When scientists warn us about threats to our existence, we usually hear about climate change, asteroids or nuclear war. Now scientists have warned of the threat of Earth's magnetic poles flipping upside down. The poles are responsible for the magnetic shield around Earth. This protects us from deadly radiation. Life on Earth depends on this shield. Radiation and solar rays cause a lot of damage. The poles could flip in the next thousand years. This is because the molten iron revolving around Earth's center is changing direction. The molten iron acts as a gigantic electromagnet.
Earth's magnetic poles have flipped every 250,000 years. The last time was 780,000 years ago. The next flip is long overdue. The flip could destroy communications and power grids; deadly solar rays could greatly increase rates of cancer; and climate change could kill many life forms. Some scientists say a polar flip could blow Earth's atmosphere away. One scientist dismissed any danger from the poles flipping. He believes any increased radiation would be as harmful as lying on a beach for a day. He said a "floppy hat" would be enough to protect us.