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Magnetic Pole Shift Affects Tampa Airport

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the it's-also-why-they-repaint-bridges dept.

Earth 317

RFSSystems writes "I thought this was an amazing and rather rare phenomenon and wanted to share. 'The airport has closed its primary runway until Jan. 13 to repaint the numeric designators at each end and change taxiway signage to account for the shift in location of the Earth's magnetic north pole.' It appears that the shifting poles have begun to affect air travel in a somewhat modest way. Could this also be the explanation for the falling/dead birds this week?" I hope the gradualists are right, but scenarios for rapid magnetic pole shift are fun to think about.

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Like Bush... (0, Offtopic)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781336)

I don't much pay attention to poles... um wait...

Re:Like Bush... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781404)

Like Hitler, I DO pay attention to Poles. C'mere, Poland, let me give you a big friendly hug.

Re:Like Bush... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781450)

As a stripper, the pole is my bestest friend!

Re:Like Bush... (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781672)

Friends don't give friends chlamydia. -- The Pole.

Re:Like Bush... (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782456)

Ride my pole. -- From most pornos

Re:Like Bush... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781968)

I don't much pay attention to poles... um wait...

Here, now! Bush very clearly and famously didn't forget about Poland!

Happens all the time (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781394)

The airport I work at has a second set of signage from when the gradual shift occurs in cycles, making for a 10 degree change in the direction of the runway. Ie, here it will be runway 10-28 becoming runway 09-27. Has nothing to do with birds, happens every decade or so. Ten years after that, itll be back to what it is now.

Re:Happens all the time (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781854)

AFAIK the pole is heading off to a different direction this time.

It does wanter, and is "cyclic" in that it wanders all the time enough that it comes back to the same spot.

Anybody thinking they are going to predict it however is mistaken or at best, lucky if they guess right.

Re:Happens all the time (1)

RKBA (622932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782422)

I am astounded they would be orienting runways according to the magnetic poles and not the "true" cardinal directions.

Re:Happens all the time (3, Funny)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782550)

because measuring "true" cardinal directions is so simple, compared with measuring magnetic north.

Oh wait...

Re:Happens all the time (4, Insightful)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782552)

I am astounded they would be orienting runways according to the magnetic poles and not the "true" cardinal directions.

Maybe because a magnetic compass will (almost) always work when the more advanced instruments don't?

How do you propose that pilots figure out what the "true" cardinal direction is as they approach the airport? While working through their landing checklist, monitoring other air traffic, weather, and everything else that has to happen before the wheels touch down?

I guarantee they don't have time to do a star-sighting.

Re:Happens all the time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782508)

Several years ago I flew into Gainsville, FL in my private plane. It was fairly early morning and quiet, about 5 miles out I received my landing clearance from the tower "LongEz 987EZ cleared to land runway 11". I scratched my head for half a second, my charts showed a runway 10-28 and 07-25, I couldn't see the airport well enough to see runway number so I assumed tower just screwed up slightly. As I approached on final I could see it was clearly repainted as 11, and confirmed this my heading was roughly 110. I thought it was interesting to see the drifting magnetic pole in action.

I wonder (2)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781396)

if we'll see a similar phenomenon with the bee population as we start moving into the warmer months ahead. Perhaps it's not just a cell phone boom that was to blame last year...

Re:I wonder (1)

trentblase (717954) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781774)

Are you pondering what I'm pondering? Perhaps the cell phone boom is causing the magnetic pole shift!

Re:I wonder (4, Funny)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782338)

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Why, yes, Brain! I do think it is a bad idea to eat tater tots that were saved in my pocket from this afternoon's lunch!

Re:I wonder (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781876)

As per the dead birds...

Some may speculate climate change (Weather Channel just now), magnetic deviation (why are the birds dead and NOT lost/off course?), but my guess is that Occam's Razor applies here:

Black birds at night over Arkansas.
New Year's Eve.
Rednecks with shotguns.

Can I have my Nobel Prize for "Stating the Fscking Obvious", now?

Re:I wonder (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781944)

Go get a shotgun, a case of birdshot, set up an optimal test and place a lot of small dark bird sized targets in a tree. Wait for dark. Fire a lot of shots into the tree. See how many you've hit come morning.

