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Solar storm's effects to lash Earth through Wednesday

Our planet is being bombarded by high-energy particles unleashed by the strongest solar storm since 2005, scientists say.
The charged particles are mostly a concern for satellites - which they can disrupt - and astronauts.
But they can also cause communication problems for aircraft travelling near the poles.
The geomagnetic storm has been caused by a potent flare that erupted from the Sun at 0400 GMT on Sunday.

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As Sun Storms Ramp Up, Electric Grid Braces for Impact

Storms are brewing about 150 million kilometres away, and if one of them reaches Earth, it could knock out communications, scramble GPS, and leave thousands without power for weeks to months.
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Scientists reconstruct northern lights collision that lit up Prairie skies

Canadian and U.S. scientists working on a $200-million mission to unravel the mysteries of the northern lights have made a "startling discovery" after 20 cameras positioned throughout Canada and Alaska -- in combination with satellite imagery and radar data -- captured the "spectacular" collision of two waves of aurora borealis that lit up the Prairie sky like never before.
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A group of NASA-assembled researchers described in a chilling report issued earlier this year on the destructive potential of solar storms.
Entitled "Severe Space Weather Events - Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts," it describes the consequences of solar flares unleashing waves of energy that could disrupt Earth's magnetic field, overwhelming high-voltage transformers with vast electrical currents and short-circuiting energy grids. Such a catastrophe would cost the United States "$1 trillion to $2 trillion in the first year," concluded the panel, and "full recovery could take four to 10 years." That would, of course, be just a fraction of global damages. 

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NOAA Space Weather scales
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NOAA Space Weather scales

NOAA Space Weather Scales

Geomagnetic Storms

Solar Radiation Storms

Radio Blackouts

Description

G5

S5

R5

Extreme

G4

S4

R4

Severe

G3

S3

R3

Strong

G2

S2

R2

Moderate

G1

S1

R1

Minor




Geomagnetic storm levels determined by estimated 3-hourly Planetary K-indices that are derived in real time from western hemisphere ground-based magnetometers.

Geomagnetic Storm levels

Planetary K indices

Geomagnetic storm level

K = 5

G1

K = 6

G2

K = 7

G3

K = 8

G4

K= 9

G5




Solar Radiation storms levels
determined by the proton flux measurements made by the primary GOES satellite.

Solar Radiation Storm levels

Flux level of > 10 MeV particles

Solar Radiation Storm level

10

S1

102

S2

103

S3

104

S4

105

S5


Radio Blackouts determined by the x-ray level measured by the primary GOES satellite. 

Radio Blackouts

Peak x-ray level and flux

Radio Blackout level

M1 and (10-5)

R1

M5 and (5 x 10-5)

R2

X1 and (10-4)

R3

X10 and (10-3)

R4

X20 and (2 x 10-3)

R5


Information from Space Environment Centre website


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Daily Geomagnetic Data
Last 30 Days Daily Geomagnetic Data


Middle Latitude High Latitude Estimated
- Fredericksburg - ---- College ---- --- Planetary ---
Date A K-indices A K-indices A K-indices
2008 12 25 2 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 3 0 0 0 1 3 1 1 1 3 0 0 0 1 2 1 1 1
2008 12 26 2 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2008 12 27 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2008 12 28 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
2008 12 29 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2008 12 30 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
2008 12 31 8 3 2 3 2 2 2 1 1 13 1 3 3 5 2 2 1 2 10 3 3 3 3 2 1 2 2
2009 01 01 5 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 12 1 1 4 4 4 2 0 0 6 1 2 3 3 2 1 0 1
2009 01 02 3 0 1 0 0 1 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 2 3 0 1 0 0 1 1 2 2
2009 01 03 8 3 3 2 3 2 1 0 1 15 1 1 2 6 2 3 1 1 9 3 3 2 4 2 2 0 1
2009 01 04 5 2 1 0 2 1 1 1 3 3 1 0 0 2 1 2 1 0 4 2 1 0 1 1 2 1 0
2009 01 05 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 4 0 0 1 3 1 2 0 0 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
2009 01 06 2 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 0 0 3 2 3 0 0 3 2 1 0 1 1 1 0 0
2009 01 07 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1
2009 01 08 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 1 4 0 0 1 2 3 2 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 1
2009 01 09 4 1 1 1 0 2 2 1 1 5 0 0 2 1 4 1 1 0 4 1 1 1 0 2 1 1 1
2009 01 10 2 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 1 1 1 3 0 0 1 0 4 2 1 1 1 0 0 1 1
2009 01 11 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
2009 01 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009 01 13 2 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 3 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1
2009 01 14 6 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 8 1 0 0 4 4 1 0 0 5 2 2 1 2 2 1 0 2
2009 01 15 4 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 5 0 1 1 3 2 0 2 1 4 1 1 2 1 0 1 2 2
2009 01 16 2 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
2009 01 17 2 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 2 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1
2009 01 18 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
2009 01 19 7 4 2 2 0 1 1 1 2 4 2 1 2 2 0 1 0 1 9 4 2 2 0 1 1 2 2
2009 01 20 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
2009 01 21 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 0 2 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1
2009 01 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2009 01 23 -1 -1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 -1 -1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 -1 0 0 0 0 0-1-1-1
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Title: Severe Space Weather Events--Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts
Authors: Committee on the Societal and Economic Impacts of Severe Space Weather Events:A Workshop, National Research Council

The adverse effects of extreme space weather on modern technology--power grid outages, high-frequency communication blackouts, spacecraft anomalies--are well known and well documented, and the physical processes underlying space weather are also generally well understood. Less well documented and understood, however, are the potential economic and societal impacts of the disruption of critical technological systems by severe space weather.
As a first step toward determining the socioeconomic impacts of extreme space weather events and addressing the questions of space weather risk assessment and management, a public workshop was held in May 2008. The workshop brought together representatives of industry, the government, and academia to consider both direct and collateral effects of severe space weather events, the current state of the space weather services infrastructure in the United States, the needs of users of space weather data and services, and the ramifications of future technological developments for contemporary society's vulnerability to space weather. The workshop concluded with a discussion of un- or underexplored topics that would yield the greatest benefits in space weather risk management.

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