So the latest doomsday fearmongering I’m hearing about are global superstorms caused by dangerous shifts in the Earth’s magnetic field. For example, some of the basic science Aym claims is way off: Worse, what shields the planet from cancer-causing radiation is the magnetic field. Venus doesn’t even have a global magnetic field, for example, and there’s no indication I could find that any of the other planets have fields that are "shifting".
The magnetic poles don’t line up with the Earth’s physical poles (its spin poles if you like), and they also wander. As it happens, the north magnetic pole does appear to be moving faster than it used to; it averaged about 9 km/year of motion before 1970 and is now moving at about 40 km/yr (note that in the article, Aym says it’s 40 miles/year, but that may just be a typo on his part). Note that the south magnetic pole hasn’t sped up, indicating this acceleration of the north pole is probably a temporary anomaly. This is a real event, and happens on geologic timescales.They are not new, and are unrelated to magnetic fluctuations; the cause is actually described in the NASA article: sometimes the solar wind has an opposite magnetic polarity as the Earth’s magnetic field, allowing them to interact more strongly and form these cracks.So in that sentence Aym is misleading about the cracks and the Earth’s magnetic field, and then asserts flatly they affect weather, when no such connection is apparent. The Earth’s magnetic field is roughly like that of a bar magnet, with two opposite poles.Perhaps the author of the article did in fact say that; if he did then that’s not what the actual scientific study appears to say in the journal — there’s a big difference between a "relatively good" correlation and a "strong" one.But that statement is still confused and confusing.When this happens, incoming radiation will affect our weather, causing gigantic storms the likes of which have never been seen except in Hollywood movies. With the field weakening and cracks emerging, the death rate from cancer could skyrocket and mutations of DNA can become rampant. If we didn’t have a magnetic field the Earth’s air would stop these particles anyway. And here’s another bit: Forget about global warming—man-made or natural—what drives planetary weather patterns is the climate and what drives the climate is the sun’s magnetosphere and its electromagnetic interaction with a planet’s own magnetic field. Bottom line: his claim of a link between the Earth’s magnetic field and superstorms is totally wrong. The author, Terrence Aym, wrote at least one breathlessly overblown and grossly inaccurate doomsday article without doing the necessary basic research; that one was about Apophis hitting the Earth in 2036 — and you know how I feel about that sort of thing. Aym makes scientific claims that are completely unfounded in reality, and sometimes says things that are simply dead wrong.The past couple of snowstorms have been pretty big, but there’s no reason whatsoever to link them to any magnetic issues.After all, the pole has been wandering for decades, so why would this happen now?The radiation he’s talking about — UV and X-rays — are totally unaffected by magnetic fields. His claim that the Sun’s magnetosphere drives the climate is also not true.That type of radiation is note that without the magnetic field protecting us, subatomic particles in the solar wind could erode the ozone layer, causing an increase in skin cancer rates from UV, but Aym doesn’t say anything about the ozone layer. When something as basic as that is wrong in an article, it should make you at least a little suspicious about bigger claims. What really drives the climate are several factors, including the Sun’s energy output (light and heat), how much the Earth absorbs that energy, the Earth’s rotation, its atmosphere content, the shape of its orbit, and so on.