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NASA Space Science

NASA Confirms Solar Storm Near 2012 344

An anonymous reader writes "`This week researchers announced that a storm is coming — the most intense solar maximum in fifty years. The prediction comes from a team led by Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one," she says. If correct, the years ahead could produce a burst of solar activity second only to the historic Solar Max of 1958.`

`Dikpati's forecast puts Solar Max at 2012. Hathaway believes it will arrive sooner, in 2010 or 2011.`

Anyone familiar with the Mayan Calendar? December 21, 2012 ( in the Mayan Calendar) Coincidence?"
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NASA Confirms Solar Storm Near 2012

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  • Umm, old news? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zarhan ( 415465 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:11AM (#18427583)
    The article is dated March 10, 2006.
  • Sweet! (Score:5, Informative)

    by DoctorPepper ( 92269 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:22AM (#18427721)
    Looks like I need to really get to work on my Elecraft K1. With a solar maximum like they're predicting, QRP is going to be awesome!
  • Re:Coincidence (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bacon Bits ( 926911 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:35AM (#18427851)
    The Gregorian calendar has leap years as follows:
    Every year divisible by 4 is a leap year.
    Except when that year is also divisible by 100, in which case it is *not* a leap year.
    Except when that year is also divisible by 400, in which case it *is* a leap year.

    Hence 2000 was a leap year. 2100 will not be.

    The fun hokeyness is due to the Western assumption that everything is linear, in spite of the fact that we repeat months, days of months, and days of weeks constantly. We don't find it odd that there are thousands of Wednesdays or March 21sts, but somehow we can't understand there ever being more than one 2007.
  • by bc90021 ( 43730 ) * <> on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @09:53AM (#18428073) Homepage
    Bringing up the Mayan Calendar, and the sun's various cycles, is a book called "Apocalypse 2012 []". (Not an affiliate link.) It's not as dire as the title might sound, though the author (Lawrence E. Joseph) does explore some of the various issues with that date. One concept he examines is that as the solar system moves around the galactic center, the earth has been shielded from various radiations it will no longer be shielded from after that date.
  • Date Correction (Score:2, Informative)

    by tenma4 ( 1078379 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @10:03AM (#18428219)
    I believe the actual date from the Mayan calendar is Sunday, December 23rd, 2012. A friend and I have had a wager riding on this one for 11 years...
  • Re:Oh nooo!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @11:07AM (#18429085)

    Anyone familiar with the Mayan Calendar? December 21, 2012 ( in the Mayan Calendar) Coincidence?"
    Yes, coincidence. Unless you're some idiot who gets his science via Art Bell and his pseudo-science guests and you also believe in grays and "mel's hole".

    Seriously.. wtf?! Why would anyone even include that comment in a scientific submission?
  • hence (Score:2, Informative)

    by cyclomedia ( 882859 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @11:48AM (#18429599) Homepage Journal
    instead of bashing on about global warming we need to bash on about

    1. asthma

    2. the fact that every sandstone building in an urban location is black from years of exhaust fumes, or are lungs immune from the same effect?

    3. recycling is the natural norm of things, hence decomposition, bugs, worms and mould whilst use-once trow away for ever is clearly not.

    4. smog

    5. landfills look ugly and smell bad

    6. motorways/freeways and their junctions take up vast acres of land compared to a railway system of the same capacity. look ugly and create a lot of noise

    7. if you live within walking/cycling distance of your job imagine the time and money you'd save on commuting...

    8. ...and you'd get fitter...

    9. ...and therefore be happier

    10. look up, you can't see the stars because of all the light pollution, stars are pretty, light pollution is yellow and ugly.

    11. power stations are big andspew out big clouds of smoke/steam which sure doesnt look pretty

    12. if you grow your own vegetables then you don't have to give your money to walmart just for the privelidge of eating...

    13. ...and you know for a fact what pestisides and fertilizers were used to grow them...

    14. ...and you get yet more exersise whilst gardening

    I just reeled that all off the top of my head and some of it is no doubt apocryphal, but it just demonstrates that there are a whole host of reasons for going green apart from the endless arguments about global warming.
  • Remember Galaxy 4? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pontiac ( 135778 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @12:01PM (#18429767) Homepage
    Funny how people forget..

