Shift of Earth's magnetic North Pole affects Florida airport
Tampa International Airport's new runway designations, a result of a shift of Earth’s magnetic North Pole, take effect Thursday.
January 12th, 2011
07:34 PM ET

Shift of Earth's magnetic North Pole affects Florida airport

A runway at Florida's Tampa International Airport is scheduled to reopen Thursday with new numbers and signage to account for the gradual shift of the Earth's magnetic North Pole.

Runway 18R/36L, which runs north-south, has been closed since January 3 for numeric redesignation of the compass headings at each end of the runway and to change taxiway signage to account for the one-degree shift.

It will reopen tomorrow as 19R/1L, indicating its alignment along compass headings, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

Every five years, the FAA reevaluates shifts in the poles - its magnetic variation - and makes changes to runways and flight procedures as needed, Bergen said.

The FAA also publishes new aeronautical charts for pilots every 56 days, and with the next one due on Thursday, it made sense to make the changes at Tampa International Airport effective the same day, she said.

"The Earth's magnetic fields are constantly changing," she said. "It’s a very dynamic system so we make these changes effective every 56 days."

Redesignation of runway compass headings is a common practice that occurs whenever the Earth's magentic fields change, she said. It happened last year at Palm Beach International Airport and is scheduled to happen at the Tampa-Clearwater International Airport later in 2011, she said.

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Filed under: Air travel • Florida • Travel
soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. banasy

    Again, what does Obama have to do with the magnetic poles reversing? Zip it, mister. Who's the real Massengill here?

    January 12, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sally Li

    The Tampa airport gets a new name too: TAMPAX

    January 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • kerry

      The only comment to actually make me laugh.

      January 13, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark Mann

      Funny 'cause "X" is 10 in Roman numerals, same as the 10 degree rounding idea. Ho-Hum...

      January 13, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
    • JB

      It was worth reading all the comments to get here

      January 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Venetia

    How does a story talking about changes in the magnetic poles affecting an airport turn into people spewing hateful comments at each other? It's so easy to be hateful to people when you can hide behind the anonymity of the internet. That's what's wrong with us. People are just so darn mean all the time, that it's difficult to spot the terrible crazy ones that go on to shoot up random, innocent people. Those crazies blend in with the rest of us for the most part, and that's our fault.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • ProVenetia

      actually, digression to primal feuding is commonplace, even among the well to do and elite intelligencia. rigid disciplined retorts are best used as selfish outlets for those more disenchanted (disenfranchsed perhaps?). I tend to think it has a lot to do with their Astral position in their own peculiar start chart (the one they imagine it to be).

      As for the few who grow from babe to bomber, from infant to infanticider, from simple genome to genocide masters, and a little squirt to a mass murderer, consider all the possible points of interaction that tweak the little one until they actually breach the laws of god.

      As for the topic of this article, if mama earth can flip her poles once in a while, better to expect the inhabitants to be liable to change polarity one in a while also! ;-))

      January 13, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. banasy

    Gonna is not a word anyway, so why be petty and point out a misspelled non-word? out? It's just slang for going to...the grammer po po is getting a bit silly these days, aren't they?!

    January 12, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy

    Oops, the puctuation police is going to arrest me for a typo...(Runs away)

    January 12, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Einstein

    Maybe that's what happened to all those birds?

    January 12, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • random

      Someone has pointed that out too.

      January 13, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
    • gadzilla

      If that's a possibility, then maybe it has something to do with bees disappearing. Bees are leaving the hive, and not returning. Colonies are dying off this way. Shifting magnetic poles may be disorienting them.

      January 13, 2011 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Cookie Monster


      January 13, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • USMC Ret.

      H.A.A.R.P. is in Alaska Sarah Palin is from Alaska. It is all her fault.

      January 13, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. Venetia

    I hadn't thought of that, Einstein. That's a good point. Don't birds use the magnetic poles to tell them which way to go? Maybe the shift is what's causing them to just freak out.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Some Dude

      This shift is neither sudden or unexpected. Just part of an ongoing drift.

      The birds seemed to have suffered a sudden trauma. Probably not connected.

      When the poles suddenly reverse, which happens at very very long intervals. Then there may be some vary massive die offs as birds fly north in the winter and freeze.

      January 12, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MSM BS

    This story came was out in the Newspapers a week ago. CNN is VERY slow on reporting this, but the minute Linsey Lohan has her first beer it'll be up on breaking news.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sucio


      Blame the masses, the general public only cares about it's celebrites, god forbid something truly important gets any attention.

      January 13, 2011 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. nsaeyes

    what's funny is that cnn is just now reporting this story. It has been out on ats for 7 days now.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dale

    I wonder if our GALAXY has a magnetic BOTTOM and TOP,,,, our sun and most of its planets have magnetic poles like the Earth, there have been changes occurring on them as well (Could our sun and its planets be affected by galaxy magnetic transition?) And there could be a lot of other things happening beyond human comprehension Causing global warming. Humans could be causing some of the warming but not all. NO I’m not 2012, doomsday person.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Our galaxy has repellers and attractors. It is chaotic in nature. Not only that, but the Universe will have attractors and repellers. which the galaxies swirl around also.

      January 13, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Venetia

    7 days!?! That's hilarious! It always irks me a bit that there's more information on CNN about Lindsey Lohan or Brangelina, than there is real news. Not too long ago, I saw a tiny blip about the Large Hadron Collider scientists capturing antimatter for the first time, but the main headline had something to do with something that probably belonged on, rather than CNN. It's frustrating that where I go to look for news, I find garbage sometimes.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Venetia

    Probably a good question, too, Dale. It's funny how little we know. The Hubble can see so much, but here we are, still finding planets just outside our solar system. And realizing there are more rings than we thought on a planet inside the system. It's crazy how small we are.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brenda

    The ego is behind many political comments, which leads to attacking others. Instead of "preying" on man we should "pray" for man.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AMERICA 1st


    January 12, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chig

    Santa gained/lost weight.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
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