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. Annastasia

    Lets talk about the news and not eachother.... Anyone?

    January 13, 2011 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. CreamyPretzel

    What's all this talk about the Magnetic Poles? Why should we care whether people in Poland are magnetic?

    January 13, 2011 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Stephen Doesn't Care

    Oh my Gee! 2012 totally real.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. R. Scott Grimes

    I don't think these magnetic shifts would ever ever affect weather patterns now, would they?.....ooooopppsss...no, just man made "pollutants".........

    January 13, 2011 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. LOL

    Someone needs to inform Al Gore.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. Catie

    I never understood why the left gets such a kick out of Sarah Palins comment about seeing Russia from Alaska. You CAN see Russia from Alaska. Why the eff is that so funny. She may have a horrible slang, but, she is a lot smarter than y'all think. I dont think she is ready to be President however, I do think she holds a lot of our basic values. Work hard, earn your own keep, family, God, etc etc. Why is she such a horrible person? The left needs to concentrate on themselves.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Natch

    "It happened last year at Palm Beach International Airport and is scheduled to happen at the Tampa-Clearwater International Airport later in 2010, she said."

    How long ago did this person realize that 2010 was only 365 days long? We're in 2011, sweetheart!!
    (sorta scary, isn't it, that someone associated in any way with the FAA hasn't figured out, in almost 2 weeks, that it's not 2010 any more??)

    January 13, 2011 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. JER

    I love CNN reporters! They make me feel so smug and superior.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. joris

    But why are magnetic fields of any relevance to airports/ airplanes? They are to whales, that I know, but this is new to me.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
    • jt

      Because they determine compass headings!

      January 13, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. TheBossIsOut

    So you need to readjust for the changes in the Earth's magnetic field because....? Because the pilots can't see the runway to know where to land??

    January 13, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Navy Pilot

      Yes. Instrument approaches in the clouds can go down to (sometimes) a few seconds before touchdown. Also, believe it or not, but runways can be difficult to find, whether it be clouds, terrain, or most importantly, multiple runways. Knowing the runway heading significantly aids in setting up for the correct runway. Also, it determines which way you land! 36/18 could be landed either north or south. Saying "land 36" nullifies ambiguity.

      January 13, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. oh please

    "scheduled to happen at the Tampa-Clearwater International Airport later in 2010"

    Really?

    LATER in 2010....LATER? Do you guys READ what you write?

    January 13, 2011 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jose

    From the same network that wrote a 7 paragraph article claiming the internal physical harm the Chilean miners will face as they ascend up in their capsule. The article quoted several "experts" and everything.

    January 13, 2011 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. elidude

    Catie, you're correct he accomplished so much: over a trillion for two wars without end, hidden off budget, huge expansions of governmental and presidential powers, ruining of oversee relationships and demonization of America, oooh, the memories. Bush, Cheney, Rumfeld TO THE HAGUE!!!!!!!!

    January 13, 2011 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. Wise sasquatch

    @catie your righ he did accomplish alot of good things but most people only remember the misstakes that were made

    January 13, 2011 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. planetx

    Seek the truth

    January 13, 2011 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
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