I am putting together here, two recent pieces of information, which may or may not be related to one another. First the North Pole:
A report from Washington, in Time magazine, states that Earth’s north pole is moving, shifting about 34 miles per year. The magnetic north pole has been drifting so fast in the last few decades that scientists are saying that past estimates are no longer accurate enough for precise navigation. It crossed the international date line in 2017, and is now leaving the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia. Since 1831, when it was first measured in the Canadian Arctic, it has moved about 1,400 miles towards Siberia. Its speed has increased from about 9 mpy to 34 mpy since 2000.
The reason given is turbulence in Earth’s liquid outer core. There is a hot liquid ocean of iron and nickel in the planet’s core where the motion generates an electric field. In general Earth’s magnetic field is getting weaker, leading scientists to say that it will eventually flip, so that the north and south poles change polarity. This has happened numerous times in Earth’s past, but not in the last 780,000 years.
A study cited by National Geographic has found that Greenland’s ice is melting four times faster than expected. And the ice loss is from the land-fast ice sheet itself, not from Greenland’s glaciers.
Greenland is the world’s biggest island and it appears to have hit a tipping point in 2002, when ice loss rapidly accelerated, with a sustained ice loss in the SW region of the island, an area without large glaciers. By 2012 the annual ice loss was “unprecedented” at nearly four times the rate measured in 2003.
The study was was originally published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on January 21st 2019. Data from NASA’s GRACE satellites and GPS stations scattered around Greenland’s coast showed that between 2002 and 2016, Greenland lost approximately 280 billion tons of ice per year.
The Greenland ice sheet is 10,000 feet thick in places and contains enough ice to raise sea levels 23 feet (7 meters). However, the situation in Antarctica is more worrying, as the Antarctic ice sheet, if fully melted, could raise sea level 57 meters if fully melted. Alarmingly, the Antarctic is also undergoing an accelerated melt down, losing six times as much ice as it was four decades ago. Its ice loss averaged 252 billion tons a year over the past decade.