Magnetic pole shift shuts down runways

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Apple OC, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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    #1
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Last couple of paragraphs from your link...

    The poles last reversed themselves 780,000 years ago, and the reversals typically take 10,000 years or more to happen.

    "In terms of what kind of havoc it could wreak or effects on humankind, we can't really say because we haven't experienced it," he said. "I don't think it will be the end of the world."


    But we may need to renumber some runways.
     
  3. NoSmokingBandit macrumors 68000

    NoSmokingBandit

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    #3
    The poles are constantly shifting, this isnt some spontaneous occurrence. They have to change the coordinates of the runways because they still use the poles for direction instead of GPS. The north pole is actually moving closer to 'top' of the earth, not toward the equator.
     
  4. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    #4
    I never needed a compass to navigate, the stars move slower so they make better points of reference even though there are degrees of change over time, and GPS works using satellites in geosynchronous orbit so it is a better reference too but more technology dependent and requires much to maintain the equipment. Relying on a wobbly magnetic field seems a step backwards compared to the other two.
     
  5. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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  6. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    Yes indeed, they need to update their systems and reference the earths rotation rather than a shifting magnetic pole.
     
  7. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

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    #7
    There are obviously some good reasons to switch to true north, but magnetic heading is a fundamental component of how every airplane navigates. Making such a change on a global basis is a monumental task - it's far, far easier to paint a few runways every so often. ;)
     
  8. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    Is it really? I was under the impression that most airplanes (and ships) use inertial compasses that are not affected by the magnetic field (always orient to true north, once calibrated).
     
  9. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

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    #9
    The industry is still built around magnetic heading. Even if the plane has an inertial means to provide true north, magnetic north is still calculated and used for headings (at least when not operating at the poles). Much of the technology, the charts, how pilots interact with ATC - it's still ultimately built around that premise. So while we could change headings to be based off true north, there's a whole lot of stuff that would have to change along with it.

    It's not impossible, but like anything else, there would have to be a substantial benefit in making the change. And you'd need to convince the entire planet to do it!
     
  10. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #10
    I think the other issue is redundancy. If the other things break, a compass will still work.
     
  11. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #11
    Well that's #$@&ing assuring.
     

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