There NASA in recent days has raised the alarm for one geomagnetic storm towards the Land produced from Sole. A big sunspot call “AR3014“was observed through the Solar dynamics observatory. To clarify this issue, the expert replies Juha-Pekka Luntamaoffice manager of Space time ofEuropean Space Agency (ESA).
“This is an example of a situation where an early space weather warning is issued due to observations of the active regions (sunspot groups) visible on the solar disk. In this can be activated AR3014 was relative large This was the basis alarm “.
How does the sunspot process that generates geomagnetic storms work? And how long does it last if it occurs?
“One can activate a geomagnetic storm on Earth if it produces a solar flare associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME) and it hits the Earth. In a CME, billions of tons of solar are ejected into space with When that cloud. of plasma hits the magnetic field, charged particles (electrons, protons) from the cloud can enter the earth’s magnetosphere and cause disturbances we call geomagnetic storms. These storms can last up to two days in an extreme case, but storms more small decay in less than a day. The process that generates these storms is complex and some details are not yet fully understood. CME arrives on Earth, charged particles of CME and solar wind can enter the Earth’s magnetosphere through rso a process called “reconnection of the magnetic field.” Once the particles are inside, they disturb the electric currents ch and flow in space within the magnetosphere “.
“These disturbances generate their own magnetic fields which interact with the geomagnetic field produced by the dynamo inside the Earth. What we see as a geomagnetic storm is the sum of the Earth’s nominal magnetic field and the disturbances generated by currents within the magnetosphere. “.
Do these geomagnetic storms occur in precise time cycles?
“Geomagnetic storms are produced by solar activity, CMEs or high-speed solar wind streams from coronal holes in the solar magnetic field. Solar activity follows a cycle of about 11 years, called the solar cycle. We from observations that the Sun’s magnetic field reverses its polarity over a cycle of about 11 years, but this cycle may be slightly longer or shorter. 11 years is just the statistical average of the cycle length. The Sun is most active in the middle of the polarity shift, this is called the solar maximum. We are currently heading towards the next maximum, which is expected to reach its peak in 2025. At solar maximum the maximum number of solar storms and also the resulting geomagnetic storms, but this does not automatically mean that the biggest storms occur at that any time. Even an extreme individual solar event can occur at a time during a solar cycle. “
In 1859, a very large geomagnetic storm occurred. It was called the “Carrington Event”. The damage caused significant disturbances to telegraph technology. After 163 years, in 2022, society has evolved a lot. So what are the consequences today? What could happen, for example, to computers, telephone lines, smartphones and electro-medical devices such as pacemakers?
“Today our infrastructure is vastly more complex, capable and efficient than 163 years ago. The impact of an extreme space weather event on Europe’s infrastructure is expected to be severe. Local or regional blackouts in the electricity grid are also likely. blackouts cause a cascade in the interconnected electricity networks and that problems spread beyond the first regions concerned. All satellite navigation services and satellite telecommunication services would suffer disturbances that could last from several tens of minutes to several hours. Very many satellites in the space would likely experience at least transient anomalies as a result of the solar event, but it is also likely that they could experience some permanent problems. availability of available. Driving permanently damaged satellites would take years. “
“Overall, the socio-economic damage of a single extreme weather event was estimated in 2016 in the ESA contracted study to be up to € 15 billion in Europe alone. This study has not yet considered new ones such as autonomous transport, which. commercial aviation should become increasingly dependent on satellite navigation systems in the future. These evolutions make our infrastructure more efficient, but also the sensitivity to space weather events and the socio-economic cost in case of perturbations increases. This means that space weather services accurate and timely are very important to mitigate the impacts and reduce the related socio-economic costs “.
“I should add that devices such as computers, smartphones or pacemakers do not disturb directly on such an event. The impact and smartphone would come, for example, from blackout signals from navigation satellites”.
Could permanent damage occur to communication devices and networks?
“Space weather conditions have no impact on personal devices, computers or cab communication networks. Blackouts caused by space weather conditions would cause problems and any form of long-distance radio communication would be affected. Radio communication would in principle not be affected by the weather. space meteorological impacts “.
A large solar event therefore predicts a wide range of socioeconomic impacts. Are new studies planned on this front?
“ESA will launch a new study together with the European Commission this year to study the potential impacts of space weather events on the European economy and infrastructure and to estimate socio-economic costs. The results of the study are expected by the end of 2024” .