U.S. warned of threat worse than Katrina, plague, WWII

More horrifying than the plague of Black Death across Europe. More costly in lives than World War II. Financially, it could make the Katrina repairs look like a pocketful of change. And it’s not a matter of if, but when.

That’s the alarming warning issued by John G. Kappenman, owner of Storm Analysis Consultants and an expert on the dangers of electromagnetic pulse damage to modern society, with a list of qualifications after his name as long as a phone book.

via U.S. warned of threat worse than Katrina, plague, WWII.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Stephen - January 8, 2011 at 4:38 am

Categories: Solar Activity   Tags:

Solar Storms Could Bring Northern Lights South

solar flare

Increased solar activity could give residents of the continental U.S., southern Europe and Japan the chance to see the northern lights for the first time in several years.
This aurora australis image was taken during a geomagnetic storm that was most likely caused by a coronal mass ejection from the Sun on May 29. The photo was taken from The International Space Station. Increased solar activity over the next two years will push these displays farther from the poles, making them visible to people as far south as the continental US and as far north as Buenos Aires.

The National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center says the sun is entering a period of high activity, marked by more sunspots and a greater chance of a coronal mass ejection, or CME, hitting the Earth. That would result in auroras being visible much further from the poles than they usually are.

via Solar Storms Could Bring Northern Lights South – International Business Times.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Stephen - January 2, 2011 at 4:57 am

Categories: Solar Activity   Tags:

Global Eruption Rocks the Sun

Global Eruption Rocks the Sun

Dec. 13, 2010: On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted. Filaments of magnetism snapped and exploded, shock waves raced across the stellar surface, billion-ton clouds of hot gas billowed into space. Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big.

It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity.

“The August 1st event really opened our eyes,” says Karel Schrijver of Lockheed Martin’s Solar and Astrophysics Lab in Palo Alto, CA. “We see that solar storms can be global events, playing out on scales we scarcely imagined before.”

Global Eruption (movie_strip, 550px)

Click to play an extreme ultraviolet movie of the August 1st global eruption. Different colors represent different plasma temperatures in the range 1.0 to 2.2 million K. Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory.

For the past three months, Schrijver has been working with fellow Lockheed-Martin solar physicist Alan Title to understand what happened during the “Great Eruption.” They had plenty of data: The event was recorded in unprecedented detail by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and twin STEREO spacecraft. With several colleagues present to offer commentary, they outlined their findings at a press conference today at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Explosions on the sun are not localized or isolated events, they announced. Instead, solar activity is interconnected by magnetism over breathtaking distances. Solar flares, tsunamis, coronal mass ejections–they can go off all at once, hundreds of thousands of miles apart, in a dizzyingly-complex concert of mayhem.

Global Eruption (STEREO2, 200px)

NASA’s twin STEREO spacecraft surround the sun. [STEREO home page]

“To predict eruptions we can no longer focus on the magnetic fields of isolated active regions,” says Title, “we have to know the surface magnetic field of practically the entire sun.”

This revelation increases the work load for space weather forecasters, but it also increases the potential accuracy of their forecasts.

“The whole-sun approach could lead to breakthroughs in predicting solar activity,” commented Rodney Viereck of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, CO. “This in turn would provide improved forecasts to our customers such as electric power grid operators and commercial airlines, who could take action to protect their systems and ensure the safety of passengers and crew.”

In a paper they prepared for the Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR), Schrijver and Title broke down the Great Eruption into more than a dozen significant shock waves, flares, filament eruptions, and CMEs spanning 180 degrees of solar longitude and 28 hours of time. At first it seemed to be a cacophony of disorder until they plotted the events on a map of the sun’s magnetic field.

Title describes the Eureka! moment: “We saw that all the events of substantial coronal activity were connected by a wide-ranging system of separatrices, separators, and quasi-separatrix layers.” A “separatrix” is a magnetic fault zone where small changes in surrounding plasma currents can set off big electromagnetic storms.