    When Galaxy 4 died it took out 80% of the pagers in the US plus several video feeds used by the major networks (I worked for CBS at the time)

    This was 2 years before the 2000 Solar max when solar activity was ramping up.
    More storms in 2003 took out power in parts of Switzerland and killed 2 Satellites

    There were several solar flare warnings around that time. m.htm []

    July 14, 2000 -- This morning NOAA satellites and the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded one of the most powerful solar flares of the current solar cycle. Space weather forecasters had been predicting for days that an intense flare might erupt from the large sunspot group 9077, and today one did. _031031.html []

    The sixth in an unprecedented series of strong space storms dished out by the Sun over a 10-day period plowed past Earth Thursday, apparently cutting power to 20,000 Swedish customers. The powerful series of outbursts also claimed two satellites as casualties while fueling a host of minor disruptions to radio broadcasts and airline flight plans. []

    A very intense flux of electrons, evident in the magnetosphere earlier this year, may have caused a satellite failure (or at least exacerbated the situation) leading to the loss of telephone pager service to 45 million customers, research has shown. The electrons, known as highly relativistic electrons (HREs), were especially numerous in the weeks preceding the failure. Researchers say HREs have triggered spacecraft anomalies in the past when fluxes are elevated. They therefore believe this energetic electron event could have been behind the failure of the attitude control system of the Galaxy 4 spacecraft at 2200 UT on May 19, 1998. A backup system also failed, either at the same time or earlier, so operators were unable to maintain a stable Earth link.

    Galaxy 4 is a heavily used communication satellite at geostationary orbit*. Its sudden failure caused not only widespread loss of pager service but also numerous other communication outages. Using a wide array of datasets, our team of scientists analyzed the space environment for the times in question and found evidence of highly disturbed solar, solar wind*, and geomagnetic conditions in late April and early May. The combination of coronal mass ejections*, solar flares*, and high speed solar wind streams led to a powerful sequence of interplanetary disturbances that hit the Earth. These disturbances produced a deep, powerful, and long-lasting enhancement of the HRE population throughout the outer Van Allen radiation zone. The kinds of disturbances witnessed are indicative of the types of events that may commonly occur during the approaching peak in solar activity in the years 2000 and 2001. It will be most important to determine how well space systems can stand up to the multifaceted effects of the space environment over the next several years. cell_phone_020306.html []

    Next time your cell phone drops acall, don't rush to blame your service provider. The culprit may well be anangry Sun.

    A new study of 40 years of solardata shows that during peaks in activity, bursts of energy from the Sun canpotentially cause dropped calls for some cell phone users across wide areastwice per week. The problem is caused when radio waves associated with thebursts hit cell phone towers, creating static that overwhelms the signal at thetower, where calls are relayed.

  • Re:Oh nooo!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Elfan ( 677935 ) <elfan@db-[ ] ['for' in gap]> on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @02:19PM (#18432105)
    Yes solar variation can affect earth's climate. However, solar variation since 1750 is a much smaller forcing than Greenhouse gasses. See the IPCC TAR section 6.13 [].

    I don't know why this off topic speculation was modded at +5.
  • Metanotice (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @02:59PM (#18432745)
    Before modding this guy up you might want to see his previous templated posts and refutations: 81692 [] 90093 [] 30822 [] 42262 []

    I wonder how much he's getting paid to do this...or if he's really as demented as his posts seem to imply.
  • The real joke (Score:3, Informative)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @02:59PM (#18432753)
    > Um, I think you mean "George W. Bush's impact".

    What makes this joke especially funny is that, despite the fervent belief of most of the crazy elements on the left, George W, Bush CAN'T sign the Kyoto Treaty even if he wanted to. So their carping for him to sign only reveals their ignorance.

    Huh? What can I possibly mean? Am I trolling? Nope. Shrubbie can't sign Kyoto because there is already a signature on it for the US. President William Jefferson Blythe Clinton has already signed the Kyoto Treaty. Knowing it wouldn't have a chance in the Senate of being ratified he simply tossed it in a desk drawer after the ceremony to avoid the humiliation of seeing it voted down. You see, the Senate had already passed a non-binding resolution condemning Kyoto by a 90+ overwhelming vote.
  • Re:Oh nooo!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <theaetetus DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @03:17PM (#18433037) Homepage Journal

    3.) Mars is experiencing the same climate change that Earth is. (source: [] [] mars_snow_011206-1.html and [] s/news.html?in_article_id=410901&in_page_id=1770 []) How can you explain the recent same climate changes on different planets? I doubt it's all those cars being driven there.

    Debunked [] almost two years ago. Sheesh.
  • Re:Oh nooo!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by burndive ( 855848 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @04:03PM (#18433725) Homepage
    Yes, I see that tongue bulging out your cheek.

    None of those claims are actually in the Bible, except for the woman part of #3, which has NOT been disproven. If you think science has disproven it, then you don't understand the nature of science.
  • Re:Oh nooo!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by jlehtira ( 655619 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @06:15PM (#18435673) Journal
    So much wrong there that I don't know where to start.

    1) The magnetic field proposal is actually interesting. That might actually have an effect. But, a magnetic field does not stop light from passing, and that's how the vast majority of energy comes to Earth. Actual particles are affected by the magnetic field though. They get moved from their original trajectories to polar areas, causing northern lights there. As far as I know, this phenomenon is not strong enough to significantly warm up the polar regions, but hey, there might be an effect.

    2) "The storm is growing in altitude," de Pater said. "This growth signals a temperature increase in that region", she said.

    Right. Storms form better when there's more heat available, that's what we know from our Caribbean hurricanes too. But deducing *global* warming on Jupiter from the fact that there's a new storm forming, is very bad science and very uncertain indeed. Regional warming tells us nothing about global warming.

