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. steve

    It's Sarah Palin's fault, right?

    January 13, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. matt

    I once went to the circus and saw some Poles flip. I think they were from Warsaw.

    January 13, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Spybee

    Seeing Palin and Obama comments on every blog on every story is like seeing Favre on every sports network. It makes me want to run into the wall.

    January 13, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Venetia

      I know! Somehow, every single story is turned into a political story. How do we find a way to bring up President Obama or Sarah Palin so many times in a discussion about magnetic poles. My goodness people. Get off of your soapboxes. It's a science story!

      January 13, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. cavemanstyle

    The way I look at it.. unless you know the president personally or anyone else you read about in the media... don't believe it. Just as the above article shows.. the media is prone to errors and also straight up lies due to mis-information given directly to the reporters. So.. unless you know the president personally.. don't talk $H!T...

    January 13, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. hahaha

    haha later in 2010<3 amazing!

    January 13, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    @ProVenetia...who? What?....OK. I get it. Like a dog scatching at his fleas. Like a cat rolling over so her other side can be brushed kind of polar shifts. he he

    January 13, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. 6pt02x10to23

    Did anyone tell the migrating birds?

    January 13, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    I venture to say that the shifting activity is likely the cause of the mass bird deaths across the planet.

    January 13, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    Let's just measure how long it takes water to evaporate. Wait! Scientists have been doing just that for over 100 years, and have foung that since the industrial revolution, it has been taking water longer to evaporate, even though average tempuratures have been increasing. One would think water would evaporate faster if it were hotter. But our pollution provides shade from the sun. Water doesn't evaporate as fast in the shade. It's a real catch-22 if you look at it from this angle.

    January 13, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. roaminempress

    Thanks, all tongue-in-cheekers, for my hysterical laughter for the day. Your repartee kept me from banging my head against the wall.

    January 13, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. roaminempress

    Thanks, all you tongue-in-cheekers, for my laughs today. Your comments kept me from banging my head against the wall.

    January 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John M

    This is not news.

    January 13, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Louis

    Could the poles shifting cause the mass bird and fish die off?

    January 13, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jan

    President Bush was a puppet with his father's hand up his butt controlling everything he did. He wasn't smart enough to do anything on his own and his father just wanted to continue his agenda when he was voted out. Bush literally destroyed this country. Under Clinton the budget was balanced, social security was secured and government knew its bounds. Within a few years Bush undid everything that Clinton had put into place and ran this country into the ground. He made sure oil prices rose astronomically and isn't it odd that the Bush's money came from oil. How interesting. Sarah Palin is another Dan Quayle. Like I use to say "There is a Quayle hiding in the Bush"

    January 13, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      You forget to mention how Bush started a war with all of the terrorists that Clinton let in!

      January 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Richp, Easton, Pa

    Whats the big deal, we have had to adjust our M2 artillery compasses for years based on the declination changes that we get with every new set of topo maps, this is nothing new and is a yearly occurrence on some fire control equipment.

    January 13, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
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