Aug 07

Solar Storms Could Debilitate Earth this Decade: NOAA (International Business Times, August 6, 2011):

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a federal agency that focuses on the condition of the oceans and atmosphere, said that a severe solar storm could cause global chaos, debilitating satellite communications and taking down the most important global power grids.

The NOAA predicted four extreme solar emissions which could threaten the planet this decade. Similarly, NASA warned that a peak in the sun’s magnetic energy cycle and the number of sun spots or flares around 2013 could enable extremely high radiation levels.

Government studies revealed that extreme solar flare emissions could cause blackouts, possibly for years, in large portions of the U.S.

This type of storm could also induce geomagnetic currents that could debilitate transformers on the power grid. Electric power would be out for years or even decades.

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Aug 28

The first solar storm of this cycle hit the Earth early this month, causing it to light up spectacularly / NASA Source: NASA

AFTER 10 years of comparative slumber, the sun is waking up – and it’s got astronomers on full alert.

This week several US media outlets reported that NASA was warning the massive flare that caused spectacular light shows on Earth earlier this month was just a precursor to a massive solar storm building that had the potential to wipe out the entire planet’s power grid.

NASA has since rebutted those reports, saying it could come “100 years away or just 100 days”, but an Australian astronomer says the space community is betting on the sooner scenario rather than the latter.

Despite its rebuttal, NASA’s been watching out for this storm since 2006 and reports from the US this week claim the storms could hit on that most Hollywood of disaster dates – 2012.

Similar storms back in 1859 and 1921 caused worldwide chaos, wiping out telegraph wires on a massive scale.

The 2012 storm has the potential to be even more disruptive.

“The general consensus among general astronomers (and certainly solar astronomers) is that this coming Solar maximum (2012 but possibly later into 2013) will be the most violent in 100 years,” astronomy lecturer and columnist Dave Reneke said.

“A bold statement and one taken seriously by those it will affect most, namely airline companies, communications companies and anyone working with modern GPS systems.

“They can even trip circuit breakers and knock out orbiting satellites, as has already been done this year.”

Regardless, the point astronomers are making is it doesn’t matter if the next Solar Max isn’t the worst in history, or even as bad as the 1859 storms.

It’s the fact that there hasn’t been one since the mid-80s. Commodore had just launched the Amiga and the only digital storm making the news was Tetris.

No one really knows what effect the 2012-2013 Solar Max will have on today’s digital-reliant society.

Dr Richard Fisher, director of NASA’s Heliophysics division, told Mr Reneke the super storm would hit like “a bolt of lightning”, causing catastrophic consequences for the world’s health, emergency services and national security unless precautions are taken.

US government officials earlier this year took part in a “tabletop exercise” in Boulder, Colorado, to map out what might happen if the Earth was hit with a storm as intense as the 1859 and 1921 storms.

The 1859 storm was of a similar size to that predicted by NASA to hit within the next three years – one of decreased activity, but more powerful eruptions.

NASA said that a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a similar storm occurred today, it could cause “$1 to 2 trillion in damages to society’s high-tech infrastructure and require four to 10 years for complete recovery”.

Staff at the Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado, which hosted the exercise, said with our reliance on satellite technology, such an event could hit the Earth with the magnitude of a global hurricane or earthquake.

The reason for the concern comes as the sun enters a phase known as Solar Cycle 24.

All the alarming news building around the event is being fuelled by two things.

The first is a book by disaster expert Lawrence E. Joseph, Guilty of Apocalypse: The Case Against 2012, in which he claims the “Hurricane Katrina for the Earth” may cause unprecedented planetwide upheaval.

The second is a theory that claims sunspots travel through the sun on a “conveyor belt” similar to the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt which controls weather on Earth.

The belt carries magnetic fields through the sun. When they hit the surface, they explode as sunspots.

Weakened, they then travel back through the sun’s core to recharge.

It all happens on a rough 40-50-year cycle, according to solar physicist David Hathaway of the National Space Science and Technology Center in the US.

He says when the belt speeds up, lots of magnetic fields are collected, which points to more intense future activity.

“The belt was turning fast in 1986-1996,” Prof Hathaway said.

“Old magnetic fields swept up then should reappear as big sunspots in 2010-2011.”

Most experts agree, although those who put the date of Solar Max in 2012 are getting the most press.

They claim satellites will be aged by 50 years, rendering GPS even more useless than ever, and the blast will have the equivalent energy of 100 million hydrogen bombs.

“We know it is coming but we don’t know how bad it is going to be,” Dr Fisher told Mr Reneke in the most recent issue of Australasian Science.

“Systems will just not work. The flares change the magnetic field on the Earth and it’s rapid, just like a lightning bolt.

“That’s the solar effect.”

By Peter Farquhar, Technology Editor
August 25, 2010 3:40PM


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Jul 16

Layers of Earth’s upper atmosphere. Credit: John Emmert/NRL. (Click on image to enlarge.)

July 15, 2010: NASA-funded researchers are monitoring a big event in our planet’s atmosphere. High above Earth’s surface where the atmosphere meets space, a rarefied layer of gas called “the thermosphere” recently collapsed and now is rebounding again.

“This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years,” says John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab, lead author of a paper announcing the finding in the June 19th issue of the Geophysical Research Letters (GRL). “It’s a Space Age record.”

