The Earth’s magnetic field protects us from solar and cosmic radiation, but for 170 years, a certain part of the magnetic field has been weakening.
The weakening is because the magnetic poles on the Earth are preparing themselves for a reversal, where the north and south pole switch positions, as reported by National Geographic.
It is unclear when the pole reversal will begin, but scientists think that the pole reversal will be slow as it seems to have been in the past, taking approximately thousands of years to complete the process.
This is good because there is ample time to prepare for the change. On the other hand, we would be more vulnerable to solar and cosmic rays that are harmful to us and most life on earth.
A noticeable change would include the reversal of compasses, where North will point towards Antarctica instead of the Arctic.
Some animals rely on the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate their way around the world. This is called magnetoreception. A pole reversal will cause the animals to lose their way during a routine journey.
For example, sea turtles search for unique magnetic signatures on the coast to lay their eggs. This allows the hatchlings to one day find their home as adults after they’ve left their nest.
Once the magnetic poles flip, the hatchlings won’t be able to locate their birthplace.