Explosions in the sun’s outer atmosphere – tracked and forecast by NOAA scientists – can cause geomagnetic and solar radiation storms at Earth that can impede the operation of electrical power grids, interfere with the normal function of Global Positioning Systems and temporarily hamper radio and satellite telecommunications. Grid and satellite operators and airlines can take protective measures when stormy conditions are forecast.
An X-ray image of the Sun from August 5, captured by a NOAA satellite. Three successive coronal mass ejections - big blasts of plasma from the Sun - exploded from a bright region near far right (circled in additional image). Impacts on Earth were minimal: temporary high-frequency radio outages in a few regions, minor distortion of global positioning system signals and no known power outages or satellite damage. (Credit: NOAA)
“This advanced model has strengthened forecasters’ understanding of what happens in the 93 million miles between Earth and the sun following a solar disturbance,” said Tom Bogdan, director of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo. “It will help power grid and communications technology managers know what to expect so they can protect infrastructure and the public.”
Magnetic storms can occur on Earth 1–4 days after a coronal mass ejection – a burst of charged particles and magnetic field that streams out from the sun at more than one million miles an hour. Before development of this model, forecasters could predict timing of such impacts within a 30-hour window, on average. The new model allows forecasters to narrow that window to 12 hours.
That improvement gives airline operators more reliable information about when to reroute flights to avoid communications blackouts from storms. Satellite operators can avoid changing orbit or orientation when space weather threatens. Oil drilling, mining and other operations that rely on global positioning systems – which can be made unreliable by space weather – can avoid conditions that might put operators at risk. Power companies can work to prevent problems.“The shorter prediction timeframe will enable the electric industry to better prepare for potential issues,” said Gerry Cauley, president and chief executive officer of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. “The continued improvement of forecasting through innovation and modernization of the existing satellite infrastructure is vital to support the reliability of North America’s bulk electric system.”
Scientists with NOAA, NASA, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Boston University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and George Mason University collaborated to develop the model.
The model has been used in experimental mode for several months and has accurately forecast the timing of recent space weather events. NOAA began running the new model on its supercomputers officially on September 30. Recent model run results are available online.
NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo. is the nation’s official source of operational forecasts, warnings and alerts about space weather.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.
Katy Human | EurekAlert!
Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences