Shifting Magnetic Pole Causes Airport Interruptions


Code Monkey
Staff member
Like a plot element out of a SyFy made-for-TV movie, the slight shifting of the Earth's magnetic North pole is causing interruptions at an airport.

National Geographic News reports that the pole has been in a gradual shift towards Russia due to changes in the Earth's core. The movement is about 40 miles a year. :eek:

Because of that the Federal Aviation Administration is requiring the Tampa International Airport (TPA) to make a few changes.

The primary runway at TPA will be closed until January 13 to allow works to repaint the numeric markers at each, along with the taxiway signs, to account for the pole shift.

Previously the runway was designated on aviation charts at 18R/36L, meaning its alignment was along the 180-degree approach from the North and the 360-degree approach from the South. With the North magnetic pole shifting its position, those degree indicators are now no longer correct. The revised designation will be 19R/1L.

After the main runway has been updated with the new designation, TPA will do the same for the East parallel and East-West runways.