Yes some irresponsible gun owners can cause problems, but 1000's of birds over a few days in many locales just isn't going to add up to a few hoons.

Re:I wonder (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782106)

GOOGLE IT, but they came out with results of the Bee study. It had nothing to do with cell phones, but with disease and the way they transport agricultural bees.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782282)

The dwindling bee population could likely be the result of pesticide use
http://www.naturalnews.com/030921_EPA_pesticides.html

Not rare at all (5, Informative)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781400)

Changing magnetic deviation due to movement of the magnetic pole goes on all the time. Runways are numbered according to their magnetic heading, plus or minus five degrees, and they have to keep them up to date, is all.

Two seconds of googling found this comment thread [airliners.net] discussing a different runway-renumbering from July of 2009.

Obviously not enough airplane geeks around here...

Re:Not rare at all (1)

JDeane (1402533) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781516)

Honestly the comments are more interesting then the article and infinity more informative as is the case with yours.

If I had mod points I would have given you a +1 informative.

To be honest until reading your comment I had never really given much thought about the runway numbering scheme.

Re:Not rare at all (5, Funny)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781566)

How am I supposed to panic uncontrollably when level-headed people like you are around?

Seriously speaking, thank you (and people like you) for being around.

Re:Not rare at all (1)

kiwidude (1971870) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781638)

What about the comment in the article [bbc.co.uk] located on that thread that said "It'll roughly be another 56 years before we have to consider changing it again."?

Re:Not rare at all (1)

inerlogic (695302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781740)

because the change variation of the variation, varies...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mv-world.jpg

Re:Not rare at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781646)

You could say changing magnetic deviation is as rare as mass animal die offs. Which is also quite common in history, despite what the asshole media touts and technical sites pick up.

Re:Not rare at all (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781714)

Even worse for those that would like to panic about it, the airport diagrams even list the standard yearly magnetic drift... :-) Nothing to see here, move along now.

Re:Not rare at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781788)

Two seconds of googling

At first I thought the Google instant search feature was bizarre, but already I've come to expect it whenever I search for something.

For the airplane geeks... (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781908)

Why are we still using compass ?
With GPS and INS [wikipedia.org] , the runways could be numbered in relation to ITRF [wikipedia.org] . Of course, continent drift means some renumbering will be needed, but that would be much less frequently.

Re:For the airplane geeks... (3, Informative)

kaleth (66639) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781988)

Because not every plane has a GPS or INS. (Certified) GPS equipment is still new and expensive for airplanes. INS is very large and heavy, and only used on large commercial jets.

And perhaps most importantly, a compass always works. If everything else fails, you still have that as a backup.

Re:For the airplane geeks... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782108)

If your plane gets truck by lightning or you get some malfunction or short, you better know how to you a compass or you could just end up dead. Are you willing to forgo your compass when going hiking in the woods because you have your new fancy GPS?? I certainly wouldn't.

As for runways, the number if you want to communicate between plane and ground control which runway you are landing. If ground control says you are landing on runway 245, you already know the heading you have to approach the airport... Hell, I'm not even a pilot and I know that! Basic flight simulator would get you that knowledge!

Re:For the airplane geeks... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782260)

Because at the end of the day you not only need to know your position but your own bearings too.

The plane needs to know which direction it is point in. GPS's use compasses to point out a bearing for travel.

Re:For the airplane geeks... (5, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782280)

The compass requires no electrical power.

I fly a Cessna 172S equipped with a Garmin G1000. It's a glass cockpit that makes life much, much easier, but I still have a few analog instruments: compass, attitude indicator, airspeed indicator, and altimeter. All of them function on principles in place on aircraft for many decades now, and provide a layer of reliability in case just about everything goes wrong. I can lose the entire electrical system and still be able to fly to the best landing site available, because the compass is based on the Earth's magnetic field, the attitude indicator is based on a vacuum-driven gyro (the vacuum pump is mechanical and run by the engine), the altimeter is based on the static air pressure, and the airspeed indicator is based on both the pitot tube and the static air pressure. (The engine spark is provided by magnetos that will keep providing spark as long as the engine is turning - no battery required.)

There are complications when flying at night, but that's why I carry a hand-held navcom radio and a couple of flashlights with me in my flight bag.

