Definitions for variation of the compass
The Standard Electrical Dictionary
Variation of the Compass
The declination of the magnetic needle. (See Elements, Magnetic.) As the declination is subject to daily, annual and secular variations, it is unfortunate that this term is synonymous with declination. Thus the variation of the compass means its declination, while there is also the variation of the declination and of other elements. The term variation of the compass is more colloquial than the more definite expression "declination," or "magnetic declination."
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