Skip to comments.Space weather expert has ominous forecast
Posted on 05/05/2012 7:09:10 PM PDT by null and void
A massive explosion on the sun's surface has triggered the largest solar radiation storm since 2005, hurling charged particles at Earth. (NASA / May 4, 2012)
A stream of highly charged particles from the sun is headed straight toward Earth, threatening to plunge cities around the world into darkness and bring the global economy screeching to a halt.
This isn't the premise of the latest doomsday thriller. Massive solar storms have happened before and another one is likely to occur soon, according to Mike Hapgood, a space weather scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, England.
Much of the planet's electronic equipment, as well as orbiting satellites, have been built to withstand these periodic geomagnetic storms. But the world is still not prepared for a truly damaging solar storm, Hapgood argues in a recent commentary published in the journal Nature.
Hapgood talked with The Times about the potential effects of such a storm and how the world should prepare for it.
We had a recent flare-up of publicity in March thanks to a solar storm that didn't really amount to much. Is this sort of coverage a good thing or a bad thing?
It makes such a good scare story, and it's entertaining. It was a mildly interesting event, certainly, but not at all big-league stuff. It makes people think, "Oh it's nothing really," so experts like myself are in danger of being in the crying-wolf situation. That's something that is a concern to me, personally.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
That may be true, but it's not like "we're all going to die!"
Must be all that global warming.
Excellent image! Thanks!
I have always loved that pic! Thanks!
Looked like my butt the other night after a very bad stomach ache. We posted No-Smoking signs around the neighborhood, just to be sure.
On second thought, it also looks like Nancy Pelosi’s face and Helen Thomas’s face.
Guess they all have something in common.
Their Apprehensions arise from several Changes they dread in the Celestial Bodies. For Instance; that the Earth by the continual Approaches of the Sun towards it, must in Course of Time be absorbed or swallowed up. That the Face of the Sun will by Degrees be encrusted with its own Effluvia, and give no more Light to the World. That, the Earth very narrowly escaped a Brush from the Tail of the last Comet, which would have infallibly reduced it to Ashes; and that the next, which they have calculated for One and Thirty Years hence, will probably destroy us. For, if in its Perihelion it should approach within a certain Degree of the Sun, (as by their Calculations they have Reason to dread) it will conceive a Degree of Heat ten Thousand Times more intense than that of red hot glowing Iron; and in its Absence from the Sun, carry a blazing Tail Ten Hundred Thousand and Fourteen Miles long; through which if the Earth should pass at the Distance of one Hundred Thousand Miles from the Nucleus or main Body of the Comet, it must in its Passage be set on Fire, and reduced to Ashes. That the Sun daily spending its Rays without any Nutriment to supply them, will at last be wholly consumed and annihilated; which must be attended with the Destruction of this Earth, and of all the Planets that receive their Light from it.
These seem to have been replaced by "Obama is straight" stories lately.
But charged particles don't travel at the speed of light. Much slower.
I don't believe that's correct. Solar flares are associated with sunspots, and sunspot size correlates to the size and strength of the associated magnetic fields and therefore potential flare strength. Large sunspots are just as likely (as far as size distribution) when the sun is highly active, and there tend to be more of them.
Here's an image from May 1, 2003, during the peak of Cycle 23, a fairly active cycle. Note the very large sunspot near the middle of the solar disc. It's many times Earth-size.
You can read the archived spaceweather.com page here. It discusses the flare potential for those spots.
I found this interesting paper on solar storms. It contains a table of "great solar storms", and while the 1859 event was during a low cycle, many of the others were during very active cycles.
What is true is that low cycles like 24 and (most likely) 25 can still produce large sunspots, and severe solar weather.
For those interested in comparing the current solar cycle with historical data, I recommend keeping an eye on the Layman's Sunspot Count. Despite the name, it's a very professional attempt to compare current solar activity with activity during the Maunder and Dalton minima - something the "official" counts are doing poorly.
Oh, come on.
We’re supposed to believe that massive solar flares will cause communications to be cut off in the mi
If you look at your interesting paper, nearly every very large event, > 1000 nT, occurred with sunspot counts of around 100 or less.
Fresh Wind ~ These seem to have been replaced by "Obama is straight" stories lately.
I actually didn't see sunspot count presented as part of that data. However, if you look at page five of this paper, it does have a nice plot of severe geomagnetic storms versus sunspot cycle. That data directly contradicts your hypothesis, as in four out of five cases the largest storms occurred at or near the peak of active cycles. The second largest storm occurred right at the peak of Cycle 22, when sunspot counts were around 200.
I'd be interested in any papers you can reference that came to the conclusion that the largest storms are likelier during weak cycles and/or low activity. It is a contention of the paper that I referenced above that the peak for solar storm activity comes somewhat after cycle maximum, however that says nothing about the distribution of the largest storms. Also I think this paper is referencing CIR storms as opposed to CME storms.
Are you forgetting Elijah?
Yes, I had.
I’m pretty pale. Do you have SPF 1,000?
“We can all thank God for giving us a planet that’s been around for about 4.6 billion years ... with no end in sight.”
Oh, man - we’re overdue!
Coming right up!
“ARe wE DEAd yeT?????
/Cant tell becAUSe of WHat Im sMOKin.....
LET me know.”
THEY KILLED KENNY!
I've seen that before, it's mold on a block of cheese....
“There was a solar storm back in the mid to late 1800s that fused telegraph devices...a similar storm today would do far more damage and its only a matter of time.”
But, we’ll still be able to use the Internet, right?
We’ll still be able to post on Free Republic, right?
So, Romney better damn well win!
We've already had a 4-year catastrophe...
“ha ha to you, sun!”
How about that, sun.
What do you say about that, stupid?
“Were supposed to believe that massive solar flares will cause communications to be cut off in the mi...”
That’s what I was thi
Careful citizen. Big Solar doesn't like such talk.
Will aluminum (nay tin) foil help any?
[ We’re doomed!
Yes, eventually we are. It may be a sunstorm, a supervolcano, an asteroid or comet strike, a ferocious pandemic, climate change (yes, catastrophic change happens, but not for the reasons the Gorebots say) or something presently unpredictable. Eventually the human race will either be destroyed or reduced to a small remnant. Such catastrophes have happened in the past and will happen again given the passage of time. ]
Strip mine the earth and use those resources to colonize space, it is the only way to ensure our survival and the survival of every remaining species on earth.
Because in 1+ billion years all life on earth will be dead anyways....
Oh my gosh! A Syphoon!
We are doomed!
Another bid for attention from the DQM (Drama Queens Media)?
As I always say, the meek shall inherit the Earth -- but not the mineral rights!
BIG SUNSPOT: One of the largest sunspot groups in years rotated over the sun's northeastern limb this weekend. With a least four dark cores larger than Earth, AR1476 sprawls more than 100,000 km from end to end, and makes an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Amateur astronomer Alan Friedman sends this picture of the behemoth from his backyard in Buffalo, NY:
"AR1476 is firecrackler," says Friedman. Indeed, the active region is crackling with impulsive M-class solar flares. Based on the sunspot's complex 'beta-gamma' magnetic field, NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of more M-flares during the next 24 hours. There is also a 5% chance of powerful X-flares.
"This one is going to be fun as turns to face us!" predicts Friedman. He might be right.
1. The moon is leaving perigee, and in an orbital position that seems to exacerbate quakes.
2. There is a coronal hole created by the sunspot above that is about to face the earth. British Astrophysicist Piers Corbyn believes coronal holes facing the earth, contribute to increased earthquake activity.
3. We're experiencing a lull in 5+ magnitude quakes. Recent lulls have been followed immediately by significant quakes and activity.
Recent Average Day:
MAP 5.2 2012/05/03 18:08:06 17.479 -85.137 24.0 NORTH OF HONDURAS
MAP 5.1 2012/05/03 16:14:19 -5.492 152.231 57.7 NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
MAP 5.0 2012/05/03 15:20:28 39.058 29.129 9.7 WESTERN TURKEY
MAP 5.2 2012/05/03 10:19:37 40.513 98.568 13.0 GANSU-NEI MONGOL BORDER REGION, CHINA
MAP 5.5 2012/05/03 10:09:36 32.814 47.712 10.0 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
MAP 5.0 2012/05/03 04:59:57 21.430 -108.759 10.2 OFF THE COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR
Activity for the Last 4 Days:
MAP 5.3 2012/05/07 14:15:15 41.561 46.710 11.9 AZERBAIJAN
MAP 5.6 2012/05/07 04:40:30 41.541 46.766 23.3 AZERBAIJAN
MAP 5.0 2012/05/06 12:40:59 -13.883 -75.793 59.1 CENTRAL PERU
MAP 5.5 2012/05/05 20:23:31 -21.403 -174.126 3.9 TONGA
MAP 5.2 2012/05/05 20:12:34 38.185 141.667 50.9 NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
MAP 5.0 2012/05/04 16:23:44 2.009 89.675 14.5 NORTH INDIAN OCEAN
I know y'all don't want to hear it; I'm just sayin'...
I am still hanging my hat on the gravitational anomalies thought...lol
INCOMING CME: Sunspot AR1471 erupted on May 7th, producing an M1-class solar flare and an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME). According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather lab, the cloud will reach Earth on May 9th at 13:40 UT (+/- 7 hours).
Minor but should be interesting to see if there is any effect on the current lull in 5+ earthquakes.