Re:Not rare at all (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782536)

Why don't they switch to digital north so they don't have to keep changing all the time?

Dead birds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781416)

No, that was not the magnetic pole shifting. Stop watching movies like 'The Core.'

Re:Dead birds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781594)

Yeah, the dead birds and fishes have nothing to do with the magnetic poles.

It's either aliens or another military experiment.

Re:Dead birds? (2)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781660)

No, that was not the magnetic pole shifting. Stop watching movies like 'The Core.'

I hate this site sometimes, largely because I'm about to be blasted for saying this... but...

The Core is only partially terrible science.

PLEASE DON'T MURDER ME. Let me speak...

The magnetic field over the earth DOES in fact shift around, and it is, at least some of the time, due to changes in the core. Also it is assumed to cause bad things to happen.

So the premise of the film, being that the Earth's core is messed up and is causing us a bad time of it, isn't really all that flawed.

Now the laser-worm with the bombs and all that, THAT is crap. But birds falling from the sky can and does already happen due to magnetism. Check out pigeon races and how they have to plan them around these fluctuations.

Re:Dead birds? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781718)

Oh! You better let all the scientists know the reason the birds died, was, then.

Difficult to change, but not that rare. (5, Informative)

Xocet_00 (635069) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781426)

The movements of magnetic north have, on many prior occasions, caused airports to have to redesignate their runways. Since it requires updating of all the charts that aircraft are required to carry (not to mention signage on the ground), it's often deferred as long as possible. Tampa doing this isn't really that significant, although I admit that it's kind of neat in a visual-manifestation-of-invisible-phenomenon kind of way.

Wikipedia subsection on the subject. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Difficult to change, but not that rare. (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781626)

> Since it requires updating of all the charts that aircraft are required to carry (not to mention signage on the ground), it's often deferred as long as possible.

The signage on the ground and numbering/labeling on the computer equipment is probably a pain, but if I remember my aviation science class correctly, aeronautical charts are updated yearly and commercial aircraft are required to carry the latest, so that's not really a factor.

Re:Difficult to change, but not that rare. (5, Informative)

Orion2 (200288) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781912)

Changes to stuff like this are introduced on a cycle once every 28 days - called an "AIRAC cycle". The AIRAC is synchronized all over the world, so all the systems, charts and the like on the ground and in aircraft can be updated accordingly. Obviously there is some lead time ahead to allow for publication, distribution and update of the information and depending systems.

Imagine if it was only once a year - every change affecting more than one airspace user or aviation service provider in the world would have to be introduced together. This would in consequence mean that you could only open a new runway, introduce a departure procedure or many more things on that date.

On top of this there's a notification scheme for distributing info like non-functioning equipment, temporarily closed runways (for which you don't change maps forth and back), procedures to adhere, info about an airshow and the like. This is called a NOTAM - short for NOtice To AirMen.

Re:Difficult to change, but not that rare. (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782378)

Charts are generally updated more frequently than that, though not as frequently as the AIRAC information that Orion2 mentions. Usually, sectional and terminal area charts are updated every six months or so. As an example, the current LA sectional and TAC are good from 16 Dec 2010 to 30 Jun 2011, and are based on information current as of 18 Nov 2010 for airspace and 21 Oct 2010 for everything else.

Re:Difficult to change, but not that rare. (2)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782400)

Charts are generally updated more frequently than that, though not as frequently as the AIRAC information that Orion2 mentions. Usually, sectional and terminal area charts are updated every six months or so. As an example, the current LA sectional and TAC are good from 16 Dec 2010 to 30 Jun 2011, and are based on information current as of 18 Nov 2010 for airspace and 21 Oct 2010 for everything else. All pilots are required to carry current charts with them when acting as a crew member no matter what their level.

Re:Difficult to change, but not that rare. (5, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781664)

Here's [wikipedia.org] a really cool animated gif from Wikipedia, showing the magnetic declination [wikipedia.org] changing over time.

Re:Difficult to change, but not that rare. (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781794)

You do have to pity the chaps responsible for repainting the runways of aircraft carriers whenever their orientation relative to the earth's magnetic field changes...

Hollywood knows what to do (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781440)

So we need a burrowing craft made of unobtainium and some bombs to let off in the middle of the earth.

