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The magnetic north pole on the move [Update]

The magnetic north pole of the Earth is rapidly moving away from the Canadian Arctic to Siberia. Scientists NCEI (¹) have updated the World Magnetic Model (WMM) 2020.


The World Magnetic Model (WMM) is published every five years. Due to unforeseen variations in the magnetic field in the Arctic, scientists had published, since the 24 September 2018 with a year ahead, an intermediate model to more accurately represent the change of the magnetic field from 2015.

The official revision of WMM 2020 was just published. Its role is to ensure the safety of navigation for military applications, commercial airlines, search and rescue operations and others operating around the North Pole.

The North Magnetic Pole 2020 is represented by the white star

The smartphone companies and consumer electronics are also based on the WMM to provide users with the magnetic variation for compasses, electronic compasses, maps and GNSS services. This is particularly essential for marine navigation applications (²).

The compass use variation (the difference between true north and magnetic north of where the compass is located) to help correct navigation systems for a variety of uses. As Earth's magnetic field evolves between the 5 -year release schedule of the WMM, these predicted values can become off as the rate of change in Earth's magnetic field evolves due to unpredictable flows in Earth’s core. The north polar region has one of these erratic changes.

Map of magnetic declination contours. The West Indies have in 2020 a declination of 15° West, zero declination 0 ° crosses France from Normandy to the Vendée. (Courtesy NCEI)

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Source : World Magnetic Model 2020
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(¹) National Centers for Environmental Information
(²) Weather4D Routing & Navigation includes WMM to calculate routes and bearings. The new model will be integrated with the next update.
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Author : Francis

Since 2009 independent IT trainer and consultant for boating. Translator of many navigation applications on iOS and MacOS. Professional in boating for over 25 years, I provide training for applications and consulting and assistance for the integration of mobile devices (tablets, smartphones) on pleasure boats.

4 comments

  1. Thank you for all the information and your careful watch

  2. Thank you for these valuable information

  3. It would be interesting to know how he moves in 5 years…