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Stronger Solar Storms Predicted [50% increase!]Blackouts May Result
National Geographic News ^ | 7 Mar 06 | John Roach

Posted on 03/07/2006 11:22:02 AM PST by gobucks

The next 11-year solar storm cycle should be significantly stronger than the current one, which may mean big problems for power grids and GPS systems and other satellite-enabled technology, scientists announced today.

The stronger solar storms could start as early as this year or as late as 2008 and should peak around 2012.

"We predict the next solar cycle will be 30 to 50 percent stronger than the last cycle," said Mausumi Dikpati, a solar scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, yesterday in a telephone briefing with reporters.

The last cycle peaked in 2001.

A new technique enabled the scientists to better predict the severity of the next cycle. The technique, called helioseismology, allows researchers to "see" inside the sun by tracing sound waves reverberating inside the sun—creating a picture of the interior like ultrasound creates a picture of an unborn baby.

"For the first time we can predict the strength of the 11-year solar activity cycle using computer simulations of the sun's physics," Dikpati said.

(See solar-storm images.)

Storms in the Sun

Solar storms are linked to twisted magnetic fields in the sun that suddenly snap and release tremendous amounts of energy. The storms can disrupt satellite communications, cause power outages, and expose astronauts to high amounts of radiation.

Predicting space weather is becoming more important as more people rely on technology that solar storms can disrupt, according to Richard Behnke, director of upper atmosphere research with the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia.

"This prediction of an active solar cycle suggests we are potentially looking at more communication and navigation disruptions, more satellite failures, possible disruption of electric grids and blackouts, more dangerous conditions for astronauts—all these things," Behnke said during the briefing.

Solar storms tend to occur near sunspots, cool regions on the sun's surface that appear as dark blotches. Scientists believe the spots result from concentrated magnetic fields inside the sun.

The number and intensity of sunspots fluctuates over time, reaching a peak about every 11 years. This 11-year pattern is known as the solar cycle.

Joseph Kunches, chief of the forecast and analysis branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Environment Center in Boulder, equated the space weather forecast to the annual hurricane forecast.

"The kinds of questions that are posed to hurricane forecasters also come to us in terms of space weather," he told reporters.

"When is the next cycle going to start? How strong will it be? When will it quiet down? And compared to, say, the last [cycle in] recent memory, what are the effects going to be?"

Stormy Forecast

The new forecast draws on new understanding of how plasma currents in the sun's interior generate sunspots and the related solar storms. These plasma flows transport, concentrate, and help spread out solar magnetic fields.

Two major plasma flows govern the cycle, the researchers said.

The first, known as the meridional flow pattern, circulates between the sun's equator and its poles over a period of 17 to 22 years and acts like a conveyor belt of sunspots. The flow transports imprints of sunspots that occurred over the previous two sunspot cycles.

This imprint is carried into the interior, where scientists believe the sunspot-producing magnetic fields are generated. New sunspots form based on the imprints created during the most recent cycle.

The second flow results from the sun rotating faster at the equator than it does near the poles. This periodically concentrates the solar magnetic field at the equator, leading to peaks in solar storm activity, the researchers said.

The team expects the next cycle to begin in late 2007 or early 2008, which is about 6 to 12 months later than the cycle would normally start. The researchers' model shows the plasma circulation has slowed down during the current cycle.

David Hathaway, a solar astronomer with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, said that models used by him and his colleagues to predict the next solar cycle agree with the greater activity predicted by Dikpati's model.

But Hathaway differs on the timing.

According to Hathaway's team's analysis of past solar cycles, intense cycles are preceded by shorter cycles. This would suggest that the next cycle will start by the end of this year or early next year.

"At this point, we are anxiously awaiting the appearance of those first spots from the new cycle," Hathaway said at the briefing.


TOPICS: Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: blackouts; bushsfault; solarstorm
""This prediction of an active solar cycle suggests we are potentially looking at more communication and navigation disruptions, more satellite failures, possible disruption of electric grids and blackouts, more dangerous conditions for astronauts—all these things," Behnke said during the briefing."

Behnke failed to comment upon the implications of 50 percent stronger solar storms on Global Warming, which large numbers of Democratic voting scientists agree, is indisputable scientific fact, sort of like gravity, and evolution.

He also failed to comment upon who may be at fault for the stronger storms.

1 posted on 03/07/2006 11:22:05 AM PST by gobucks
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To: gobucks

Solar Warming - Bush's fault


2 posted on 03/07/2006 11:23:30 AM PST by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: gobucks

Obviously, Halliburton is controlling the sun and Bush is behind it all.


3 posted on 03/07/2006 11:23:41 AM PST by Smedley
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To: gobucks

More evidence of global warming.


4 posted on 03/07/2006 11:24:08 AM PST by Fido969 (It's all about ME)
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To: gobucks

Lets save the whining....give me my $2,000 FEMA debit card now.


5 posted on 03/07/2006 11:24:33 AM PST by Dog (Posting original NONdictated material since 5 minutes ago,,)
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To: The_Victor

SUVs!!!!


6 posted on 03/07/2006 11:25:42 AM PST by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: gobucks

obviously, this increase in solar activity is the result of capitalist imperialist oil-baron economics...
< /donkthink >


7 posted on 03/07/2006 11:25:54 AM PST by King Prout (many accuse me of being overly literal... this would not be a problem if many were not under-precise)
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To: gobucks
Hopefully more of this:


8 posted on 03/07/2006 11:28:14 AM PST by WoofDog123
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To: gobucks
So THAT'S to blame for this....