The crew should consist of a nice scientist, a mean scientist and a couple of young hotties.

Plus a rousing film score, a couple of heroic moments and some ironic character arc stuff.

Re:Hollywood knows what to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781462)

Then we can have a non-scientist politician write a book or make a movie about it!

Re:Hollywood knows what to do (1)

spikedvodka (188722) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781472)

and don't forget the inability to pronounce the word "nuclear" correctly (Hint: It only has 2 syllables)

Re:Hollywood knows what to do (1)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781570)

"Nuke-lee-ar" is still three syllables. You don't say "new-clear", do you?

Re:Hollywood knows what to do (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781694)

"clear" is two syllables, too, though admittedly they're separated by a diphthong and by some definitions that doesn't make a second syllable.

Perhaps you meant "nuke-leer"? Somehow, I think it's more fitting that way, too.... :) (but no, I pronounce "nuclear" as 3 syllables".

Re:Hollywood knows what to do (3, Funny)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781724)

"Nuke-lee-ar" is still three syllables. You don't say "new-clear", do you?

Sure you do! At the heart of every atom, you find its newklus.

Re:Hollywood knows what to do (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781792)

"it's New Queue Ler" -- Homer Simpson

Re:Hollywood knows what to do (0)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781654)

Is this film was made today, you'd see men in black enter the room in the hacker scene and confiscate his bubble gum wrapper as a DRM circumvention tool, followed by outlawing the use of zeros and ones.

Re:Hollywood knows what to do (1)

CasperIV (1013029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782042)

Save some time and just give it to Michael Bay, that way annoying details like plot and character development can be glossed over and replaced with explosions.

Re:Hollywood knows what to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782370)

You forgot about making it 3-D

Cyrillic Santa (0)

bdabautcb (1040566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781458)

How does one spell Santa Clause and "Merry Christmas, Ho Ho Ho!" in the Cyrillic alphabet?

Re:Cyrillic Santa (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782006)

Does Santa live at the magnetic North Pole? Seems like it would be a pain to keep moving your workship around all the time. Maybe he has it mounted on rails?

Re:Cyrillic Santa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782434)

Slashcode won't display it. just use Google Translate.

Re:Cyrillic Santa (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782612)

I don't know about Cryllic but in English we spell it "Claus"

Unless you're talking about The Santa Clause [imdb.com] .

Actually somewhat common (5, Informative)

ASimPerson (138798) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781464)

This has happened before, and it'll happen again.

Airport runway numbers are based off their magnetic headings with the last zero removed. So a runway that runs due south/north is 18/36 (i.e., it faces 180 degrees south and 360 degrees north - 0 isn't used). A runway that runs due east/west is 9/27. And so on. When there are parallel runways facing the same direction, the L, C, and R designations are used. A pair for parallel east/west runways are 9R/27L and 9L/27R.

So as the pole drifts this sometimes causes runways to have be renumbered. One previous example is Reagan-National airport [wikimedia.org] in Washington, D.C., where runways 1/19 and 4/22 were originally 18/36 and 3/21.

Re:Actually somewhat common (1)

chrpai (806494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782452)

One previous example is Reagan-National airport [wikimedia.org] in Washington, D.C., where runways 1/19 and 4/22 were originally 18/36 and 3/21.

I think you mean 1/19 used to be 36/18. If runway 1 became 18 and 19 became 36 that would be one hell of a magnatic drift. :-)

Magnetic/Spin Axis Confusion (4, Informative)

Elder Entropist (788485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781466)

Your "rapid magnetic pole shift" link is to an article about the (fairly ridiculous) rapid shift of the axis of rotation of the planet rather than the magnetic pole. The two really should not be confused.

Re:Magnetic/Spin Axis Confusion (2)

rjhubs (929158) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782036)

Yeah I'm not sure why Timothy felt the need to tack that on the end. The magnetic poles and rotational poles are separate entities. Conflating the two is usually just done by 2012 doomsday people who want to show the moving magnetic poles as a possible indicator of the apocalypse in our future

Re:Magnetic/Spin Axis Confusion (1)

Javajunk (1957446) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782170)

I was thinking that. Someone got their poles crossed.

