The Earth’s magnetic field experiences unpredictable, rapid, and intense anomalies that are known as geomagnetic jerks. The mechanisms behind this phenomenon had remained a mystery until the recent discovery of a CNRS researcher. Working with a colleague in Denmark, they created a computer model for these geomagnetic jerks, and provided an explanation for their appearance. Their research was published in Nature Geoscience on April 22, 2019.
Initially described in 1978, geomagnetic jerks are unpredictable events that abruptly accelerate the evolution of the Earth’s magnetic field, and skew predictions of its behaviour on a multi-year scale. Our magnetic field affects numerous human activities, ranging from establishing direction in smartphones to the flight of low-altitude satellites. It is therefore essential to accurately predict its evolution. Still, geomagnetic jerks have presented a problem for geophysicists over time.
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