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June 16, 2024
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The earth’s magnetic poles have been shifting.  The north magnetic pole has shifted from Canada towards Siberia in recent years, as shown in this very short video from EASA. The speed of the change is quite noticeable from 2000-2019, and if the trend continues, could be an early indication of a potential pole reversal, which has happened periodically in the earth’s history.  These movements will continue to have an impact on aviation.

Since runways are numbered in compass directions oriented to magnetic poles, the shift from Canada to Russia will change runway alignments as the pole moves.  So Runway 4 may need to become runway 5 or even runway 6 in the next couple of decades.  With the speed of the change in position increasing in recent years, this small, but significant, impact on aviation will likely manifest itself further over the next decade.

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Ernest Arvai
President AirInsight Group LLC