Happens quite often (2)

cloudstar (1971862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781498)

Its a change in magnetic variation (deviation is the discrepency in a magnetic compass due to its electromagnitic surroundings). Happens all the time. It's only when the change exceeds certain tollerances that they change the runway numbers. And those tollerances all depend on when that particular airport was last numbered.

Re:Happens quite often (1)

Ichido (896924) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782140)

Its a change in magnetic variation (deviation is the discrepency in a magnetic compass due to its electromagnitic surroundings). Happens all the time. It's only when the change exceeds certain tollerances that they change the runway numbers. And those tollerances all depend on when that particular airport was last numbered.

Cloudstar's statement is true. We have a saying: "East is Least and West is Best". Back in the days of VORs, when plotting a course, you ADD (West) or Subtract (East) to your planned Compass Heading by the Magnetic Deviation for your flight path. Where I live, it's 7West. I haven't flown for 15 years now.

Pole shift != geomagnetic reversal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781524)

The wikipedia entry linked to is talking about a shift in the rotational poles, not the magnetic poles...

fun to think about? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781552)

no, i don't like getting irradiated by the cosmic radiation, thank you very much

we'll all be living in cement bunkers with no windows, eating mutant irradiated food farmed by farmers in radiation suits

and in geological time, a rapid N-S reorientation will still take what, decades?

and such a shift is still decades away, even if it starts accelerating dramatically, i think... gulp

Re:fun to think about? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781698)

and in geological time, a rapid N-S reorientation will still take what, decades?

Don't know what 'geological time' means, exactly, but in human time they seem to be estimating 3000-5000 years for a excursion and twice that if it actually involves the core as well.

Re:fun to think about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781700)

Awesome, real life Fallout!

Re:fun to think about? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781712)

utter rubbish, homo erectus lived through a few reversals just fine. There is no evidence whatsoever of reversal causing any kind of extinction, nor is the geomagnetic field the only thing that shields Earth from cosmic radiation. The solar wind interacts with the ionosphere to provide additional shielding, and that isn't going away.

Re:fun to think about? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781852)

oh yeah, there's just that massive increase in cancer rates

what's the problem with a huge dent in our mortality, a big jump down in our life expectancy?

nothing to worry about with a massive increase in ambient radiation, nah...

Re:fun to think about? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781990)

Not a valid concern, palaeopathology has confirmed that cancer was exceedingly rare in primates until the start of the industrial revolution. Progress gives you cancer, not cosmic rays.

Re:fun to think about? (1)

number11 (129686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782484)

palaeopathology has confirmed that cancer was exceedingly rare in primates until the start of the industrial revolution.

Cancer tends to be an old person's disease. Not saying that the industrial revolution didn't introduce lots of new causes for cancer, but before then, primates who lived long enough to be chronologically old were pretty rare.

Re:fun to think about? (1)

Elder Entropist (788485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782500)

Progress mostly only "gives you cancer" because it prevents you from dying from everything else first.

Re:fun to think about? (1)

Elder Entropist (788485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782546)

Species can live through increased deaths and cancers, but it doesn't mean the individuals will be happy doing so.

Magnetic Variation Changes... Not Magnetic Pole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781592)

The phenomenon of the pole moving is essentially unrelated to this. The earth's magnetic field varies pretty significantly and "magnetic north" at very few spots actually point toward the magnetic north pole. Some parts of the US are 30 degrees off while others are 20 degrees off in the other direction. These magnetic field variances change over time as the magnetic field dances around. Since runway numbers are assigned on the basis of magnetic direction and not true, when the "magnetic variance" changes enough they have to renumber the runways and all of the procedures at the airport. This happens on a regular basis as airports are re-surveyed.

As the airport I use hasn't been resurveyed, when I depart from runway 3 my heading is actually around 043. Many other local airports have been renumbered... but they get to it when they get to it. Not when Russia steals the north pole.

Birds (5, Funny)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781658)

The birds got confused by the discrepancy between runway numbers and magnetic north, couldn't figure out where to land, ran out of fuel, and crashed?

Re:Birds (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782572)

No, they were dizzy from smelling the paint fumes from repainting the designators in their nests.

going back many years (0)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781716)

Funny how 10 years ago, I mentioned on /. how the poles could have a thirs axis and that was promoting for change in shifts in the poles, as well as continent changes...and I am not a scientist, but I deducted this from watching how a coin falls on a table when you spin it, if spun as well as forced into a rotation, you could actually see a thrid axis forming...before it stopped turning and fell to the table.

