(Nature) Something strange is happening on top of the world. The magnetic north pole of the Earth is moving away from Canada and towards Siberia, driven by slag of liquid iron inside the planet's core. The magnetic pole moves so quickly that it forces the world's geomagnetism experts to make a rare move.
On January 15, they are ready to update the World Magnetic Model, which describes the magnetic field of the planet and underlies all the modern navigation, from the systems that direct ships at sea to Google Maps on smartphones.
The latest version of the model came out in 2015 and should have lasted until 2020, but the magnetic field is changing so rapidly that researchers now need to fix the model. "The error increases continuously," says Arnaud Chulliat, geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and at the National Environmental Information Centers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).