Earth

The magnetic north pole is migrating rapidly toward Siberia

A Boeing 777 of Emirates Airlines pictured flying at high altitude.
An Emirates Airlines Boeing 777 pictured flying at high altitude. Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Earth's magnetic north pole is on the move, and while scientists aren't exactly sure what's behind the migration, they have taken the unprecedented step of issuing an unplanned update to the World Magnetic Model.

Why it matters: The World Magnetic Model, which is issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), exists to help undersea and aircraft navigation, among other uses. It's normally updated every 5 years, and the last one was published in 2015. The next wasn't planned until the end of this year.

Just 5% of Earth's landscape is untouched

An illustration of a set of hands holding a malleable Earth
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Humans have a greater influence on the world's landscape than previously thought, according to a comprehensive new high-resolution analysis of human modification of the planet. The map, published in the journal Global Change Biology, is meant to guide conservation strategy in the coming years.

Why it matters: The new study finds that just 5% of the Earth’s land surface is currently unaffected by humans, far lower than a previous estimate of 19%.

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