‐violet radiation to reach the earth and cause the extinction of several species of tiny marine animals.

The discovery of such a possibility, they believe, may have relevance to recently raised questions about the vulnerability of the ozone layer that shields the earth from the extreme effects of the sun's ultraviolet rays.

The researchers arrived at their conclusions after a study of recorded atmospheric events that had not been previously looked at as related occurrences. Their study involved the following sequence of events:

About 700,000 years ago the earth's magnetic field reversed its polarity, weakening the magnetic forces that shield the earth and its atmosphere from a substantial portion of solar and cosmic radiation.

¶The resultant heavy bombardment of solar rays, possibly coupled with the occurrence of solar flares, caused excessive amounts of nitric oxide to form in the high atmosphere. The nitric oxide, in a well‐known catalytic reaction, in turn destroyed part of the ozone shield above the earth.

¶Thus weakened, the ozoned layer admitted the strong ultraviolet rays of the sun into the earth's garden of life. Such rays in excessive amounts are known to be capable of killing some species of plant and animal life."

The argument then is that geomagnetic fields are at least partially responsible for keeping the ozone in check, and when magnetic fields decrease the sun's rays reacts with the ozone and destroys it in a similar manner to CFCs. I'm not going to try and jump to conclusions but this seems a massive red herring that isn't being discussed anywhere in the mainstream media so I thought it would be worth going into this in some further detail.

Its worth mentioning that the relationship between UVB and the Ozone have been understood since the 1930s and confirmed first hand by Antarctic explorers suffering sunburn under the gaping hole at the south pole, but what hasn't perhaps been fully explained to the public is that the ozone layer only begun to stabilise in the late noughties.

A scientific journal from 2008 looked at the data and showed that the rise in UV radiation (attributed to a decrease in effectiveness of the ozone), had coincided with a "dramatic" increase in DNA damage in the southern hemisphere and a "moderate" increase in the northern hemisphere. Interestingly, the flow of weather patterns and the slightly ecliptic earth orbit around the sun is why the southern hemisphere is worse affected by these changes.

I'm not a scientist, but I would posit that the increase in skin cancer we're seeing now is mostly related to the effects of CFCs on the ozone layer as it can take decades for damage to the skin to materialise. If that's true then I think its fair to say that full effects of the CFCs was brushed under the carpet somewhat. This is all corroborated, at least anecdotally with the World Cancer Research Fund's figures putting Australia and New Zealand as the number one and number two highest for the disease respectfully.

Us humans are fairly weak in our survivability really, we'll die if we're naked below ten degrees centigrade and we'll burn in direct sunlight. Although we're all aware of our species' design flaws we tend to think of other life forms as being more resilient, but that's not necessarily true. If increasing UV irradiance has led to greater mortality rates on humans, would it not make sense to look at other species for similar signs?

Well yes obviously, UV can effect a whole range of organisms from bacteria to mammals and everything in-between. Strangely some insect species are more affected by visible blue light than they are by UVA, particularly during their larval and egg stages. Again I'm not a scientist, but if UV or even blue lights are being studied as a more environmentally friendly form of pest control for indoor growing situations, then increased UVB or UVC might well prove to be disastrous for creatures without adaptations. Maybe this could be just one of the many reasons the global insect population has decreased 75% in less than thirty years, not that I have a scrap of proof for this of course.

Ozone depletion might also acerbate the bleaching of coral reefs in shallow waters, a situation that is a bit of a knock out blow to organisms already struggling under increased acidification of the oceans caused by the sequestration of carbon dioxide. Now admittedly it might seem as though we've veered off the pole shift topic at this point, but lets not forget that 1970 article that suggested a pole shift 700,000 years ago also coincided with increased solar ray intensity.

Another scientific journal (also from 2008) looked into long-term correlations between geomagnetic strength and ozone depletion from solar weather or solar proton events using simulations and found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that there was a strong link between the two. The real troubling thing in this particular journal is to be found in the conclusions where it states:

The ozone losses are found to increase with the magnetic polar cap size and with its nearness to the polar regions. In this sense the current field configuration with its small tilt of geomagnetic to geographic axis can be regarded as almost a worst‐case situation for the present field strength. The same cap size in the tropics would cause much lower ozone destructions. The scenario of the equatorial dipole of actual cap size can be regarded as a snapshot of a hypothetical geomagnetic reversal with current field strength. As field reversals are very likely connected to field weakenings, they correspond to the other investigated scenarios of weaker fields which lead to significantly enhanced ozone depletions. For these magnetic field configurations, very large events are able to cause dramatic ozone losses especially in the polar regions, lasting for several months up to years. Subsequently, harmful ultraviolet radiation increases at ground level. The absolute ozone losses are smaller at midlatitudes and in the tropics, but because of smaller solar zenith angles the increases of erythemal weighted ultraviolet radiation might also be of importance in these regions.

In other words, whether or not the current situation with the earth's magnetic field is going to lead to a pole shift or not, the current inclination and low output puts us in a precarious situation if solar activity were to suddenly increase. Thankfully for the past decade or so we've been lucky as our sun has been stuck in a prolonged solar minimum, but this is expected to come to an end in the next few years with a solar maximum expected to occur shortly after 2025. Whilst this might sound foreboding, NASA has at least come to the conclusion that the next eleven year solar cycle will be calmer than average, (although I do have to ask how they bloody hell they know this!?)

Yet another cause for concern is that whilst ozone levels in the stratosphere have continued to stabilise, the layer in the troposphere is still decreasing at a rate that nullifies the positives of the healing upper ozone. A study into this in 2017 reported:     

Here we report evidence from multiple satellite measurements that ozone in the lower stratosphere between 60◦S and 60◦ 10 N has declined continuously since 1985. We find that, even though upper stratospheric ozone is recovering in response to the MP [Montreal Protocol], the lower stratospheric changes more than compensate for this, resulting in the conclusion that, globally (60◦S–60◦N), stratospheric column ozone (StCO) continues to deplete. We find that globally, TCO appears to not have decreased because tropospheric column ozone (TrCO) increases, likely the result of human activity and harmful to respiratory health, are compensating for the stratospheric decreases. The reason for the continued reduction of lower stratospheric ozone is not clear, models do not reproduce these trends, and so the causes now urgently need to be established. Reductions in lower stratospheric ozone trends may partly lead to a small reduction in the warming of the climate, but a reduced ozone layer may also permit an increase in harmful ultra-violet (UV) radiation at the surface and would impact human and ecosystem health.

Its most likely that most of this is still being caused by harmful substances being emitted by human activity. Emissions of banned CFCs were still being traced to Chinese factories as of a few months ago, but there is a whole range of chemicals that could still be damaging our ozone (like the car air conditioning gas which has been banned only a few years ago.) Despite us fucking up the planet though, could our current geomagnetic lull be at least partially responsible for these ozone woes?

Conclusions

So lets get back to the initial question; should we be concerned about a pole shift, or at least a lowered state of geomagnetic activity?

Well I would argue no. There is literally nothing we as a species can do to avert a crisis caused by a lowering of geomagnetic activity or a full pole-reversal, there are no mitigating action we can take but on a personal level I would say to keep an eye on these topics with regards to possible disruption. Looking at the full range of inter-connected issues on this subject leads me to believe that we simply hit industrialisation at the worst possible moment, but all we can do at this moment in time is make the best of it.

Technological disruption would likely be most pronounced issue we could face I think on a short-term basis barring other biblical affects like a Yellowstone eruption, but in all honestly given what has been said on ozone depletion and all the other environmental concerns our planet has at the moment a complete technological reset and the mass-death that would result from that might well be our species best hope of long-term survival in a morbid, paradoxical way.

The various contradictory findings on a lot of this information shows this is something humanity still doesn't fully understand, but the interest being shown by scientists means we might have a better understanding of it soon at least.

The best way to end this extraordinarily long post (sorry!) is with the words from a journal written last year funded by the US National Science Foundation, which said:

"We now know this unusual behavior has occurred at least a couple of times before the past 160 years, and is part of a bigger long-term pattern," Hare says. "However, it's simply too early to say for certain whether this behavior will lead to a full pole reversal."

Even if a complete pole reversal is not in the near future, however, the weakening of the magnetic field strength is intriguing to scientists, Tarduno says. "The possibility of a continued decay in the strength of the magnetic field is a societal concern that merits continued study and monitoring."

Comments

  1. Good read my friend. I agree, all our human efforts will not stop what nature has in store for us.

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