Solar Storms in Forecast

35 posts / 0 new
Last post
V's picture
V
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 14 2009
Posts: 849
Solar Storms in Forecast

More Active Sun Means Nasty Solar Storms Ahead

SPACE.com

Print
SPACE.com Staff

SPACE.com Space.com Staff

space.com

Wed Jun 9, 6:00 pm ET

The sun is about to get a lot more active, which could have ill effects on Earth. So to prepare, top sun scientists met Tuesday to discuss the best ways to protect Earth's satellites and other vital systems from the coming solar storms.

 

Solar storms occur when sunspots on our star erupt and spew out flumes of charged particles that can damage power systems. The sun's activity typically follows an 11-year cycle, and it looks to be coming out of a slump and gearing up for an active period.

 

"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," said Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division. "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."

 

Fisher and other experts met at the Space Weather Enterprise Forum, which took place in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club.

 

Bad news for gizmos

 

People of the 21st century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. But smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity.

 

A major solar storm could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina, warned the National Academy of Sciences in a 2008 report, "Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts." [Photos: Sun storms.]

 

Luckily, much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. That's why better understanding of solar weather, and the ability to give advance warning, is especially important.

 

Putting satellites in 'safe mode' and disconnecting transformers can protect electronics from damaging electrical surges.

 

"Space weather forecasting is still in its infancy, but we're making rapid progress," said Thomas Bogdan, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo.

 

Eyes on the sun

 

NASA and NOAA work together to manage a fleet of satellites that monitor the sun and help to predict its changes.

 

A pair of spacecraft called STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) is stationed on opposite sides of the sun, offering a combined view of 90 percent of the solar surface. In addition, SDO (the Solar Dynamics Observatory), which just launched in February 2010, is able to photograph solar active regions with unprecedented spectral, temporal and spatial resolution. Also, an old satellite called the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), which launched in 1997, is still chugging along monitoring winds coming off the sun. And there are dozens more dedicated to solar science.

 

"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 said. "We take this very seriously indeed."

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

 V.    What steps are you taking to prepare for EMP  Solar flares , the grid being hacked ,or attacked ?

  I like electricity !   But I understand Solar panels  and wind generators will not be protected  unless you store them and put them up afterward  and any spare part we might need will have to be shipped from china  ... By sail boat ?

  This week I put in an order for a box to put on the pole to plug in the generator  but even that will take 3 weeks to get here and installed by REA .

  Faraday cages for everything ?  

FM

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

 The other thing we will do this week is get the walkie talkies that have a range of 35 miles so we will be able to contact our kids in town  to arrange to pick them up .   We have trucks and tractors  that are  80 and older .. I had better get the spare parts ordered for them.

FM

osb272646's picture
osb272646
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 14 2010
Posts: 120
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

Will this finally break the drought we've been experiencing in Northern Wisconsin for the last six years?

docmims's picture
docmims
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 17 2009
Posts: 644
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

Now this is Global Warming, and it's not manmade.  I wouldn't go overboard worrying about it, though.

JAG's picture
JAG
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 26 2008
Posts: 2492
The Super Storm of 2012

And we think we have free will....we are all just slaves to the Sun GodWink

Mystery 2012 (part #1): wild sun ahead?

It's possible to derive the following conclusions based on solar activity that is expected to rise 2009-2012 and might culminate in a superstorm in late 2012/ early 2013:

  • (1) boom of world economy through 2012, then crisis & depression
  • (2) high of stock markets 2012/13, then bear market
  • (3) inflation high & bursting of a bubble 2012/13, then disinflation (deflation)
  • (4) begin of an important (global) war around 2012/13
  • (5) 2012/13 should be a (political) key year in history
  • (6) Global climate is cooling down until 2030, especially after 2013 (top of 55-60 year cycle)
  • (7) Perhaps we experience major technical problems after a super-storm 2012/13.

 

V's picture
V
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 14 2009
Posts: 849
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

V

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

 Wow ! We did side track from the God of oil ,gold , and the computer.  

gregroberts's picture
gregroberts
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 6 2008
Posts: 1024
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

"The sun's activity typically follows an 11-year cycle, and it looks to be coming out of a slump and gearing up for an active period."

Peak oil, global warming, and sunspots, oh my! Sounds like some scientists need more funding. We are not that much more technically advanced from eleven years ago.

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

The world can't end now, my Blackhawks finally won the Stanley Cup!  I think we have until the Cubs win the World Series which should buy humanity a few more centuries at least.

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

 We can joke and have fun but I am getting on the NASA  warning list so we can get updates of the action anyway , 

JLK's picture
JLK
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 6 2008
Posts: 12
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

The raw data doesn't show it.

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/RecentIndices.txt

 

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

 I do think  the possibility  of EMP and HEMP  should be considered  by us .  I do not see the Govt. taking any steps  towards  preparing . although NASA  is taking it quite seriously . 

  You would think the Satellite companies would be on it .... maybe they are and I do not know .

 Just wondering  as I sure hate to get  several hundred miles from home  and have to start walking .

 My husband said Air Force One is supposed to be ready for  either ,  but I doubt all the planes are.  So do we depend on NASA  for the Solar flare info ? Who do we trust on the NUKE info  if the Military can't even keep their GPS  working  ?

   Thoughts please , I realize the intensity of the worlds situations are getting everyone on hyper alert  but we must channel out fights for solutions not against each other .

 FM

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

  Posting this Question in two places .     What does it take to harden  a newer Diesel  truck to and EMP attack ?     It is getting harder to find older  gas fueled trucks and  they sure  are not fun to take on road trips   I was thinking on buying  used military vehicle at action  but now I read those are not hardened anymore .

   Also what kind of pump would it take to get the gas out of the ground with  no electricity ?   We have one gas station in town that still uses manual pumps the rest are  computer run  and the station managers  doubted if their pumps  would  work  even if we brought a generator to town .

 

Are you building Faraday cages around your generators ?   Are you storing extra parts for your wind generators or solar panels ?    I see several things that can make us grid down .  Solar flare ,  Nuke ,  Hackers ,  and just plain old weather .

 

 If  you are ready are you thinking it could be used for bartering ?     Even being able to pump water would be in demand .

 FM

 

SteveW's picture
SteveW
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2010
Posts: 490
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

I think the most significant issue will be whether I can get "Dancing with the Stars" on my satellite TV. Laughing

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

 Stevie ,   I   Too  really Hope that  getting TV signal  will be  our biggest worry .    Right now I am a sucker  for   picking up hitch hikers   but if anything happens I will have to change my ways and wave as I drive by .    If you see a little old lady zooming by in a 79 chevy  flat bed  pick up truck  it will be ok to give me the good ole America sign language wave .   Wink

 

 FM .

earthwise's picture
earthwise
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2009
Posts: 848
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast
Full Moon wrote:

    If you see a little old lady zooming by in a 79 chevy  flat bed  pick up truck  it will be ok to give me the good ole America sign language wave .   Wink

 

 FM .

If I saw a little old lady zooming by in a 79 chevy  flat bed  pick up truck, I'd be checkin' out the truck!  If I had that truck here in the Peoples Republic of California, I wouldn't have to smog it.  I bet it runs like a top, too.

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

  Earthwise   you will not be seeing me in CA . ever again if I can help it , but that is a preference not a conviction .   The Hubby keeps my truck cherried out ...   A bronze color because I put my foot down on candy apple red .    Why I have to have pipes so loud I do not know . But this rig will haul my horses anywhere and  a load on back to boot . 

   The flat bed is made as sturdy as a tank and  he has duel fuel tanks on it . With  a couple more  spares out back in case I bugger up a fender or bumper . Anyway If I could find a suburban  70-80's  that my boys can fix up  to haul my grand-babies around in I would be one happy old lady .

  I know it seems overboard to get so "prepared ." But we have no faith in those who are supposed to have our best interest at heart and spending our taxes so wisely .

 The hubby  hauls  tons of coal to the power plants . He said it would not be hard at all  to take the plants down  or even hit the coal mines .   We so like electricity Frown when I was talking to the Amish  friend yesterday  we agreed that  they are not  much more prepared  than I .   They depend on delivery trucks , public transportation , and electricity at the meat locker ... they do not even have their own well . 

  Anyway we can make fun here , watch the market go up and down and up and down ,but the peeps at the top are only interested in padding their own pockets  and will be less prepared than you or I when  the lights go out .     I plan on  continuing  to haul milk,eggs , and water in that old truck ... what do ya think they will barter for ?  (if the truck does not work I will haul with my horses ) Right now I get $2 for a gallon of milk and $2  for a dozen eggs .   When my cellar  has three years full I sell the extra  from there too .   Now   back to canning cherries .... this is a great   garden year  and so many people are to busy to put up their own bounty. ...  just let it fall to the ground .  Last week we were given a calf  because the people were to busy to feed the heifer .  I have hay, grain , and will find time ... even may have to give up dancing  with the stars  but will not give up dancing under the stars  .

  Believe me  people everywhere are going to get hungry ...  people need to eat .

 FM  

Mr. Fri's picture
Mr. Fri
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 21 2009
Posts: 220
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast
Full Moon wrote:

Right now I get $2 for a gallon of milk and $2  for a dozen eggs .   When my cellar  has three years full I sell the extra  from there too . 

Wow, I didn't know milk and eggs could last for 3 years. Tongue out

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast
Full Moon wrote:

 Believe me  people everywhere are going to get hungry ...  people need to eat .

 

Not a problem for Uncle Sam.  If things ever get bad enough where those who don't have enough to eat are taking food by force from those that do OR worse yet, those that have no food are eating those who are plumper than them, Uncle Sam will step in with plan B to save the day.  They'll use the Echelon system to go through all the electronic communications to find folks like yourself who have more than enough food stored.  Under executive order due to a declared national emergency, they'll confiscate your food and distribute it to those "grasshoppers" who were just lounging around taking it easy while the "ants" like yourself were working hard to prepare.  Sad, huh? 

Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

Anytime a "wire" is exposed to a varying magnetic field a current is induced in that wire.

That's Faraday's Law of Electromagnetic Induction.

Generators work on this principle. Take a core wrapped with hundreds of loops of conductor (copper wire), and rotate it about static magnets and it will produce a current. 

A solar storm, particularly is coronal ejections, can and does produce MASSIVE magnetic fields that can propagate quite easily in a massless media like space. Even with the huge energy losses from distance the field is still pretty threatening. 

But, it doesn't mean that it's going to fry everything in it's path, and probably not your solar panels. 

You need to understand the physics. The longer the wire in the magnetic field, the greater the degree of incident flux (the quantity of magnetic energy able to perform the work of "moving electrons" and hence inducing current). That's why electrical grids are susceptible to surges during solar magnetic storms. 

These grids are often thousands and thousands of miles of cable. A lot of exposure to magnetic storms. And potential to really wreck havoc. 

Now, back to your solar panels. Their magnetic flux linkage is TEENY TINY compared to the electrical grid. So, what could fry electronics in the house during a magnetic storm is current surge in the grid. Sure there will be current surge in your solar panels from the incident magnetic field. Probably not enough to record on a standard ammeter though unless you're accurate to mA. And even if it's an additional ampere, so what? Tolerance. Devices are built with tolerance in mind.  

It's fish to bikes. The magnetic flux linkage of your solar grid is too small to appreciably contribute additional current from a solar storm. I'd be more worried about being tied to the main power grid. If you are grid-tied, look int surge suppressors to protect your investment. No biggie, you should have done that anyways. 

 

earthwise's picture
earthwise
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2009
Posts: 848
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

 

Morpheus,

Thanks for the insight. If I understand you correctly, there would be no threat from a solar storm to a PV panel unless it were connected to the grid, and even then that threat could be mitigated with the appropriate surge protector. Would this also apply to an EMP from a nuclear weapon? Also, do you have any insight into types of surge protection? Most commercial installers offer cookie-cutter type packages and don't address this issue.

A PV system is my last major piece of preppin', and I've been hesitating to pull the trigger because not only is it not cost effective (unless of course TSHTF) but also of my concern over the vulerability of the system to EMPs either natural or man-made.

This issue has been on my mind quite a bit; your timing is fortuitous.  Thanks for the post.

Mr. Fri's picture
Mr. Fri
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 21 2009
Posts: 220
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

I don’t know about anyone else, but an EMP is not even on my radar.  Yes, there could be a nuclear strike in a worse case situation but I’d think the EMP would be the least of your problems. If you weren’t affected by the initial blast, radioactive isotopes from the fallout would be in the soil and water for years.  To prepare to survive with a sustainable lifestyle after a nuclear event would take a whole different set of factors into consideration than just the 3Es.

For those of you who don’t know, an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) is a generated when a nuclear bomb goes off.  Charged particles move away from the blast very fast and, just like a solar flare, create a surge of current in wires, especially transmission lines.  However, the nuclear blast also creates radiation which can damage the ICs in electronic equipment.  Sometimes the radiation damage to electronics is considered “EMP” even though it’s technically a different method of causing the damage. When FM commented that military trucks use to have EMP shielding, I think that might have been “radiation hardened” electronics, not current inducing surge protection.