The collapse happened during the deep solar minimum of 2008-2009-a fact which comes as little surprise to researchers. The thermosphere always cools and contracts when solar activity is low. In this case, however, the magnitude of the collapse was two to three times greater than low solar activity could explain.

“Something is going on that we do not understand,” says Emmert.

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Jul 08

The Joint ESA-NASA Ulysses spacecraft flies under the pole of the sun, as seen in this computer animation, where it is exploring the heliosphere. REUTERS/handout

After one of the longest sunspot droughts in modern times, solar activity picked up quickly over the weekend.

A new group of sunspots developed, and while not dramatic by historic standards, the spots were the most significant in many months.

“This is the best sunspot I’ve seen in two years,” observer Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, Calif., said on

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Jul 08

What happened to global warming?


Timo Niroma, a physicist from Finland, publishes a Solar Report each month. He has given his permission to use it and distribute it to all so here it is. It will be a regular feature here and I hope you look forward to it as much as I do. The report is not written in the usual user-friendly way, but is rather intended for scientists that are familiar with the information contained in it. I will attempt to simplify and explain the details of the report and how it could impact you and, of course, Al Gore and company. As the predictions come true, as I assume they will, the green lobby will go on unemployment compensation. Let’s start at the beginning and take it piece by piece.

“JUNE BREAKING NEWS: THE CYCLE GOES AT THE MOMENT BELOW DALTON LEVEL” gives away the punch line but let’s see how he gets there.

In the following Timo discusses the sunspot activity of the new, as yet not begun, cycle #24:

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Jun 07

Some researchers believe that the solar cycle influences global climate changes. They attribute recent warming trends to cyclic variation. Skeptics, though, argue that there’s little hard evidence of a solar hand in recent climate changes.

Now, a new research report from a surprising source may help to lay this skepticism to rest.


Solar activity has shown a major spike in the twentieth century, corresponding to global warming. This cyclic variation was acknowledged by a recent NASA study, which reviewed a great deal of past climate data.

A study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth’s climate. The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution.

Past research has shown that the sun goes through eleven year cycles. At the cycle’s peak, solar activity occurring near sunspots is particularly intense, basking the Earth in solar heat. According to Robert Cahalan, a climatologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, “Right now, we are in between major ice ages, in a period that has been called the Holocene.”

Past studies have shown that sunspot numbers correspond to warming or cooling trends. The twentieth century has featured heightened activity, indicating a warming trend.

Thomas Woods, solar scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder concludes, “The fluctuations in the solar cycle impacts Earth’s global temperature by about 0.1 degree Celsius, slightly hotter during solar maximum and cooler during solar minimum. The sun is currently at its minimum, and the next solar maximum is expected in 2012.”

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Jan 10

“The race is on for better forecasting abilities, as the next peak in solar activity is expected to come around 2012.” …and this event will be much, much more serious than you will ever be told.

The elite knows what is coming and prepares for it:
‘Doomsday’ seed vault opens in Arctic
Investors Behind Doomsday Seed Vault May Provide Clues to Its Purpose (Part 2)
African seed collection first to arrive in Norway on route to Arctic seed vault

The elite has built for themselves huge underground shelters, even cities. (Do some research.)
Now you know where all that money went that the government cannot account for.
Has the government also been preparing for the people? No, they are disposable.

Solar storms can cause colorful auroras, often seen in higher latitudes on Earth. NASA

A new study from the National Academy of Sciences outlines grim possibilities on Earth for a worst-case scenario solar storm.

Damage to power grids and other communications systems could be catastrophic, the scientists conclude, with effects leading to a potential loss of governmental control of the situation.

The prediction is based in part on a major solar storm in 1859 that caused telegraph wires to short out in the United States and Europe, igniting widespread fires.

It was perhaps the worst in the past 200 years, according to the new study, and with the advent of modern power grids and satellites, much more is at risk.

“A contemporary repetition of the [1859] event would cause significantly more extensive (and possibly catastrophic) social and economic disruptions,” the researchers conclude.

‘Command and control might be lost’

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Dec 17

Dec. 16, 2008: NASA’s five THEMIS spacecraft have discovered a breach in Earth’s magnetic field ten times larger than anything previously thought to exist. Solar wind can flow in through the opening to “load up” the magnetosphere for powerful geomagnetic storms. But the breach itself is not the biggest surprise. Researchers are even more amazed at the strange and unexpected way it forms, overturning long-held ideas of space physics.

“At first I didn’t believe it,” says THEMIS project scientist David Sibeck of the Goddard Space Flight Center. “This finding fundamentally alters our understanding of the solar wind-magnetosphere interaction.”

The magnetosphere is a bubble of magnetism that surrounds Earth and protects us from solar wind. Exploring the bubble is a key goal of the THEMIS mission, launched in February 2007.

The big discovery came on June 3, 2007, when the five probes serendipitously flew through the breach just as it was opening. Onboard sensors recorded a torrent of solar wind particles streaming into the magnetosphere, signaling an event of unexpected size and importance.

Right: One of the THEMIS probes exploring the space around Earth, an artist’s concept. [more]

“The opening was huge-four times wider than Earth itself,” says Wenhui Li, a space physicist at the University of New Hampshire who has been analyzing the data. Li’s colleague Jimmy Raeder, also of New Hampshire, says “1027 particles per second were flowing into the magnetosphere-that’s a 1 followed by 27 zeros. This kind of influx is an order of magnitude greater than what we thought was possible.”

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