No, climate change is not caused by an upcoming pole shift

By: John Faerseth
August 7 2023

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No, climate change is not caused by an upcoming pole shift


The Verdict False

Earth’s magnetic poles are constantly moving, and may flip. This does not cause climate change or natural disasters.

Claim ID 3b05c10c

A video posted on Facebook claims that the CIA is in possession of a secret document saying that polar shifts occur every 10-15,000 years. The document supposedly says that the North and South poles change places, causing earthquakes and tsunamis and destroying existing civilizations. It states that we are the sixth civilization to experience this switch and already experiencing climate changes due to an impending polar shift. This apparently also explains why Antarctica once had forests and why the Sahara desert used to be green. 

This false claim is part of the Adam and Eve climate theory, which has exploded in popularity on TikTok and has also been discussed on the Joe Rogan show.

In fact
The claim is based on the pseudoscientific book The Adam and Eve Story: The History of Cataclysms, which also claims that Jesus Christ lived in India for nearly 18 years and was abducted by aliens after his crucifixion. According to the book, Earth’s magnetic poles flip 90 degrees every few thousand years, meaning the planet moves and extreme weather follows. 

Earth has two kinds of poles: geographic and magnetic. The magnetic North and South poles are where the lines of force of Earth’s magnetic field converge. Because Earth’s core consists of molten magnetic material, we can imagine the planet as a giant magnet with a north and south pole. The magnetic poles are constantly moving, and the magnetic North pole is currently drifting from the north of Canada toward Siberia. The magnetic South pole is currently at the Adélie Coast of Antarctica. A compass needle will point toward the current magnetic North pole. 

The geographic North and South poles are the ends of the Earth’s rotation axis. They are also north and south on a geographic map. The geographic North pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, while the South pole is positioned on the continent of Antarctica. The geographic poles also drift, but only a few inches a year. 

The magnetic poles can flip, causing our compasses to point south. Over the last 20 million years, such flips have occurred roughly every 200,000 to 300,000 years. Flips are not instantaneous, but take place over hundreds or thousands of years. The last flip happened around 41,500 years ago. There is no evidence that this coincided with changes in the climate, nor do fossil records point to significant extinctions that would be associated with such changes.

Antarctica had forests until around 34 million years ago, despite being located over or near the geographical South Pole. Scientists disagree on the exact reason it became covered in ice, but it is likely that minor changes in the Earth’s orbit, which occur in regular cycles, changed the amount of solar energy reaching the planet. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current strengthened around Antarctica, changing global ocean circulation. Atmospheric carbon dioxide also fell sharply, causing the planet to cool. These three factors likely created the conditions for the Antarctic ice sheet to form. 

While the Sahara was covered in grasslands as little as 6,000 years ago, shifts in the world’s weather patterns transformed it into a desert.

The verdict
Shifts in Earth’s magnetic poles do not impact climate, and there is no evidence the geographic poles will shift. We have therefore rated this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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