Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Are We Doomed? How the Movement of the Magnetic North Pole to Russia Will Affect You

Filed under: science — 01varvara @ 00.00
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Earlier, scientists from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British Geological Survey updated the coordinates of the Magnetic North Pole, saying it was gradually leaving the Canadian Arctic behind and moving toward Russian Siberia at a rate of over 55 kilometres per year, up from less than 15 kilometres in the year 2000.

Navigation Systems

More than anything, the shift of the Magnetic North Pole affects navigation systems containing magnetic compasses. While modern smartphones, vehicles, ships, and airliners are connected to satellite-based navigation systems, like GPS and GLONASS, their receivers don’t provide a sense of direction, rather, only a person or vehicle’s fixed location. As a result, navigation systems’ use magnetic compasses, or magnetometers, to provide an accurate estimate of the direction a phone, vehicle, ship, or plane is pointing in using what’s known as declination… the difference between true north and the direction of the compass. If the mathematically expected location of the Magnetic North Pole is wrong, navigation equipment will be off kilter.

For this reason, the recently announced update to the World Magnetic Model, the mathematical foundation for navigation which allows magnetic north to be precisely fixed, is crucial, and couldn’t have come a moment too soon. Accounting for the shift in the pole’s location is particularly important in areas above the 55th Parallel, which covers northern Canada, Scandinavia, and much of Russia. For most civilian purposes in Western Europe and North America, British Geological Survey geophysicist Ciaran Beggan told National Geographic:

The changes would be relatively minor. The average user isn’t going to be overly affected by this unless they happen to be trekking around the high Arctic.

However, militaries, commercial airlines, search and rescue ships and aircraft, NASA, and other agencies and groups relying on precision navigation in the high north should find the update helpful.

Bird and Fish Migration Patterns

Over time, especially, in a scenario where Earth reverses polarity and the magnetic poles swap places, the moving of the Magnetic North Pole will affect animals, birds, and sea life that use the polls’ magnetic fields for navigation. While scientists expect them to recover, the shift may result in scenarios of birds falling out of the sky en masse, and fish dying off in large numbers. While most scientists believe this shift won’t lead to any catastrophic mass extinctions, the scenes may be frightening, looking something like the pictures of thousands of dead birds and fish in Arkansas in 2011, which some scientists thought may have been related to animals’ sensitivity to changes in the Earth’s magnetic field.

Magnetic Field Shielding Earth?

A more serious possible consequence of the “tug of war” between magnetic field patches in northern Canada and Siberia, which some scientists say is causing the accelerated movement of the Magnetic North Pole, is its potential to weaken the magnetic shield sparing earth from deadly solar and cosmic radiation. This could lead to increased rates of cancer in humans, or harm man-made infrastructure projects, such as power grids. However, scientists say that even in the scenario of a flip of the North and South Poles, which they don’t expect to happen anytime soon, the shift would take place slowly, taking as much as a thousand years to complete. Hopefully, this would help mitigate its effects.

5 February 2019

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/world/201902051072151565-magnetic-north-pole-shift-implications/

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Always Darkest Before the Dawn: Polar Night Ends on Frants Iosif Land (Russia’s Northernmost Archipelago)

Border marker at Severnaya Bay on Alexandra Land in the Frants Iosif Land Archipelago

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On Thursday, the Sun rose over the horizon on Frants Iosif Land, the northernmost Arctic archipelago in Russia and Eurasia, signalling an end to the four-month-long pitch-dark polar night. Aleksei Barakov, a deputy director of the Russian Arctic National Park, told us:

The Sun rose over Alexandra Land Island where the Omega permanent field base is located.

The polar night began on Frants Iosif Land, an archipelago lying only 1,100 kilometres (684 miles) away from the North Pole, on 18 October. Vadim Zakharyin, the chief of the national park’s expedition centre, noted:

The night is very cold, windy, and dark there. The Northern Lights rarely occur on the archipelago because the cloud cover is rather thick and low. The temperatures usually hover at around -30 degrees (-22 Fahrenheit), with high humidity that’s difficult to bear. Besides that, winds reach hurricane-like speeds of 36 metres per second (80.5 miles per hour). You have to be especially careful in that darkness because you can run into polar bears there.

On Thursday, the weather on Alexandra Island was frigid and calm. Two park staff-members are always present at the Omega field base of the Russian Arctic National Park. Only two of the 192 islands making up Frants Iosif Land are habitable during the winter. Alexandra Land, the westernmost island of the archipelago, is home to the Nagurskoye border outpost and a Northern Fleet base, in addition to the national park’s field base. A weather monitoring station, also known as “the observatory”, is on Kheysa Island in the very centre of the archipelago. A source at the Northern Department for Meteorology and Environment Monitoring said:

Currently, there are six workers at the Ernst Krenkel Observatory.

22 February 2018

TASS

http://tass.com/economy/991293

Saturday, 18 November 2017

18 November 2017. Heroes of the Russian Land

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Today is the 118th birthday of my grandfather, the famous polar aviator, Hero of the Soviet Union Mikhail Vasilyevich Vodopyanov. He was a self-motivated man… he dreamed, worked selflessly, and so achieved his dreams. He made numerous difficult flights in the Far North, including being the first pilot in the world to land directly on the North Pole. He not only made pioneering flights on far-flung air-routes, he participated in one of the first long-range bombing raids on Berlin in August 1941. He was sincere! He was genuine and driven, a pilot with a burning heart! Eternal memory and glory to Mikhail Vasilyevich!

18 November 2017

Svetlana Boldyrev

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Climate Change: 80,000 Reindeer Starve to Death as Arctic Sea Ice Retreats

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In 2006 and 2013, tens of thousands of reindeer died because of global warming caused by human-influenced climate change in the polar regions of Russia. If similar meteorological effects take place this year, Russia’s reindeer industry will face catastrophe. Reindeer, Russia’s cattle of the Arctic regions, suffered terrible losses in 2006 and 2013, as thick ice covered snow due to effects of global warming. Over 80,000 animals died during the period, a repeat could be a tragedy for the 270,000-animal population. In the autumn of 2006 and 2013, sea ice began to melt instead of building up as it normally does at that time of the year, leading to a high level of water evaporation, forming large storm systems over the shore. Then, winds moved the clouds south, where indigenous herders were moving their reindeer. According to Bruce Forbes at the University of Lapland (Rovaniemi FINLAND), resulting rains covered the snow with a thick layer of ice that became unbreakable for the animals when temperatures plunged to —40 degrees. He said:

Reindeer are used to sporadic ice cover, and adult males can normally smash through ice around 2 centimetres thick, but in 2006 and 2013, the ice was several tens of centimetres thick.

This year, the sea-ice cover was the second-lowest on record in the Arctic, and there is fear of another famine. Forbes commented:

If we see such events again this year, it could mean that they’re becoming more frequent. Now is the risk window, and if it happens again, it will be a major problem for traditional reindeer herders still suffering from losses in 2013.

This year, a famine would be especially damaging as authorities scheduled a massive cull to cope with an anthrax outbreak amongst reindeer. Anthrax, a bacterial infection that quickly spreads among animals, can spread to humans. Recently, at least one child died and 90 people went to hospital in the region due to the deadly disease, causing state authorities to order emergency culling and vaccination of reindeer herds.

17 November 2016

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/russia/201611171047524973-climate-change-reindeers-famine-russia/

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