Surprisingly rapid changes in the Earth's core discovered

Jul 07, 2008

In a recent paper published in Nature Geoscience, the geophysicist Mioara MANDEA from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam and her Danish colleague Nils OLSEN from the National Space Institute/DTU Copenhagen, have shown that motions in the fluid in the Earth’s core are changing surprisingly fast, and that this, in turn, effects the magnetic field of our Planet.

The very precise measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field delivered by the geosatellite CHAMP combined with Ørsted satellite data and ground observations over the past nine years, have made it possible to reveal what is happening at 3000 km under our feet.

Indeed, for the first time, Nils Olsen and Mioara Mandea have computed a model for the flow at the top of the Earth’s core that fits with the recent rapid changes in the magnetic field, and is also in agreement with the changes in the Length-of-Day variation.

This core flow is rather localized in space, and involves rapid variations, almost sudden, over only a few months – a remarkably short time interval compared with the respectable age of our Planet or even with the time of the last magnetic field reversal, some 780000 years ago.

Scientists from the Helmholtz Centre GFZ and other institutions are currently involved in the ESA Swarm mission, which will follow on the CHAMP achievements. The Swarm constellation consists of three CHAMP-type satellites, which will measure the Earth’s magnetic field even more accurately than before.

Citation: Rapidly changing flows in the Earth’s core, Nils OLSEN and Mioara MANDEA, Nature Geoscience 1, 390 - 394 (18 May 2008), doi: 10.1038/ngeo203

Source: Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

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User comments : 11

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BigTone
4 / 5 (6) Jul 07, 2008
Are there any credible (peer reviewed and without an agenda) studies that link this activity as having affect on climate change? And before anyone starts in - lets not have a debate on climate change - there are enough of these in physorg comments...

I just want to know if this is predicted to be a factor in global climate models as having any effect. There is a bunch of mention of it out there on the internet - but I am wondering what the "party line" ,if any, is on this correlation from the scientific community.

Posted below - just some fodder from the Internet:

Having been sited to cut the deepest Antarctic ice known, it seems to me likely that at the time of the last reversal of the earth's magnetic field, about 780,000 years ago, all the ice in Antarctica very likely melted away. So there may be no older ice to be found. Deep ice core drillers are still hoping to get beyond the million-year mark. I hope they do, but I do not fancy their chances
zevkirsh
2.5 / 5 (8) Jul 07, 2008
guys...it's obvious. global warming is causing it!
1bigschwantz
2.5 / 5 (6) Jul 07, 2008
NO ON NO Bush is causing it!
Mercury_01
2.8 / 5 (5) Jul 07, 2008
Bush seems to have had an effect on your mind as well ,schwantz. Await your extinction.
am_Unition
3.5 / 5 (6) Jul 07, 2008
Good question, Big Tone.

I'm not speaking with authority, but it is logical to think that with a declining magnetic moment (such as that of the Earth's), more solar ions and radiation will penetrate the Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere, particularly at polar latitudes. This may lead to lower latitude, more intense aurora, and consequently more heat being dumped into the Earth's environment.

Curiously, almost all the Arctic ice melts away every summer now. I've never heard of any correlations between the previous pole shift and a lack of Antarctic ice... However, if that hypothesis is true, it could explain recent sea ice observations, as it is widely agreed we are in the starting era of another pole shift (which may take anywhere from 3,000 to 30,000 years to complete, from the best models).
1bigschwantz
1 / 5 (6) Jul 07, 2008
it wont be from you merc.
Mercury_01
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 07, 2008
Have you read the article schwantz? Are you aware of the implications of a magnetic polar reversal? I say await your extinction because you are too busy being a smartass to see that you and your whole way of life are in danger at all times and from every angle. Do you really think we should be scoffing at the alarms being raised by science? Politics should have nothing to do with earth science, and thats about all of that "spin it back on the leftists" crap we have time for. I hope you have the smarts to make preperations for your family. I advise you to stock up on those meathead supliments youre taking, then go to wall mart the moment panic sets in. Therell be plenty of twinkies to keep you alive all the way to your local fallout shelter. Tell them how special you are, and maybe rough them up a bit. Im sure theyll let you in and youll be safe from whatever natural disaster should inconvenience your universe.
Glis
2.4 / 5 (5) Jul 07, 2008
A magnetic field reversal would be devastating. Forget navigation, both biological and technological, but if the field reverses that means for some period of time it will do nothing to protect the planet from the solar wind. I wonder if during the last reversal there was a mixure of extinction and punctuated evolution due to massive radiation induced genetic mutation?

Even if it is hookey, it would make a great basis for a sci-fi movie where mutants take over the earth. =)
ProfessorRich
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 07, 2008
There have been studies that link the geomagnetic field (GMF) to climate, and they show periods with delays of as much as 3 to 7 years. I reference these works in my book, "The Vital Vastness." The link with climate to solar activity is clear and solar activity ALWAYS offsets the GMF. As for the weakening of the GMF, this has been taking place since the first measurements where made by Gauss in the 1780s, and is the most pronouced geophysical change. Part of this weakening is actually due to the destruction of life (we are now in a mass extinction as great as many previoius ones). Life produces electric and magnetic forces that contribute to the GMF. Moreover, life takes non-chiral and non-optical materials, and changes them into chiral, optically active materials; i.e., it creates a pathway for migrating ions, electtons and so forth, producing an electromagnetic circuit that strengthens the GMF. It should be noted that this weakening began with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, which by definition destroys life and is a non-life, economic perspective.
am_Unition
3 / 5 (6) Jul 07, 2008
Life produces electric and magnetic forces that contribute to the GMF. Moreover, life takes non-chiral and non-optical materials, and changes them into chiral, optically active materials; i.e., it creates a pathway for migrating ions, electtons and so forth, producing an electromagnetic circuit that strengthens the GMF.



If you could point me in the direction of a paper published on these subjects, I would be very greatful. I will be checking out your book, however.

Everything I didn't quote, I more or less agree with.
gmurphy
4 / 5 (4) Jul 08, 2008
am_Unition, the planet is currently experiencing a solar minimum, we're receiving less energy from the sun http://science.na...ange.htm

Also, if the extra heat you hypothesize being pumped into the planet by this mechanism was actually present, we would have observed heating throughout the stratosphere in the places that the heat enters. What we actually observe is heating confined to the lower atmosphere, indicative of warming caused by the greenhouse effect. http://en.wikiped...e_effect