Scientists from Sward Data, Innovation, and Science Cluster (DISC) use data obtained via the European Space Agency's Swarm satellites in a bid to gain new insights into the processes that transpire in the so called South Atlantic Anomaly, an area that stretches from Africa to South America, where our planet's magnetic field has been weakening, SciTechDaily reports.
As the media outlet points out, Earth's magnetic field, which protects us from harmful cosmic radiation, has lost about 9 percent of its strength on global average during the past 200 years, with South Atlantic Anomaly developing in the process.
And while the strength of the magnetic field in the anomaly area has dropped from around 24,000 nanoteslas to 22,000 since 1970, it appears that a "second center of minimum intensity" has now emerged in that area, possibly indicating that the anomaly might split.
"The new, eastern minimum of the South Atlantic Anomaly has appeared over the last decade and in recent years is developing vigorously", said Jürgen Matzka, from the German Research Centre for Geosciences. "We are very lucky to have the Swarm satellites in orbit to investigate the development of the South Atlantic Anomaly. The challenge now is to understand the processes in Earth’s core driving these changes."
The media outlet also notes that the anomaly does not present any cause for alarm on the surface level, though spacecraft passing through that area face higher risk of experiencing technical malfunctions since charged particles can penetrate their orbits.