Sunday, 9 January 2011

Magnetic North Pole Shift Causes Tampa Runway Closing and Bird Kill Speculation

A shift in the magnetic north pole has led to the closing of a Tampa International Airport runway and prompted some to speculate that the shift could be the reason for the recent bird and kills.

Nordpole-itPresently, this magnetic pole is shifting towards Russia. Bear in mind that this is the magnetic north pole, not the geographical one. Santa and his elves are not moving and Sarah Palin is not getting a closer view. Earth's magnetic field is a result of currents that flow throw the molten rock at the Earth's core. Early navigators decided that there were two points on the earth where a magnetized needle would stand straight. These points were named the North and South Magnetic Poles.

So, why did the runway in Tampa need to be closed? Runways have designations corresponding to their alignment with the Earth's magnetic axis. The runway was designated as a 18R/36L (a 180 degree approach from the North and 360 degrees from the south). Because the poles have shifted, the runway will need to be re-designated. The physical runway hasn't moved, but the compass needles have. Though this is not usual, it's not highly unusual either. London's Stansted Airport had to make similar adjustments a few years ago.

Could the shift be responsible for the recent bird and fish kills? An article at Times Square Chronicles examines the possibility, speculating that because birds and fish use the Earth's magnetic field for navigation, changes could confuse their internal compasses and prevent them from migrating properly.