I mentioned this to many climate experts , especially the ones about global warming, as I mentioned that I thought also the year was off (almost like a month off when I looked at when the change in climate happened...such as winter coming later and later, and summer seeming to last longer and longer, or that we just needed to shift or seasons ahead one month...)
and probably as most will think, they thought this to be funny, and not even possible....and yet here is a scientific paper
that says almost the same thing, although in much bigger words.

I hate it when I see you go without anyone listening to you, and then later find someone else gets credit for something you had observed much earlier.

Here is another for you, google has the new google body browser, and I sent the team lead for R&D in 2002 my idea for a image driven search engine replica of vango's body in motion, where the body had layers and based on the layer (muscle, tissue, bone, etc...) you could also filter based on body part. This was to be melded with the medicine.google.com, which was just a more detailed scientific medical journal and reference point for all doctors and hospitals, and never heard a peep.

Looking at their body browser, i am wondering what they think they will use it for, if not for the same idea i mentioned above....i guess only time will tell.

"dont ask me for references, cuz I was drunk when i wrote them."

Re:going back many years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782122)

lol wut?

I lined up on a runway with a different number (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34781726)

I remember flying into Daytona Beach Airport. It was the end of a long morning/afternoon flight (8 hours). I was cleared to land and as I lined up on the runway I had a momentary panic attack because the runway number was different than the charts. I thought I was landing at the wrong airport! The number was only 5 degrees off so I didn't think it was the wrong runway (runways generally aren't that closely aligned unless they are parallel).
Still I was cleared to land. The tower controller wasn't having a bird or anything, and I remembered that magnetic poles have been shifting for a while.
Found out later that they just renumbered the runway a couple days before. Either they didn't have that info on ATIS, or I missed it (and the NOTAM).
This flight was in 1988 or 89.

         

Why is renumbering necessary? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781736)

Sure, runways are numbered according to their compass heading, but the omission of the last digit tells me that it doesn't need to be all that accurate. That makes it unlikely that this number is used in navigation.

I'm no pilot, but the only actual function of the runway number I can think of is the visual identification (to make sure the pilot is lining up on the correct runway). What would go wrong if Tampa just kept using the number 18R/36L?

Re:Why is renumbering necessary? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781936)

The pilot of the Prussian Embassy's postal Autogyro would get confused.

Re:Why is renumbering necessary? (1)

Umuri (897961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781942)

Now imagine if they can't see the runway.
If they're told to land on runway 24, and they're going by instruments oriented 24, and suddenly the runway is 25, they'll be shooting off it after too long.
Likewise, if they're told to land on runway 25, but they see 24 painted on the ground, they might be confused.

Basically, i'm betting the change is because they have to go by the RIGHT designation due to instrument assisted landings where visibility is poor, and therefore are updating the visual designations so there is no cognitive dissonance

Re:Why is renumbering necessary? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782054)

If they can't see the runway, it doesn't matter what is painted on it.

The lateral error is going to be far more significant than the angular error in any case.

If they can be told how to find the end of the runway, they can be told how to line up on it regardless of its name.

Re:Why is renumbering necessary? (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782600)

If they can't see the runway, they're going to use ILS (instrument landing system), which is far more precise and is runway-specific. With appropriate equipment, it is technically possible to land in a true zero-visibility condition, and in some cases for the plane to land itself (including flare, touchdown, nose down, braking, and stopping), but regulations have certain minimums for landing specific to each airport and require the pilot to be in manual control below certain altitudes above ground level.

2012 the year of the flip (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781816)

I wouldn't worry about it though, we've survived worse magnetic pole flips.

Of course, back then we were tiny mice and it killed off our Galaxy-traveling Sauropod overlords who forced us to labor mining Vespane Gas (which, naturally, is gone now).

As an engineer, let me suggest... (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781830)

Build the runways on giant wheeled platforms on rails that can be reoriented to the magnetic field so that you never need alter the runways numbers.

Re:As an engineer, let me suggest... (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782092)

Or just build them on compass needles and it will take care of itself.

