Geomagnetic Storm WATCH Upgraded to Warning

Yesterday, the National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) upgraded the Geomagnetic Storm Watch then in effect to a Geomagnetic Storm Warning after detecting the early arrival of a strong solar wind.

Coronal Loops are one feature in the solar corona scientists hope to learn more about during the upcoming solar eclipse. Image: NASA/TRACE

The SWPC said minor to moderate geomagnetic storm levels were being observed which indicated the early arrival of an anticipated coronal mass ejection that left the Sun on Sunday, April 22. The enhancement in solar wind parameters were first observed by the DSCOVR spacecraft.

The GOES Solar Ultraviolet imager shows a large Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) exploding off the Sun. Image: NOAA

The strong solar wind was expected to cause auroral enhancements that might be visible at night in higher latitudes under favorable sky conditions. Due to the strength of this disturbance , aurora could be visible as far south as Idaho and New York.

While this storm is considered a moderate “G2” level storm, limited impacts are expected. These include voltage alarms for high-latitude power systems and possible disruptions to radio communications.  There also could be transformer damage should this event last long.

Ground control teams for spacecraft above Earth may also need to move or orient their equipment in space in a way to reduce the threat of damage.

It all starts with a solar flare on the surface of the sun. According to NASA, solar flares are a sudden explosion of energy as a result of crossing or reorganizing magnetic field lines near sunspots. Solar activity, like flares, are not uncommon, but some periods of time are far more active than others. The intensity and size of each flare also varies.

When monitoring solar activity, scientists watch for a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) which is a giant bubble of radiation exploding into space at a fast speed. CMEs sometime happen with a solar flare when the sun’s magnetic fields reorganize.

See more:

Earth under Geomagnetic Storm Watch on Sunday

8 thoughts on “Geomagnetic Storm WATCH Upgraded to Warning”

  1. I had unusually vivid dreams on Sunday night to Monday morning, but awoke well refreshed. Since the WFLA article specified the solar storm would be mid to early Sunday, if there’s any connection between the quality of the sleep and the solar storm it would be that the body was reacting to the increased radiation.

    • How odd. I fell asleep in the daytime, pacific time, and awoke w horrible, long, complicated nightmares– unprecedented. Is there really a connection? Does the brain respond to such a thing?

  2. THE BIG STORM DIDN’T HAPPEN: As predicted, a CME hit Earth’s magnetic field over the weekend (April 24th @ 2307 UT). It underwhelmed. The weak impact sparked a brief G1-class geomagnetic storm, stopping short of the stronger G2-class storm in the forecast.

  3. nasa really wants cycle 25 to pick up
    in reality so far its been slow and most sunspots minor and not active
    only last few weeks its even managed some flares nothing over a low C Class
    the ptb really NEED an active sun to warm us up
    cos their global warming items are looking pretty stupid as its NOT warming because co2 does NOT “do it”

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