Two CMEs heading toward Earth, severe geomagnetic storms expected

Two CMEs heading toward Earth, severe geomagnetic storms expected

There are currently two Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) heading toward our planet and their combined arrival is expected to spark severe geomagnetic storms.

The first one, released by the long duration M4.5 solar flare on September 9, is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field early on Friday, September 12, bringing quiet to major storm (G2 - Moderate) conditions at mid-latitudes, with isolated severe storm conditions at high latitudes.

CME from yesterday's full halo X-class solar flare is closely following and is expected to arrive later in the day pushing conditions to the severe storm level (G3 - Strong) by the beginning of Saturday, September 13.

Storming is expected to continue into September 14th although not that strong. Keep in mind that all times are in Coordinated Universal Time - UTC, also known as GMT and Zulu Time.

WSA-Enlil solar wind prediction. September 11, 2014. See the latest model run here.

Potential impacts

Area of impact primarily poleward of 50 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude. 

Induced Currents - Power system voltage irregularities possible, false alarms may be triggered on some protection devices.
Spacecraft - Systems may experience surface charging; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites and orientation problems may occur.
Navigation - Intermittent satellite navigation (GPS) problems, including loss-of-lock and increased range error may occur.
Radio - HF (high frequency) radio may be intermittent.

Biological affects

It is rarely mentioned that some studies suggest geomagnetic storming can also have human biological effects. Just in case you are not familiar with that here is an excerpt from our article published on July 14, 2012:

"According to a study published in the New Scientist back in 1998, there is a direct connection between the Sun's solar storms and human biological effects.

The conduit which facilitates the charged particles from the Sun to human disturbance is the very same conduit which steers Earth's weather - the magnetic field. Animals and humans have a magnetic field which surrounds them in the very same way the magnetic field surrounds the Earth as a protector.

Psychological effects of CMEs are typically short lived and include headache, palpitations, mood swings, and feeling generally unwell. Chaotic or confused thinking, and erratic behaviors also increase. 

Solar storms can drive our emotions and maximize it to both good and bad side - the point here is to be aware of it.

We are physically, mentally, and emotionally altered by electromagnetic charges from the Sun, our body can feel sleepy but also become highly energized."

Earthquake connection

Some scientists and researchers believe solar flares and CMEs can influence Earth's tectonic plates which then respond with a release of this extra energy in the form of stronger earthquakes.

Auroras

Personally, what I like the most is their visual manifestation and I'm looking forward to another set of mesmerizing aurora images, especially those from the ISS like the one below.

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst posted this photograph taken from the International Space Station to social media on August 29, 2014, writing, "words can't describe how it feels flying through an #aurora. I wouldn't even know where to begin…." Image credit: NASA/ESA/Alexander Gerst

Sunspots

Back to analysis...

There are currently 7 numbered sunspot regions on the disk.

Region 2158 (N15W00, Dkc/beta-gamma), the source of two aforementioned CMEs, is in perfect geoeffective position today and still has the potential to release strong eruptions on the Sun. Being so close to the center of the disk CMEs this region could produce would most likely be Earth directed.

This region appeared to display signs of slight decay and spot consolidation in the trailer portion of the sunspot group yesterday. It had a noticeable separation of the penumbral area, separating into two distinct magnetic polarities, thus losing its delta magnetic configuration.

In the last 12 hours it exhibited a fairly pronounced ring of intermediate spots surrounding the main leader spot, indicative of significant mixing and instability, but has since shown signs of decay and reorganization of these spots. 

Region 2157 (S14W11, Ekc/beta-gamma-delta) is also located in perfect geoeffective position today. It showed consolidation in its leader and intermediate spots yesterday but maintained its delta magnetic configuration in last 12 hours. Though it's still fairly inactive this region harbors energy for strong to major eruptions on the Sun. Should it produce CMEs in next couple of days they will most likely be Earth directed.

The remaining spot groups appeared to be stable and predominantly inactive in last 12 hours.

Sunspots on September 11, 2014. Image credit: NASA SDO / HMI

2155 - Beta
2157 - Beta-Gamma-Delta
2158 - Beta-Gamma
2159 - Alpha
2161 - Alpha
2162 - Beta
2163 - Beta

***

Space Weather Message Code: WATA50
Serial Number: 50
Issue Time: 2014 Sep 11 0459 UTC

WATCH: Geomagnetic Storm Category G3 Predicted
Highest Storm Level Predicted by Day:
Sep 12:  G2 (Moderate)   Sep 13:  G3 (Strong)   Sep 14:  G1 (Minor)
THIS SUPERSEDES ANY/ALL PRIOR WATCHES IN EFFECT

Comment: Upgrading the Watch for 13-14 Sep due to anticipated effects from the CME associated with yesterdays R3 (Strong) event.
Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 50 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.
Induced Currents - Power system voltage irregularities possible, false alarms may be triggered on some protection devices.
Spacecraft - Systems may experience surface charging; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites and orientation problems may occur.
Navigation - Intermittent satellite navigation (GPS) problems, including loss-of-lock and increased range error may occur.
Radio - HF (high frequency) radio may be intermittent.
Aurora - Aurora may be seen as low as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon.

***

NOAA SWPC forecasters estimate 85% chance for M-class and 40% chance for X-class solar flares in the next two days.

Featured image credit: NASA/ESA/Alexander Gerst

Comments

Lulu 3 years ago

The potential impact on so many 'things' is fascinating. I am an EQ nerd, so I will also be watching for quake activity.
(The new layout on Watchers is terrific ;) )

TW (@Lulu) 3 years ago

Yeah. And thanks, Nino works wonders!

Stephen Andrew Persaud 3 years ago

Double Trouble

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