Image hosting by Photobucket

9 posted on 03/07/2006 11:30:21 AM PST by digger48
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To: gobucks

We're gonna die!!!!!...George Bush's fault </sarcasm


10 posted on 03/07/2006 11:30:49 AM PST by The Great RJ ("Mir wölle bleiwen wat mir sin" or "We want to remain what we are." ..Luxembourg motto)
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To: Denver Ditdat

Solar cycle ping


11 posted on 03/07/2006 11:31:51 AM PST by LasVegasMac (High octane gas and lots of horse power.....Let's do it!)
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To: gobucks

How does the aforementioned article jibe with this one?.......

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1591488/posts


12 posted on 03/07/2006 11:33:09 AM PST by Renfield (If Gene Tracy was the entertainment at your senior prom, YOU might be a redneck...)
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To: gobucks
This 11-year pattern is known as the solar cycle.

Actually it is a 22 year cycle. It's fairly interesting how it works. The interior of the Sun rotates at a different rate than the exterior so magnetic field lines get twisted in a helix over time and sunspots (magnetic field penetrations on the surface) get forced from the equator to the poles. At the end of a half cycle the magnetic field reverses suddenly and all of the sunspots disappear. Then it starts all over again with the magnetic poles reversed.

13 posted on 03/07/2006 11:35:57 AM PST by burzum (A single reprimand does more for a man of intelligence than a hundred lashes for a fool.--Prov 17:10)
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To: burzum
Actually it is a 22 year cycle.

Huh? Solar output peaks about every 11 years..... I can get to 22 years if you're placing the solar minima right in the middle, and successive peaks correspond to opposite polarity -- is that about it?

14 posted on 03/07/2006 11:39:14 AM PST by r9etb
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To: r9etb
I can get to 22 years if you're placing the solar minima right in the middle, and successive peaks correspond to opposite polarity -- is that about it?

Yup. I suppose you could say that the observational sunspot cycle is 11 years but that the physics behind it runs on a 22 year cycle.

15 posted on 03/07/2006 11:43:13 AM PST by burzum (A single reprimand does more for a man of intelligence than a hundred lashes for a fool.--Prov 17:10)
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To: gobucks

Most Dims will blame the solar activity on global warming, not the other way around.


16 posted on 03/07/2006 11:44:33 AM PST by trebb ("I am the way... no one comes to the Father, but by me..." - Jesus in John 14:6 (RSV))
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To: WoofDog123

Yep, I saw finally saw two strong auroral displays in Maryland with the last cycle; hopefully more people will be attuned to them and have the opportunity to see them in the next cycle.

One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.


17 posted on 03/07/2006 11:44:36 AM PST by Strategerist
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To: burzum
The interior of the Sun rotates at a different rate than the exterior

Whoops. The rotation rate is dependent on latitude not depth. Odd, but the sun is a big ball of gas so it doesn't have the structural integrity to force all parts to rotate at the same rate.

18 posted on 03/07/2006 11:46:13 AM PST by burzum (A single reprimand does more for a man of intelligence than a hundred lashes for a fool.--Prov 17:10)
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To: digger48
Oooh, I just love all this solar stuff....


19 posted on 03/07/2006 11:48:49 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: gobucks

A question was asked, What will be the sign of the end and the answer was, There will be signs in the sun, moon, and the stars. Then the end will come.


20 posted on 03/07/2006 12:31:01 PM PST by mountainlyons (Hard core conservative)
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To: digger48

Nah.. everybody knows that it was Algore who invented the Sun, and so the sunspots are all his fault. Maybe he could tweak them down.


21 posted on 03/07/2006 12:34:32 PM PST by GSlob
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To: 1066AD; 1ofmanyfree; AlexW; ASOC; bigbob; Brian Allen; BushCountry; Calamari; CenTex; ...
Ham Radio Ping List

Please Freepmail me if you want to be added to or deleted from the list.

22 posted on 03/07/2006 1:56:36 PM PST by Denver Ditdat (Melting solder since 1975)
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To: Renfield
How does the aforementioned article jibe with this one?.......

Spot-on. We're at or pretty close to the end of the present 11 year cycle. Sunspots are going to slowly increase, come to a peak about 5 1/2 or 6 years from now, and then decrease over 5 1/2 to 6 years to the next minimum. This new computer model is predicting that we'll see a lot more sunspots during this cycle's upside. I'm hoping they're right - I'd love to see some great F2 propagation on the 6m (50 MHz) band.

23 posted on 03/07/2006 2:04:08 PM PST by Denver Ditdat (Melting solder since 1975)
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To: mountainlyons
A question was asked, What will be the sign of the end and the answer was, There will be signs in the sun, moon, and the stars. Then the end will come.

Maybe, but not before I get some decent 6m prop.

24 posted on 03/07/2006 2:48:04 PM PST by LasVegasMac (High octane gas and lots of horse power.....Let's do it!)
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To: gobucks

Here's hoping Jim Robinson has the emergency backup free republic ready to go in case the blackouts come. We need complete redundancy. And it should be hosted on a system able to withstand tornadoes, earthquakes, pestilences fires and mongol hordes.

Going to need a bit more in the line of pledges to get this done though ...... ;-)


25 posted on 03/07/2006 10:19:27 PM PST by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: SunkenCiv

didn't know if you wanted to be pinged on this, but heck...


26 posted on 03/08/2006 9:38:12 AM PST by gobucks (Blissful Marriage: A result of a worldly husband's transformation into the Word's wife.)
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To: gobucks

Thanks!

related:

Solar Minimum has Arrived
2006 Solar Minimum has Arrived - No sunspots anymore
03.06.2006 | Dr. Tony Phillips
Posted on 03/07/2006 5:30:00 AM EST by S0122017
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1591488/posts


27 posted on 03/08/2006 10:24:51 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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To: gobucks

Can't Bush get this one right either? (/sarcasm off)


28 posted on 03/08/2006 10:26:52 AM PST by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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