Over the weekend, a middle latitude coronal hole (88) started to face earth. This is the same coronal hole that was responsible for a moderate (G2) geomagnetic storm last month. Now it seems like the same coronal hole is at it again, spewing high-speed solar wind – headed towards Earth this week.
According to Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), a minor (G1) geomagnetic storm watch is now in effect for Tuesday and Wednesday. The storm watch was issued “due to the arrival of a negative polarity coronal hole high-speed stream,” SWPC detailed on its website.
C. Alex Young, associate director for science in the heliophysics science division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, published in a report Monday that “three substantial coronal holes” arrived on his radar last week. Young describes coronal holes as an “open magnetic field from which high-speed solar wind rushes out into space.” If the high-speed solar wind is earth facing, then “it interacts with Earth’s magnetosphere” and lead to all sorts of problems.
“For much of this week the sun featured three substantial coronal holes (Apr. 3-6, 2018). Coronal holes appear as large dark areas which are identified with arrows in the still image. These are areas of open magnetic field from which high speed solar wind rushes out into space. This wind, if it interacts with Earth’s magnetosphere, can cause aurora to appear near the poles. They are not at all uncommon. Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA.”
As of Tuesday morning, there are radio blacks across the world. During moderate geomagnetic storms, “intense ionization within the D-layer propagation region is observed on the sunlit side of Earth, and affects a wide range of frequencies within the HF Spectrum (3 – 30 MHz),” said Solarham. In other words, solar storms can degrade HF radio communications (radio blackouts).
Real-Time Solar Wind (RTSW) data shows an uptick in solar wind activity hitting Earth’s shields starting on Monday and increasing into Tuesday.
The Estimated Planetary K index (Kp) charts below are “one of the most common indices used to indicate the severity of the global magnetic disturbances in near-Earth space,” said Solarham. A Kp index of five or more shows a geomagnetic storm is in progress.
K-indices of five or greater indicates storm-level geomagnetic activity around the Earth.
Below is a one-week K-indices view from four magnetometer reporting stations.
Below is a one week A-indices view from four magnetometer reporting stations.
We have stated before, U.S. power grid failures are possible due to strong geomagnetic storms; in today’s case, it looks like a G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm could produce auroras for much of Canada, over the next few nights.
AuroraMAX✔@AuroraMAXAURORAMAX ALERT • Observers across YT NT NU AB SK MB and northern BC ON QC NL (areas in green) be on alert for active #auroras April 10-11, 2018.
“The concern here is that if the radiation from a solar flare hits the earth, it can knock out satellites, disrupt mobile phones, and other forms of communication,” he said.
The effects of a solar storm could last months – or even years – as authorities would have to repair all the damaged infrastructure.
Specialist insurance firm Lloyd’s of London estimates the repair bill could cost up to £1.8 trillion.
Experts have warned it is just a matter of time before we suffer another direct hit.
Pete Riley, senior scientist at Predictive Science in San Diego, California, previously predicted there was a 12% chance that Earth will be hit by a storm by 2020.
He said: “Even if it’s off by a factor of two, that’s a much larger number than I thought.
“Initially, I was quite surprised that the odds were so high, but the statistics appear to be correct.
“It is a sobering figure.”
In 2015, the British Government published a report into the risks to the UK of severe space weather.
It said an event such as a coronal mass ejection could wreak havoc across the world.
Video: Geomagnetic Unrest, Storms, Predictions | S0 News Apr.10.2018