The Sun’s 2012 Solar Cycle Will Not Destroy Earth’s Atmosphere May 24, 2009Posted by hkinsights in 2012.
Tags: 2012, Coronal Mass Ejections, Earth's Atmosphere, NASA, Solar Cycle, Solar Flares, Solar Wind, Space Storms
In light of recent movies similar to “Knowing” which depict prophesized solar based catastrophic end time scenarios and in remembrance of past research studies pertaining to potentially high impact solar activity with the capability of disintegrating the Earth’s atmosphere, it is interesting to know that recent DNA evidence reveals that modern humans have been around for approximately 200,000 years. Given this, if the atmosphere had been completely destroyed along with the ozone layer within the last 200,000 years, the Sun’s deadly ultraviolet radiation would have destroyed the DNA of every living creature and life would not exist in the same context that it does today.
Every 26,000 years there is a Galactic Center alignment, which is implied or said to be presently accountable for the possible increase of the new upcoming Sun’s 2012 solar cycle intensity. Due to intense upcoming space storms, while there is a probable possibility of a few costly upsets in the power grid and in telecommunications, in general the outcome will not be severe followed by complete darkness with several years of rebuilding telecommunications and the overall power grid. The following pertains to the Sun’s upcoming 2012 solar cycle and its possible impact.
The Sun is a magnetically active star. It supports a strong, changing magnetic field that varies year-to-year and reverses direction about every eleven years around solar maximum, which is also known as the solar cycle. The Sun’s magnetic field gives rise to many effects that are collectively called solar activity, including sunspots on the surface of the Sun, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and variations in solar wind that carry material through the Solar System. Effects of solar activity on Earth include auroras at moderate to high latitudes, and the disruption of radio communications and electric power. Solar activity is thought to have played a large role in the formation and evolution of the Solar System. Solar activity changes the structure of Earth’s outer atmosphere. The following is an article excerpt of the method used to predict the strength of the upcoming solar cycle.
The sun goes through a roughly 11-year cycle of activity, from stormy to quiet and back again. Predicting the sun’s cycles accurately years in advance will help societies plan for active bouts of solar storms, which can disrupt satellite orbits and electronics, interfere with radio communication, and damage power systems. The forecast is important for NASA’s long-term Vision for Space Exploration plans, since solar storms can be hazardous to unprotected astronauts as well.
Solar storms begin with tangled magnetic fields generated by the sun’s churning electrically charged gas (plasma). Like a rubber band that has been twisted too far, solar magnetic fields can suddenly snap to a new shape, releasing tremendous energy as a solar flare or a coronal mass ejection (CME).
Solar flares are explosions in the sun’s atmosphere, with the largest equal to billions of one-megaton nuclear bombs. Solar magnetic energy can also blast billions of tons of plasma into space at millions of miles (kilometers) per hour as a CME. This violent solar activity often occurs near sunspots, dark regions on the sun caused by concentrated magnetic fields. Sunspots and stormy solar weather follow the eleven-year cycle, from few sunspots and calm to many sunspots and active, and back again.
The next solar activity cycle will be 30 to 50 percent stronger than the previous one, and up to a year late in arriving, according to a breakthrough forecast by Dr. Mausumi Dikpati and colleagues at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo. The scientists made the first “solar climate” forecast using a combination of groundbreaking observations of the solar interior from space and computer simulation. NASA’s Living With a Star program and the National Science Foundation funded the research.
The key to predicting the solar activity cycle is an understanding of the flows of plasma in the sun’s interior. Magnetic fields are “frozen” into the solar plasma, so plasma currents within the sun transport, concentrate, and help dissipate solar magnetic fields. “We understood these flows in a general way, but the details were unclear, so we could not use them to make predictions before,” said Dikpati, who published a paper on this research in the on-line version of Geophysical Review Letters March 3.
The new technique of “helioseismology” revealed these details by allowing researchers to see inside the sun. Helioseismology traces sound waves reverberating inside the sun to build up a picture of the interior, similar to the way an ultrasound scan is used to create a picture of an unborn baby. – End of Article Excerpt
In March 1989, a solar storm much less intense than the perfect space storm of 1859 caused the Hydro-Quebec (Canada) power grid to go down for over nine hours, and the resulting damages and loss in revenue were estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. After 1989, Hydro-Quebec spent $1.2 billion on capacitors to prevent potential space weather disruptions… One recent estimate suggested that the use of good forecasts by the power industry could save the U.S. $365 million per year, average over the solar cycle.
