The weakening affects how solar wind - charged particles that come from the sun - bounce off of the field. The shift in the location of the northern lights means that they will appear over Ottawa more often and in time, could appear as far down as the southern United States, according to the National Post.
"The Earth's magnetic field more or less keeps the solar wind at bay, and it's the solar wind interacting with the field that contributes to the auroras," said Dennis Kent, co-author of the study. "With a strong field, that interaction is pushed to high latitudes. With a weaker field more of the Earth is bathed in these charged particles."
The researchers looked at changes in the volcanic rock in the earth - by observing the manner in which its iron-bearing minerals align with Earth's magnetic field, they were able to determine how strong the field was when the rocks were formed and compare it to today's strength. From this, they deduced the southern movement of the northern lights.
Kent's research has also put to rest the speculation of those that believe the Earth's magnetic poles will switch, as previously reported by HNGN, which he says is unlikely to happen for thousands more years. Although the field is weakening, it is still stronger than the long-term average, meaning even a decrease in its intensity does not put the poles at risk of becoming unstable.