Or install digital readouts where the painted numbers are.

Or paint a giant colored spot instead of a number. "Flight 234 cleared to land on Runway Cerulean Left."

Re:As an engineer, let me suggest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782340)

You must work for the government.

nothing new (1)

Gripp (1969738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781862)

magnetic pole shifting is common and a well known phenomenon. it is called magnetic declination. is it so well known, actually, that surveyors have been taking this deviation into account for some 50+ years now. a tool which could be used for adjustment to such measurements is http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomagmodels/Declination.jsp [noaa.gov]

I dont know about you guys.. (1)

Javajunk (1957446) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781924)

I don't know about you guys, but I'm buying a good compass, mounting it somewhere immovable, marking north and watching to see if there is any visible change by next year. At the very least it will make straightening out my satellite dish an easier job if i have a compass nearby.

Tampa? Really? (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34781996)

I'm surprised that third-world hellhole has the technology to measure such subtle variations in the earth's magnetic field. I would have expected that, much like with Cuba, we would have banned the sale of such things to them.

Obligatory pun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782028)

That cataclysmic theory is for the birds.

Can you smell the freedom? I can :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782306)

It will take out their entire infrastructure, goodbye control :-)

Falling birds cause? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782442)

"Could this also be the explanation for the falling/dead birds this week?"

No. Especially because there are already saner explanations and evidence for them.

Many maps say something like "1 degree declination shift per year" on them, which matters only a little, unless you look at the map 10 years later. Eventually the adjustment adds up. Same for airports. They're renumbering the runways because of YEARS of drift between "true north" and "magnetic north", such that if aircraft use a magnetic compass, maybe "Runway 21" (i.e. at an azimuth of 210 degrees) should actually be "Runway 20" (200 degrees), or something along those lines (someone else has explained the actual terminology).

Why years and years of incrementally changing magnetic declination should have anything to do with dying birds is something only the conspiracy theorists with overactive imaginations can suggest, because it certainly doesn't make any scientific sense. No more sense than any of the other crazy ideas about "catastrophic" pole shifts, which are a bunch of pseudoscientific nonsense useful only to sell books and bad movies to the gullible. And, no, it doesn't really matter whether you're talking about "catastrophic" magnetic or geographic pole shifts, because they're both utterly ridiculous. It's only a question of degree. (har har)

Sectional charts too (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782450)

When I first started flying most of Florida was on or near the zero isogonic line (meaning that magnetic north = true north). http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://avstop.com/ac/fig8-7.jpg&imgrefurl=http://avstop.com/ac/8-2.html&h=312&w=467&sz=33&tbnid=3K2v1zfxl4_SBM:&tbnh=86&tbnw=128&prev=/images%3Fq%3Disogonic%2Blines&zoom=1&q=isogonic+lines&hl=en&usg=__nCfPrwsREvO8rbUJUiDGLqyEMuw=&sa=X&ei=fSomTeusGoO78gb-nLGLAg&ved=0CCgQ9QEwBQ This line ran through the Bermuda triangle as well as the great lakes, two areas in the world where many ships have been lost. Today there is probably over a 5 degree deviation between true and magnetic north over Florida, and since runway numbers are to the nearest 10 degrees I suppose a few of them might change. It also means that VFR pilots over Florida used to be able to ignore the need to correct their compass headings to match course headings (maps are read in true degrees not magnetic), now they will have to apply the correction to stay on course.

Why use magnetic north? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#34782502)

Why do they use magnetic north and not true north?

That way they wouldn't have to renumber runways periodically and reprint maps and charts leading to confusion when someone has an out of date chart.

Most small plane pilots fly close enough to home that they just have to remember their deviation from magnetic north.

Larger private plane and commercial pilots already have electronic equipment that can show them true north.

They already use true north in areas where compass readings are unreliable by appending T to the runway number. Why not extend that to all runways?

How to confuse a Air Traffic Controller (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34782520)

I was flying into Des Moines airport shortly after they had to re-number the runways here. The controller cleared me to land on 31 Right, and I asked why it had changed, He explained about the pole shift, and I asked him if the instersecting runway (23) had changed? No it had stayed the same. I asked "Does that mean they will eventuallly be paralell?" (long silence) "We'll have to get back to you on that"

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