Space weather can affect transportation, traffic signals, and the availability of fresh water because the electrical power grid that we rely on to run the motors and water pumps is, itself, subject to failure during severe solar storm events. Also, currently, there are 936 operating satellites in space with a replacement cost of $200+ billion. The telecommunications industry relies on them to generate $250+ billion in profits each year. Virtually every class of operating satellite has demonstrated a vulnerability to space weather storms. Most are minor, but many involve consequences leading to satellite damage or failure. The following excerpt is from Space Weather, which provides a detailed overview of Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GICs) that are generated through space weather disturbances. These GICs are the main culprit behind power failures during intense solar cycle activity.
Electrical power blackouts cost the US about $80 billion every year in lost services, industrial capacity and Gross Domestic Product. When space weather disturbances cause ‘Geomagnetically Induced Currents’ , these GICs can enter a transformer through its Earth ground connection. The added DC current to the transformer causes the relationship between the AC voltage and current to change at the source of the electricity, not just where it is delivered to your electrical appliance. Because of the way that GIC currents affect the transformer, it only takes a hundred amperes of GIC current or less to cause a transformer to overload during one-half of its 60-cycle operation. As the transformer switches 60 times a second between being saturated and unsaturated, the normal hum of a transformer becomes a raucous, crackling whine. Regions of opposed magnetism as big as your fist in the core steel plates crash about and vibrate the 100-ton transformer nearly as big as a house in a process that physicists call magnetostriction.
The impact that magnetostriction has upon specific transformers is that it generates hot spots inside the transformer where temperatures can increase very rapidly to hundreds of degrees in only a few minutes. Temperature spikes like these can persist for the duration of the magnetic storm which, itself, can last for hours at a time. During the March 1989 storm, a transformer at a nuclear plant in New Jersey was damaged beyond repair as its insulation gave way after years of cumulative GIC damage. Allegheny Power happened to be monitoring a transformer that they knew to be flaky. When the next geomagnetic storm hit in 1992. They saw the transformer reply in minutes, and send temperatures in part of its tank to more than 340 F (171 C). Other transformers have spiked fevers as high as 750 F (400 C). Insulation damage is a cumulative process over the course of many GICs, and it is easy to see how cumulative solar storm and geomagnetic effects were overlooked in the past.
Outright transformer failures are much more frequent in geographic regions where GICs are common. The Northeastern US with the highest rate of detected geomagnetic activity led the pack with 60% more failures. Not only that, but the average working lifetimes of transformers is also shorter in regions with greater geomagnetic storm activity. The rise and fall of these transformer failures even follows a solar activity pattern of roughly 11 years.
A conservative estimate of the damage done by GICs to transformers by Minnesota Power and Electric was $100 million during a solar-maximum period. This includes the replacement of damaged transformers, and the impact of shortened operating lifetimes due to GIC activity.
Large transformers cost $10 million, and can require a year or more to replace if spares are not available. During a transformer failure, an affected utility company will have to purchase replacement power from other utilities for as much as $400,000 per day or more. Oak Ridge National Laboratories, meanwhile, estimated that a solar storm event only slightly stronger than the one that caused the Quebec blackout in 1989 would have involved the Northeast United States in a cascading blackout. The experts figured that about $6 billion in damages and lost wages would have resulted from such a widespread involvement. The North American Electric Reliability Council (NAERC) placed the March 1989 and October 1991 storm events in a category equivalent to Hurricane Hugo or the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake in San Francisco. But, many consultants for the power industry dispute NAERC’s estimate saying that it is much too low. The $6 billion may not properly include collateral impacts such as lost wages and productivity, spoiled food and a myriad of other human costs that could easily run the losses into the tens of billions of dollars.” – End of Excerpt
Solar flares while intense contain multiple variations of energy intensity within the fully expressed solar flare or coronal mass ejection discharge. The sun itself can hold 332,900 times Earth’s mass and during the maximum in the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle, the quantity of solar material release is phenomenal and typically envelopes a fair portion of the Earth. However, due to the Earth’s electromagnetic field and atmosphere, the inbound solar waves are shifted away from full direct impact. Thus, not all satellites could be rendered inoperable, as solar energy is spread out across the electromagnetic field.
When space weather disturbances cause ‘Geomagnetically Induced Currents’, through its Earth ground connection, these GICs can enter and disable a power transformer. Thus, due to the nature of GICs, during any 11-year solar cycle maximum, power and telecommunication disruptions will appear in random locations throughout the globe. However, these solar weather based GICs will never simultaneously disrupt the entire world’s power based resources.
For Further Reading:
Scientists Gaze Inside Sun, Predict Strength of the Next Solar Cycle
Scientists Gaze Inside Sun, Predict Next Solar Cycle
Gamma-Ray Wipe-Out by Naomi Miles