The first results of the Swarm mission, the group of three satellites launched in November by the European Space Agency (ESA), confirm the general trend on the Earth’s magnetic field weakening and the movement of the Magnetic North Pole towards Siberia.
According to project leaders who spoke in Copenhagen, the weakening is greater in the western hemisphere, but in other areas as South India, the opposite phenomenon has occurred.
The measures recorded by Swarm since last January also confirm the progressive movement of the Magnetic North Pole towards Siberia. Experts meeting in Copenhagen felt that within 5,000 to 10,000 years there will be a reversal in the magnetic field, a phenomenon that has occurred several times before in the history of the planet. The last one took place 780,000 years ago.
Nils Olsen, one of the scientists leading the project, described as “excellent” preliminary data provided by the mission, but stressed that they’ve had “too little time” to draw wider conclusions on measurements offered by the satellites whose observations will continue for four years.
The alterations detected in the first Swarm results are based on the Earth’s core magnetic signals. For the following observations other sources of measurement are also included as the mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere, which enable a better understanding of various natural processes.
See the simulation below:
The Swarm mission blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia in November to study the processes inside the Earth, better understand its magnetic field and why this bubble that shields the planet from cosmic radiation and charged particles that arrive via the solar wind is getting weaker.
The mission, using European and Canadian technology also aims to implement practical applications, such as improving the accuracy of satellite navigation systems and earthquake prediction as well as making more efficient the extraction of natural resources.
The scientific data will be open to the entire research community and will be available for download through the tracking station in Kiruna, Sweden, where it will be processed, distributed and archived in the Center for Earth Observation of of the ESA.
Luis R. Miranda is the Founder and Editor of The Real Agenda. His 16 years of experience in Journalism include television, radio, print and Internet news. Luis obtained his Journalism degree from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, where he graduated in Mass Media Communication in 1998. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Among his most distinguished interviews are: Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres and James Hansen from NASA Space Goddard Institute. Read more about Luis.