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What is the South Atlantic Anomaly?
The Earth’s magnetic field, generated deep within the planet, is a shield against particle radiation from space. In the South Atlantic this shield is much weaker than elsewhere across the globe and radiation from space therefore penetrates deeper into the atmosphere. This region is known as the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) and the radiation in the SAA is a known hazard to satellites, spacecraft and high-altitude aircraft.
A magnetic reversal in progress?
The South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) is known to be growing in extent and spreading westwards from South Africa, as the Earth’s internal magnetic field rapidly weakens in this region. This may be early evidence of a forthcoming reversal in the direction of the Earth’s internal magnetic field. We do not know in detail precisely what occurs during such reversals, including the changes observed in the magnetic field and the time a reversal takes to complete. However these factors are important in knowing where the radiation risk may be increased and how the atmosphere might respond.
Earth’s magnetic field has had many highs, lows and reversals in its past. The last reversal was around 800,000 years ago. So the Earth is known to be able to re-generate its field and has done so during human pre-history. Understanding the development of the SAA may therefore be significant in understanding the reversal process and its impact on life and the natural environment.
Originally posted by asperetty
So how did the earth respond to the shift those 800 thousand years ago? Are there any clues as to the state of the Earth during the last reversal that might suggest what we will experience? That's the important question.
Originally posted by DigitalSea
If the poles are shifting, I wonder if it is a contributing factor to the Queensland floods we're experiencing here in Australia. They're saying it's the worse flood Queensland has ever experienced since 1859 which is crazy considering they built a flood mitigation dam in 1984 (Wivenhoe) to prevent a repeat of the 1974 floods, now they're saying that the floods are worse even with the flood mitigation dam.
Do the poles have anything to do with the weather?