There is at the moment a mysterious anomaly weakening the Earth’s magnetic field and honestly, we don’t know much about it. It is constantly in a state of evolution and as time passes we hope to better understand it.
This is something known as the South Atlantic Anomaly and it is quite interesting for a number of reasons. While the ESA is monitoring it, we don’t yet know what it could mean. This anomaly is in an area stretching from Africa to South America and consists of some quite strange behavior. Because our magnetic field is very important for our survival on this planet, the more we know about this anomaly the better.
The ESA wrote as follows on the topic not too long ago:
It has been speculated whether the current weakening of the field is a sign that Earth is heading for an eminent pole reversal – in which the north and south magnetic poles switch places. Such events have occurred many times throughout the planet’s history and even though we are long overdue by the average rate at which these reversals take place (roughly every 250 000 years), the intensity dip in the South Atlantic occurring now is well within what is considered normal levels of fluctuations.
At surface level, the South Atlantic Anomaly presents no cause for alarm. However, satellites and other spacecraft flying through the area are more likely to experience technical malfunctions as the magnetic field is weaker in this region, so charged particles can penetrate the altitudes of low-Earth orbit satellites.
The mystery of the origin of the South Atlantic Anomaly has yet to be solved. However, one thing is certain: magnetic field observations from Swarm are providing exciting new insights into the scarcely understood processes of Earth’s interior.
In an area stretching from Africa to South America, Earth’s magnetic field is gradually weakening. Scientists are using data from @esa_swarm to improve our understanding of this area known as the ‘South Atlantic Anomaly’ 👉 https://t.co/ZqTBA9DmX4 pic.twitter.com/klc5SS7zYo
— ESA (@esa) May 20, 2020
According to Space.com Jurgen Matzka who happens to be a geomagnetism researcher at GFZ this new ‘eastern minimum’ we’re seeing of the South Atlantic Anomaly is something that has only appeared over the last decade but that it in recent years is ‘developing vigorously.’ While we are fortunate enough to have the equipment to monitor it, we still need to find out as much as we can for the future. Sure, it may not cause any real issues but for now, we need to keep an eye on it so we can be sure of that.