The US Weather Service has issued a warning regarding a quart magnetic storm that will take place on Saturday (2/12). The agency said the storm would have an impact on communications and electricity systems in the northern hemisphere due to the large number of solar flares found on the sun.
In a statement released on its website, the agency said G3, or strong geomagnetic storm conditions, were observed to appear from 09.00 to 12.00 UT on Friday (1/12).
Geomagnetic storms, the agency said, are “major disturbances of the Earth’s magnetic field, and often appear in different intensities within hours.”
The agency also said that the increase in geomagnetic activity that occurred was mainly caused by coronal mass injection (CME) from the sun accompanied by moderate solar flares that were observed on Tuesday (28/11). This coronal mass injection joined a number of other smaller CMEs that had already moved towards Earth.
CMEs are powerful eruptions on the surface of the sun that cause the release of tons of superheated gas and radiation into space.
A number of CMEs usually move towards Earth. Although harmful radiation from flares cannot penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere and have a direct impact on humans, if the solar flares are strong enough, they can disrupt the layer in the atmosphere where GPS and a number of other communication system signals travel.
The agency said it had warned a number of operators, such as electricity companies, to take precautionary steps to mitigate a number of possible outcomes.
The most pronounced impact of geomagnetic storms is the appearance of the aurora borealis, which is also known as the northern lights phenomenon.
The Washington Post said that on Friday (1/12) a number of aurora sightings were seen in a number of areas such as southwest Arizona in the US.
Other reports said the aurora also appeared in Australia with a number of posts on social media showing this phenomenon. (rs)