Earth’s Magnetic Field Is Weakening Ten Times Faster Than Scientists Predicted

July 10, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

The Earth’s magnetic field is weakening at ten times the speed scientists predicted, Wired UK reports. Fuckin’ magnetic fields, how do they work?

Our magnetic field, created by the rotation of our molten metal core, is what protects life on Earth from harmful radiation spit out by the sun that would otherwise kill us all. It’s pretty important. Scientists had predicted that the field would weaken at a rate of about 5% per century, but the new European Space Agency satellites Swarm took measurements that showed it was weakening more like 5% a decade.

But don’t freak out yet – what’s happening is actually normal. Every so often the magnetic poles of the Earth switch, meaning that the magnetic North pole is now on a Southern trajectory somewhere near Siberia. This is going to happen faster than we thought, but there’s no scientific evidence that past pole-switches have caused any harm to organic life. Whew. (Photo: NASA)