Scientists this week have updated the location of magnetic north a year ahead of schedule.
Arnaud Chulliat, a geophysicist at the University of Colorado, has now warned the movement is occurring "pretty fast".
Scientists were in the middle of arranging an emergency location update for its location when the USA government shutdown put the announcement on hold. The update has finally been confirmed this week.
By 2017, however, measurements have tracked the magnetic pole outside of Canada's reach. The magnetic north pole has always been moving, but the most recent release of the World Magnetic Model shows that it is moving very quickly, but nobody really knows how to predict its shift. Geomagnetic north is the northernmost end of the earth's magnetic bubble or magnetosphere.
Location of the north magnetic pole (white point) and the magnetic declination (contour interval 2 degrees) at the beginning of 2019.
This pole is defined as the point at which magnetic field lines point vertically down.
The wandering pole is driven by unpredictable changes in liquid iron deep inside the Earth.
How do scientists track it?
Earth's North Magnetic Pole has been drifting so fast in the last few decades that scientists say past estimates are no longer accurate enough for precise navigation. "By sampling these rocks and using radiometric dating techniques, it has been possible to reconstruct the history of the Earth's magnetic field for roughly the last 160 million years", wrote the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in a blog post.
WMM provides a five year forecast of changes to the Earth's magnetic field.
The U.S.' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a statement Monday that scientists had updated the World Magnetic Model, used by smartphone and consumer electronics for maps and Global Positioning System services, ahead of time to account for unplanned changes in the Earth's magnetic field.
The revised model was not due to be released until 2020.
The update will help navigation services that rely on the World Magnetic Model to calibrate users' geolocation data, the NOAA said.
These have now been completed including online calculators, software, and a technical note describing the changes. Over the last 780,000 years, fossil records indicate that the poles have moved and switched a number of times, with no recognizable harm to living organisms. The military uses the WMM for undersea and aircraft navigation, parachute deployment, and more.
As for what's causing the dramatic increase in movement, scientists say it could be down to a jet stream in the earth's core, which has weakened part of the moving currents, pushing it towards Siberia.