A science writer warned that the Earth's magnetic field has been drastically weakening over the past hundreds of years. If this continues, the magnetic field could end up collapsing completely.
The magnetic field is a protective layer around Earth that shields the planet from radiation and highly-charged particles emitted by the Sun. Recent reports from NASA confirmed that the magnetic field's current state has been decreasing for the past centuries.
Earth's Weakening Magnetic Field
In a forum on Quora, science fiction writer and journalist C Stuart Hardwick revealed that satellite data, such as those collected by the European Space Agency's SWARM mission, revealed that the magnetic field has been weakening for about 5 percent each century. He noted that currently, the strength of the magnetic field is at 29.5 microteslas, which is 14 percent weaker than its previous state three centuries ago.
According to Hardwick, the SWARM satellites detected increased deterioration within regions of the magnetic field over North America. He said these regions weakened by about 3.5 percent over the span of just three years. In some areas, however, the magnetic field displayed improved and more stable states.
Effect Of Magnetic Field's Collapse
Hardwick noted that if Earth's magnetic field continues to weaken, it could eventually collapse completely. Based on the current trend, Hardwick estimated that a full collapse could take place within two thousand years.
Although the magnetic field serves as Earth's first line of defence against solar threats, Hardwick noted that humans will most likely not experience any catastrophic events following its collapse. He said that the magnetic field has already broken down multiple times in the past and it always bounces back to its original state.
"The Earth's magnetic field is weakening, and whether it collapses in the next two thousand years or the next two, it will eventually collapse and flip as it seems to have done regularly for many millions of years," Hardwick explained. "It's happened hundreds of times before, and there is absolutely no evidence that it's ever caused a mass extinction or even a noticeable disruption to life on Earth."