    3) "It is not yet clear, though, if the evidence of a single year's change represents a trend."

    Let me tell you what, no it doesn't. Not here on Earth, and not any more on Mars. Also, this article too is taking one isolated spot and saying it reflects a global change. Think of El Ni&#241;o on Earth: that too makes some places warmer and some other places cooler than otherwise when it happens.

    There are no recent same climate changes on different planets. There's no CO2 ice cap melting on Earth or Jupiter, there's no huge permanent storm system forming on Earth or Mars and there's no excess CO2 or CFC being pumped into atmosphere on Mars or Jupiter.

    4) "the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent - 18 percent - than transport."

    Transport too is only one single cause for our emissions. Besides, nobody really claimed that it would be the cars themselves that are the biggest culprit. And, CO2 is currently far more significant than methane, even when we've more than doubled the atmospheric methane too. So right you are, it's not only cars and not even only CO2 that we should cut down.

    It is possible that the warmer temperatures on Earth are caused by cyclical natural phenomena. That said, we do not know of a cycle that would come near to explaining recent warming. And, because we know a method by which CO2 traps heat, we can be fairly certain that on top of any natural phenomena we have added an unnatural phenomenon. And according to our best science, that unnatural phenomenon is "very probably" what is causing the warming here.

    CO2 is not the only thing that affects climate. And our climate is a chaotic system too: it is fundamentally capable of huge changes without apparent reason.

    And one last thing. China is only producing less than two thirds as much CO2 as USA, despite their far bigger population. And while they certainly have the capacity to produce more CO2, it's actually up to human beings. My guess is that China will never actually match USA in the total amount of CO2 ever produced - it'll take a long while to catch up to the current emissions, and then a whole lot more to match the USA's excess this far. Every reduction counts, and everybody cutting emissions and being bound by the same limits is the only moral way. China did agree to the Kyoto protocol, and I think that means they've agreed to limit emissions when they come close to the western pollution some coming decade or century.

    I don't want to get rich, I want to be happy. And I recommend such priorities for everyone else too.

    For references: (IPCC summary) and wikipedia for "energy conservation" and "kyoto protocol"..
  • Bullshit alert. (Score:5, Informative)

    by SETIGuy ( 33768 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @06:47PM (#18436085) Homepage

    1.) Apparently, the Earth magnetic field has decreased by 10% in the last 150 years (source: [] ic_031212.html). I'm an electrical engineer and during my studies in particle physics, I learned that a particles velocity can be affected by magnetic fields. I believe it's possible that more of the Sun's radiation is penetrating the Earth's magnetosphere ('s_magnetic_fiel [] d ) due to it being weaker. If more radiation hits the Earth, shouldn't that also increase the overall temperature of the Earth and can global warming be attributed to this?

    No. The total energy of charged particles impacting the upper atmosphere is tiny compared with the solar light energy Compare for example, the intensity of the aurora with the intensity of sunlight. Now add in the fact that the aurora covers a tiny fraction of the earths surface while sunlight blankets half of the earth at any time.

    Even if it were a significant amount of energy, this energy is entirely absorbed by the atmosphere at altitudes above 60km. You would need to come up with a plausible mechanism for transporting this radiation down into the lower atmosphere without increasing the temperature of the stratosphere.

    2.) Jupitor is experiencing the same climate change that Earth is.

    No, it isn't. The change on Jupiter is regional, not global. There is no indication that it is related to any solar phenomenon.

    3.) Mars is experiencing the same climate change that Earth is.
    No, it isn't. Mars is losing CO2 ice near its South Pole. The most likely explanation is that large dust storms from recent years dumped some dust on the ice causing it to absorb sunlight and sublime. This sublimation may cause warming by increasing the CO2 and H2O content of the Martian atmosphere. This might feedback into causing more ice to evaporate. Since there isn't an active carbonate silicate cycle on Mars due to lack of liquid water, there is nothing to prevent this from occurring. So it's likely that the Martian climate experiences warming of this type in a cyclical manner, and that the warming will continue until something else stops it. For example the reduction in the temperature difference between the poles and the equatorial regions might slow the winds enough that the dust storms stop allowing increased precipitaion of CO2 onto the poles. There is no equivalent mechanism at work on Earth.

    4.) The United Nations found that there is more Methane produced from livestock, which raises global temperature greater than CO2 by a factor of approx. 20
    However the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is more than 20 times longer than the residence time of methane.

    [5.) What about the ice ages. We didn't cause them!]
    But wait officer, there were forest fires before there were people. Therefore it couldn't have been my campfire that started it.

    But wait officer, people can die without being murdered. Therefore it doesn't matter whether my fingerprints are on the gun.

    [A pile of other pointless crap designed to confuse the issues deleted.]
    Point 1 you could have gotten wrong just because you don't know anything about atmospheric science. The rest just puts you in the denial camp. Drop the political agenda for a while and see reality.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers