Shifting North Magnetic Pole Is aAffecting Everything From Cell Phones to Submarines

Normally the World Magnetic Model is updated every 5 years, but the North Magnetic Pole is changing position so fast, regular updates are now required.

Earth’s magnetic field is changing so quickly that researchers have been forced to update to the World Magnetic Model ahead of schedule. Developed by NOAA and the British Geological Survey, the model is widely used for precision navigation of devices ranging from nuclear submarines to the common smartphone. Your own phone may be affected.


Pick up your cell phone and look at it. That rectangular marvel of modern technology contains thousands of lines of code. Among them is the World Magnetic Model (WMM)–a program that helps your phone navigate. And it’s in a bit of trouble. Researchers have announced that the WMM needs an emergency update because Earth’s magnetic field is changing.

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