Don't believe the hype about the coming solar storm

Lula Sharp
March 14, 2018

"This is just garbage, quite frankly", Robert Rutledge, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), said of the coverage around this solar storm, in an interview. These storms could turn out to be extremely risky because they can disrupt telecommunications, navigation, and electrical power around the Earth.

A picture of a solar flare from 2011 and a CMEWhat is a solar storm? However, they are also well-equipped to predict space weather and events such as geomagnetic storms.

In fact, NOAA admits that a geomagnetic storm will hit the Earth on March 18th but this one will not even reach the G1 magnitude, therefore, it can't affect the satellites, the Global Positioning System equipment, or other communication means, as the Russians informed.

"The storm is impressive by recent standards, but nowhere near the maximum intensities often generated at the height of the solar cycle". As Newsweek further noted, his comments came shortly after most publications who wrote on Monday about the purported storm had apparently misinterpreted a chart from the Lebedev Institute in Russian Federation that suggested the likelihood of increased geomagnetic activity on March 18, but nothing hinting at a major storm. Severe G4 and extreme G5 storms are the really concerning geomagnetic events that could cause major power problems on Earth and on satellites in space.

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NOAA's 27-day forecast suggests similar fluctuations, expected to be "a minor storm at most", according to Newsweek. As per the stats, Earth faces over 2,000 G1 categories' geomagnetic storms in every 11 years i.e. about twice a day. Still, the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado says the famous Northern Lights could be seen across Canada and the northernmost parts of the USA such as ME and MI.

It can disrupt technology such as power grids and communication satellites.

A report from Tech Times that was published shortly after the series of "sensationalist" articles on the potential geomagnetic storm on March 18 detailed what some of these other reports claimed. One storm occurred in 1859, while the latter occurred in 1989, which resulted in a nine-hour blackout in Canada.

On the other hand, a solar storm can create a magical display of the northern and southern lights.

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