Monday, May 14, 2007

Yet another possible cause of global warming...

14 May 2007

According to the Economist, the Earth’s magnetic field is getting ready to flip (this happens every 500,000 years or so, but very erratically, and it has been ¾ million years since the last flip). The magnetic field is weakening by about 5% a century. This in turn weakens the magnetosphere, which shields the earth from much solar radiation. Thus, increasing solar radiation is reaching the surface of the earth.

The Economist isn't linking this to global warming, but it is an obvious correlate….

The Northern lights will sure look great in Missouri and Saudi Arabia – and ultimately at the (former) south pole…..

Do we then have to rename Antarctica to Arctica??? Does Canada become the True South, strong and free? Will Canadians go north for their winter holidays (my wife Susan excepted, as she likes to go to the Yukon in February)?


  1. So we should have local pineapples and coconuts... awesome!

  2. The difficult period will be the transition when we have no stable magnetic field. At that point, we will not be shielded from the sun's radiation, and it will make CO2-based global warming and the thinning of the ozone layer look like minor events. I guess the question is how long does it take for the poles to flip? That is the high-risk period.

  3. I should also mention that your son Cameron added an interesting point about the Martian magnetic field. Due to global cooling, as it were, the molten iron core of Mars congealed, causing the demise of the Martian magnetic field. WIth that apparently came the dissolution of the Martian atmosphere, which certainly solved the problem of greenhouse gases. Obviously greenhouse gases are desirable, but the question is how much? With too much, you look like Venus, with 400 degree Celsius surface temperatures - making Mercury, though much nearer to the sun, look cool by comparison.