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. D.B. Cooper

    How is this news ? This happens often. When National airport changed their runway numbers years ago, I don't recall any mention of it anywhere. Slow news day perhaps ?

    January 13, 2011 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Capt. William Scott

      I've been looking for you...

      January 13, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. Religious sects

    I don't know what all the fuss is about, my pole shifts like every 5mins and more than 1deg too!

    January 13, 2011 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. BusyPerson

    Could this be why all the birds are dying? Don't they use the magnetic fields to guild them? Maybe they got all screwed up and flew north to early?

    January 13, 2011 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. Know It All

    If the magnetic directions keep shifting one day we can correctly say the South won the War of Northern Aggression!

    January 13, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. Arthur Kendall

    Regarding unkind things said on the internet, I have found that where you are able to meet someone face-to-face in a civilised environment – say over coffee – a little while after critical and perhaps combative remarks to each other 'online', a sort of sheepishness and mild embarrassment initially prevails, which both parties are swift and anxious to dispel. It does seem to me that for the most part we wouldn't speak to each other in the cafe in the unsettling way we sometimes do anonymously via our computers. Love and light to all from me in England.

    January 13, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. IceT

    If the poles keeps shifting like this, the magnetic north pole really will be in EauClaire WI...

    January 13, 2011 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Richp, Easton, Pa

      The poles have shifted several times throughout history. Major shift, not small mils either.

      January 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. gd wtch

    Am I the only one from the Bay area to read this? There is no Tampa-Clearwater Airport...it's the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, not even in the same county. CNN strikes again.

    January 13, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. Robert

    The closer to the poles, the more sensitive a magnetic needle will be to magnetic shifts.

    January 13, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. PAPilot

    It's all Bush's fault.

    January 13, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. rory

    Okay, Sarah Palin is not to be blamed for the shift of the Earth. I will give her the benefit of the doubt on that one. I might also be willing to admit she is not wholly responsible for the Arizona shooting of a little girl and others. There is simply not enough information available at this time to confirm that. But putting a target on someone as if they are in your gunsights, is not only stupid, it pretty irresponsible. Not only has she shown a lack of intelligence by doing this, but she has also shown a lack of remorse and compassion by not admitting what she did was a mistake. It also smacks of a lack of accountabilty. We need to expect more out of politicians than this.

    January 13, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. JayB

    lol @ later in 2010

    January 13, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. BigNickDigger

    Wow the Demolibtards must be going crazy – something going on that they cannot control and spin into a PC statement, well maybe it's too soon and all – considering it may just be the white mans fault and all, after all.

    January 13, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Which is why the story is 2 weeks old. As someone else has stated, the eventual spin will be "Republican backed businesses cause electromagnetic pollution by pushing cellphones and other magnetic devices onto unwilling American public
      !!!"

      January 17, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. matthew constantine glover

    I can tell that the shift not only effects the climate..it is effecting our minds....we now have a heightend mental state allow our ESP to work..the niribiru collision is emenet so i understad and relate to the shifts..but my worry is the mental breakdown of humans due to there inabilty to gain control of there way of thinkin...my eyes have seen it already..the results are not good.

    January 13, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  14. mrrusss

    Ah ha ha ha "Blame Bush", "It's Sarah Palin's fault." That's hilarious. What ironic, comic geniuses. As if the retards that actually support morons like that aren't responsible for undermining the country.

    January 13, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. KevinL

    The Magnetic shifts sometimes effects my erections. I can't get wood which is sometimes a problem.

    January 13, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
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