Solar Flares Heading Our Way
Tis the season when the sun begins to set and when the sun ejects plasma that disseminates in the upper atmospheres of the polar regions creating a ring of green and chaos to communication and power grids. I'm talking about the upcoming maximum of solar cycle 24. With darkness rising in the Arctic circle I may be lucky enough to capture still images of the raving auroras.
Earlier I was outside hiking around and our near-surface weather began to change rapidly. For weeks it's been slow moving weather systems and all of a sudden things speed up. Something's in the air. Out of curiosity, I checked out the recent space weather conditions from the National Space Weather Prediction Center and there are three plasma bursts about ready to hit the Earth. One cloud has just hit the upper atmosphere and is causing radio blackouts. Whether or not these plasma clouds have a direct impact on climate systems within the troposphere is still in debate, so I won't go any further on that subject without further evidence. It's been observed that solar activity has an impact on low cloud cover, but what else? We do know that the solar-derived energy plays havoc on power grids, GPS and air traffic control in the polar regions... where I spend most of my time, thus need to know about.
Right now it's extremely windy. Pressure systems have been in-and-out of the region quickly playing havoc on our sinuses. It feels like climate change is all of a sudden at a greater pace. That's just a feeling though. I'll let a NOAA scientist explain more about what we should expect from a more scientific and extreme standpoint...
Remember that your tax dollars are paying for this sort of prediction and analyses. It's been 7 or so years since our last solar maximum and since then we have advanced in technology and polar inhabitance. Space weather at the poles is as just as imporant, if not more so, than the normal weather 99% of the world is acquainted with.