Global Eruption (locations, 550px)

Locations of key events are labeled in this extreme ultraviolet image of the sun, obtained by the Solar Dynamics Observatory during the Great Eruption of August 1st. White lines trace the sun’s magnetic field. Credit: K Schrijver & A. Title. [larger image]

Researchers have long suspected this kind of magnetic connection was possible. “The notion of ‘sympathetic’ flares goes back at least three quarters of a century,” they wrote in their JGR paper. Sometimes observers would see flares going off one after another–like popcorn–but it was impossible to prove a link between them. Arguments in favor of cause and effect were statistical and often full of doubt.

“For this kind of work, SDO and STEREO are game-changers,” says Lika Guhathakurta, NASA’s Living with a Star Program Scientist. “Together, the three spacecraft monitor 97% of the sun, allowing researchers to see connections that they could only guess at in the past.”

To wit, barely two-thirds of the August event was visible from Earth, yet all of it could be seen by the SDO-STEREO fleet. Moreover, SDO’s measurements of the sun’s magnetic field revealed direct connections between the various components of the Great Eruption—no statistics required.

Much remains to be done. “We’re still sorting out cause and effect,” says Schrijver. “Was the event one big chain reaction, in which one eruption triggered another–bang, bang, bang–in sequence? Or did everything go off together as a consequence of some greater change in the sun’s global magnetic field?”

Further analysis may yet reveal the underlying trigger; for now, the team is still wrapping their minds around the global character of solar activity. One commentator recalled the old adage of three blind men describing an elephant–one by feeling the trunk, one by holding the tail, and another by sniffing a toenail. Studying the sun one sunspot at a time may be just as limiting.

“Not all eruptions are going to be global,” notes Guhathakurta. “But the global character of solar activity can no longer be ignored.”

As if the sun wasn’t big enough already….
Source: nasa.gov

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Stephen - December 14, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Categories: Solar Activity   Tags:

Magnitude 7.1 – ECUADOR

285_0
Magnitude 7.1
Date-Time
  • Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 11:54:16 UTC
  • Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 06:54:16 AM at epicenter
Location 1.260°S, 77.312°W
Depth 211 km (131.1 miles) set by location program
Region ECUADOR
Distances 145 km (90 miles) E of Ambato, Ecuador
155 km (95 miles) ENE of Riobamba, Ecuador
155 km (95 miles) SSW of Nueva Loja, Ecuador
175 km (110 miles) SE of QUITO, Ecuador
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 3.3 km (2.1 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters NST=523, Nph=523, Dmin=752.8 km, Rmss=0.87 sec, Gp= 14°,
M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=8
Source
  • USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID us2010zwa5

FOXNEWS
CNN

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - August 13, 2010 at 1:52 am

Categories: Earthquakes   Tags:

Solar Tsunami Strike’s Earth

trace-sun-small

Photoby Jesper Grønne of Denmark

On August 1st, the sun emitted a C-class solar flare that spawned what scientists call a coronal mass ejection, or CME, headed toward Earth. The CME impacted Earth’s magnetic field August 3rd. CMEs occasionally hit Earth. This CME will have few noticeable consequences beyond producing an aurorae.

The CME hit Earth’s magnetic field on August 3rd at 1740 UT. The impact sparked a G2-class geomagnetic storm that lasted nearly 12 hours–time enough for auroras to spread all the way from Europe to North America. The possible arrival of a second CME on August 4th might provide even better spectacular auroral displays.

CMEs are large clouds of charged particles that are ejected from the sun over the course of several hours and can carry up to ten billion tons of plasma. They expand away from the sun at speeds as high as a million miles an hour. A CME can make the 93-million-mile journey to Earth in just two to four days. Stronger solar storms could cause adverse impacts to space-based assets and technological infrastructure on Earth.

The sun goes through a regular activity cycle about 11 years long. The last solar maximum occurred in 2001 and its recent extreme solar minimum was particularly weak and long lasting. These kinds of eruptions are one of the first signs that the sun is waking up and heading toward another solar maximum expected in the 2013 time frame.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - August 10, 2010 at 2:27 am

Categories: Solar Activity   Tags:

2012 Pole Shift – Mayan and I Ching prediction (V)

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aPNcUJuiLY

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - August 1, 2010 at 4:27 am

Categories: Videos   Tags:

2010 An Active Year for Earthquakes

survivalbunker1

According to the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) significant earthquake data 2010 is on target to become the most active year for earthquakes in years. However the sizes of the quakes have been average and there hasn’t been any 8.0 or higher.

Year January-June July-December
2010 37 N/A
2009 31 41
2008 32 26
2007 12 43
2006 17 17
2005 22 25
2004 15 33
2003 31 35
2002 21 22


1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by - July 31, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Categories: News   Tags:

The Sun Awakens

June 4, 2010: Earth and space are about to come into contact in a way that’s new to human history. To make preparations, authorities in Washington DC are holding a meeting: The Space Weather Enterprise Forum at the National Press Club on June 8th.

As the Sun Awakens... (spaceweather poster, 200px)

Richard Fisher, head of NASA’s Heliophysics Division, explains what it’s all about:

“The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we’re getting together to discuss.”

The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report entitled “Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts.” It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.

Much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. Putting satellites in ‘safe mode’ and disconnecting transformers can protect these assets from damaging electrical surges. Preventative action, however, requires accurate forecasting—a job that has been assigned to NOAA.

“Space weather forecasting is still in its infancy, but we’re making rapid progress,” says Thomas Bogdan, director of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Bogdan sees the collaboration between NASA and NOAA as key. “NASA’s fleet of heliophysics research spacecraft provides us with up-to-the-minute information about what’s happening on the sun. They are an important complement to our own GOES and POES satellites, which focus more on the near-Earth environment.”

Among dozens of NASA spacecraft, he notes three of special significance: STEREO, SDO and ACE.

STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) is a pair of spacecraft stationed on opposite sides of the sun with a combined view of 90% of the stellar surface. In the past, active sunspots could hide out on the sun’s farside, invisible from Earth, and then suddenly emerge over the limb spitting flares and CMEs. STEREO makes such surprise attacks impossible.

SDO (the Solar Dynamics Observatory) is the newest addition to NASA’s fleet. Just launched in February, it is able to photograph solar active regions with unprecedented spectral, temporal and spatial resolution. Researchers can now study eruptions in exquisite detail, raising hopes that they will learn how flares work and how to predict them. SDO also monitors the sun’s extreme UV output, which controls the response of Earth’s atmosphere to solar variability.

As the Sun Awakens... (solar prominence, 200px)
On April 19, 2010, SDO observed one of the most massive eruptions in years. Earth was not in the line of fire … this time.

Bogdan’s favorite NASA satellite, however, is an old one: the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) launched in 1997. “Where would we be without it?” he wonders. ACE is a solar wind monitor. It sits upstream between the sun and Earth, detecting solar wind gusts, billion-ton CMEs, and radiation storms as much as 30 minutes before they hit our planet.

“ACE is our best early warning system,” says Bogdan. “It allows us to notify utility and satellite operators when a storm is about to hit.”

NASA spacecraft were not originally intended for operational forecasting—”but it turns out that our data have practical economic and civil uses,” notes Fisher. “This is a good example of space science supporting modern society.”

2010 marks the 4th year in a row that policymakers, researchers, legislators and reporters have gathered in Washington DC to share ideas about space weather. This year, forum organizers plan to sharpen the focus on critical infrastructure protection. The ultimate goal is to improve the nation’s ability to prepare, mitigate, and respond to potentially devastating space weather events.

“I believe we’re on the threshold of a new era in which space weather can be as influential in our daily lives as ordinary terrestrial weather.” Fisher concludes. “We take this very seriously indeed.”
Download Audio
Author: Dr. Tony Phillips| Credit: Science@NASA

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - at 6:46 pm

Categories: News   Tags: