Scientists Warn of Unexpected CME Bomb during Solar Cycle 24
by Mitch Battros - Earth Changes Media
Scientists are learning to predict giant solar storms that could, at any time, hit the Earth and produce cascading catastrophes. This statement comes from the highest esteemed agency -- The National Science Foundation. The NSF is internationally known for its extremely careful release of information to maintain its reputation of credibility.
A coronal mass ejection (CME) is a discharge of 'charged particles' sometimes referred to as 'plasma' from our Sun. CME's are almost always associated with sunspots and solar flares. If a CME is Earth directed, it can cause severe damage from power grid failures to earthquakes.
As mentioned in previous articles, the NSF has endorsed my 1998 Sun-Earth Equation (see below). Today's announcement has issued a heads-up warning suggesting our current solar cycle, Cycle 24, could in fact possess a serious, if not record-breaking coronal mass ejection (CME) which could bring the world to its knees.
Equation: Sunspots => Solar Flares or CME's => Shifting Earth's Magnetic Field => Shifting Jet Stream => Shifting Ocean Currents => Extreme Weather and Human Disruption (Battros 1998)
Today's NSF warning of future hazards has in fact happened on three occasions in recorded history. Note: The term "recorded history" reflects an extremely short period of time capturing a mere approximate 200 year span. This is to say; although I am speaking of a possible 4th event which could be labeled as "record-breaking", it does not consider the fact the Earth has experienced such an event thousands -- if not hundreds of thousands -- of times during Earth's life history. However, such an event occurring within the next 2 to 4 years would cause unmatched devastation due to our current electro-magnetic technological advancements.
The first and most spectacular event occurred on September 1st 1859. The Sun unleashed a massive record-breaking coronal mass ejection (CME), speeding through our solar system at nearly the speed of light (671 million per hour - or 186,282 per second), hitting Earth's magnetic field. This caused the largest geomagnetic storm ever recorded setting off auroras across half the world almost reaching into Central America just short of the equator. To give perspective; the average solar storm sets off auroras which cover Alaska and maybe down into northern Canada.
This event has become known as the Carrington Storm or Carrington Event, named after Richard Carrington, a member of the Royal Astronomical Society, observing Sunspots through a telescope, making the first-ever observation of a white-light flare -- a huge explosion erupting on the solar surface. The explosion observed by Carrington signaled the ejection from the Sun of an interplanetary hurricane directed at Earth. Approaching at 5 million miles per hour, it struck 18 hours later and immersed the planet in the biggest magnetic storm ever recorded.
The second Carrington Event occurred March 15th 1989 with Quebec, Canada as its epicenter. A wave of ten X-class solar flares set off in rapid succession which was Earth directed knocking out Quebec's largest power grid. 6,000,000.00 people went without power during one of Montreal's worse ice storms. A great number of the population went without power for up to three weeks. The community survived by relying on their neighbors. Homes with a fireplace were the only source of warmth for thousands.
The third Carrington Event was actually a 'near-miss' occurrence. It occurred on November 4th 2003 and is also known as The Halloween Event. The sunspot group had just rotated around the Sun's western limb before exploding. If it had been Earth directed, no one is quite sure what the devastating results would be. This was the largest solar flare ever recorded measuring an X-45. It literally sent NOAA's and the USAF measuring instruments off-the-scale. They had to recalibrate their instruments which will now read solar events beyond X-50.
CMEs are associated with peaks in the activity of sunspots, which are knots of magnetism on the Sun's surface generated by subsurface movements of solar material. (Sunspots appear dark because they are cooler and therefore less bright than their hotter surroundings.) Sunspot activity peaks about every 11 years; this 11-year cycle is, in turn, related to a 22-year cycle of reversals in the Sun's magnetic field.
During a typical 11-year sunspot cycle, the Sun hurls about 100 severe CMEs and about four extreme CMEs into the solar system--only a fraction of which usually hit the Earth. Such CMEs are most likely to occur during peaks in sunspot activity, and are less likely to occur during periods of low sunspot activity.
CMEs still occur during periods of low sunspot activity; but they are just fewer and further between than during active sunspot periods. It is still very possible for a fierce geomagnetic storm to occur during a solar minimum. The 1859 geomagnetic storm was the largest storm ever recorded; "but there is absolutely no reason why the Earth couldn't be hit by an equally or even more violent geomagnetic storm today, tomorrow, or the next day," said Sarah Gibson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo.
Because scientists vigilantly watch for CMEs through high-tech telescopes and because it usually takes two or three days for most of a CME's impacts to reach the Earth, scientists can anticipate geomagnetic storms once Earth-directed CMEs start. Nevertheless, scientists cannot yet forecast when CMEs will start.
With funding from the National Science Foundation, scientists at NCAR are currently using various methods to improve their understanding of CMEs and their ability to forecast them. Among these methods are computer simulations of CMEs that describe their physical properties based on conditions on the Sun and Earth and the laws of magnetism, electricity, gravity and thermodynamics--as shown in the above image and an animated simulation of a CME.
Some simulations are based on hypothetical data that is designed to reflect typical solar events. But other simulations are based on specific data collected on a particular day and are designed to recreate actual CMEs. Data incorporated into such simulations may include, for example, the Earth's position relative to the Sun during the CME; the mass, composition, size and electrical charge of the CME; and conditions immediately around the Earth upon the CME's arrival. By comparing their simulation with direct observations of the real-life CME it was designed to recreate, scientists can evaluate their simulation's accuracy and improve it.