><>Larry

nickbert's picture
nickbert
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2009
Posts: 1208
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

Larry,

My guess is that earthwise may be thinking more along the lines of a high-altitude detonation where the intent is to disrupt electronics and communications over a very large area rather than direct destruction.  Still not what I'd personally consider a high-likelihood event for the average person, but perhaps high enough to keep a few favorite essential electronics and data storage in a proper container as previously described.

Still, one would have to admit it would be an ideal form of retaliation or terrorism against any developed nation or group of nations, so that probability could get substantially higher in several years depending on how world events play out.

- Nick

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast
Morpheus wrote:

If you are grid-tied, look int surge suppressors to protect your investment. No biggie, you should have done that anyways. 

I was under the impression that surge suppressors will not stop an EMP.  Something about the speed of the suppressor being much slower than the speed of the pulse.  Maybe I am wrong about that.

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast
goes211 wrote:
Morpheus wrote:

If you are grid-tied, look int surge suppressors to protect your investment. No biggie, you should have done that anyways. 

I was under the impression that surge suppressors will not stop an EMP.  Something about the speed of the suppressor being much slower than the speed of the pulse.  Maybe I am wrong about that.

 

A surge is a surge......  and it's all electrons!  We have a surge suppressor in our grid tied system...

Mike

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast

  DTM   , How much did the Surge suppressor cost and where did you order it from ?  Does it go on your power pole  like the  plug in  for the generator ?

 

 FM 

earthwise's picture
earthwise
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2009
Posts: 848
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast
nickbert wrote:

Larry,

My guess is that earthwise may be thinking more along the lines of a high-altitude detonation where the intent is to disrupt electronics and communications over a very large area rather than direct destruction.  Still not what I'd personally consider a high-likelihood event for the average person, but perhaps high enough to keep a few favorite essential electronics and data storage in a proper container as previously described.

Still, one would have to admit it would be an ideal form of retaliation or terrorism against any developed nation or group of nations, so that probability could get substantially higher in several years depending on how world events play out.

- Nick

Nick, That's exactly what I was refering to. I also don't think it's in the range of high-likelihood, but it is a possibility. It's an Achille's heel and one that the US military is concerned about. And one that our enemies are aware of. See this.

goes211 wrote:

I was under the impression that surge suppressors will not stop an EMP.  Something about the speed of the suppressor being much slower than the speed of the pulse.

This was my understanding also. From what I gather, there are ultra-high speed surge protectors, but they are expensive and not a comlete protection.

Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast
earthwise wrote:

 

Morpheus,

Thanks for the insight. If I understand you correctly, there would be no threat from a solar storm to a PV panel unless it were connected to the grid, and even then that threat could be mitigated with the appropriate surge protector. Would this also apply to an EMP from a nuclear weapon? Also, do you have any insight into types of surge protection? Most commercial installers offer cookie-cutter type packages and don't address this issue.

A PV system is my last major piece of preppin', and I've been hesitating to pull the trigger because not only is it not cost effective (unless of course TSHTF) but also of my concern over the vulerability of the system to EMPs either natural or man-made.

This issue has been on my mind quite a bit; your timing is fortuitous.  Thanks for the post.

The EMP from a nuke would likely fry your PV system with the greatest of ease. 

Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast
goes211 wrote:
Morpheus wrote:

If you are grid-tied, look int surge suppressors to protect your investment. No biggie, you should have done that anyways. 

I was under the impression that surge suppressors will not stop an EMP.  Something about the speed of the suppressor being much slower than the speed of the pulse.  Maybe I am wrong about that.

You're absolutely correct, sort of. LOL. 

Surge protection equipment contains certain semi-conductor devices of various designs that "clamp" at a specified voltage and time. You need to check the equipment datasheet for maximum clamping time. 

Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
Re: Solar Storms in Forecast
Damnthematrix wrote:
goes211 wrote:
Morpheus wrote:

If you are grid-tied, look int surge suppressors to protect your investment. No biggie, you should have done that anyways. 

I was under the impression that surge suppressors will not stop an EMP.  Something about the speed of the suppressor being much slower than the speed of the pulse.  Maybe I am wrong about that.

 

A surge is a surge......  and it's all electrons!  We have a surge suppressor in our grid tied system...

Mike

A surge is not a surge. It's waveform is critical in any design's ability to suppress it. And technically, it's not the electrons that "flow", it's "hole flow" (vacated valancy states of conductive media). The electron thingy is a little lie taught in entry level physics to keep people's heads from exploding. ;)

Speed, speed, speed. Typical EMP is 30-300 MHz. That means you need clamping times in the nanosecond range. 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments