International Response to Space Weather Effects Being Organized by UN

The solar maximum  of 2013-2024 has begun, and the United Nations has added space weather to the regular agenda of the COPUOS Science and Technical Sub-committee, to initiate steps to organize an international response to space weather effects, such as orbital debris and close-approaching asteroids.

From now on, space weather will be regular topic of conversation among UN diplomats, scientists and emergency planners.

The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space COPUOS) was established by the General Assembly in 1959 (resolution 1472 (XIV)) “…to review the scope of international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, to devise programs in this field to be undertaken under United Nations auspices, to encourage continued research and the dissemination of information on outer space matters, and to study legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space.” Says the UN.

Space weather is an astronomy term which refers to changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space such as changes in the ambient plasma, magnetic fields, radiation and other matter in space.  The term ‘space weather’ refers to changes in the near Earth and interplanetary space environment driven by energy carried through interplanetary space, and by the solar wind from regions from the Sun’s atmosphere an solar surface. Space weather conditions are generated by solar flares that produce massive coronal mass ejections or CMEs that can affect the near-earth space environment and the physiology and weather patterns of the planet earth.

Solar storms that disrupt the conditions of space weather are capable of producing geomagnetic storms able to destroy small power networks and even large power grids, disable satellites, disrupt GPS and spacecraft signals, as well as interrupt long-distance radio signals, and affect airplanes, trains, and ships navigational systems.

When a CME sweeps past the Earth, waves of ionization ripple through Earth’s upper atmosphere, amazing as it is, this causes electric currents to flow through the topsoil of the planet disrupting power lines and power transformers.  In addition to this, the planet’s magnetic field overloads and begins to shake like a quake, and weakens from the overload of energy charge it carries.  This overload then enters the Earth’s poles, via the electromagnetic field lines that enter the Earth through the North and South poles. This radiation activity causes tremendous disturbance in the Earth’s core, which in turn affect tectonic plates movement, ocean currents, affecting the mechanics of all planet life support below, including triggering volcanic activity, storms, tornadoes and earthquakes, plus disturbance in human nervous system, health and behavior.

These geomagnetic currents, or ground induced current (GIC) produced by space weather flow through the ground to depths up to 20 km or deeper, during moderate and severed geomagnetic storm.

GIC was responsible for the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power network on March 13, 1989, and caused auroras to be seen as far as the south of Texas.  Although many people didn’t realize what caused that power grid collapse, the event began by causing  failure of an overloaded transformer which led to a general blackout in Québec. That blackout lasted over 9 hours affecting 6 million people. These types of events are rarely recognized for what they are.

A solar storm produced by a CME does not arrive on Earth until 2 to 3 and some times up to days after the solar flare event, although there has been rare cases when the interplanetary space medium has been so overloaded that before it is relieved from all charges, if another moderate to strong solar flare is emitted by the sun, that CME produced can arrive on earth even a day earlier. Studies showed that the geomagnetic storm of 1989 was the result of a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), ejected from the Sun four days earlier and caused the blackout event in Québec.

GICs can and does enter power grids, pipelines, transformers, and other electric networks through grounding wires.

Other results from these magnetic storms are aurorae activity in regions on earth where the aurora are not normally displayed.

Besides damage to transformers, ground induced currents can cause an increase of corrosion in critical energy and pipeline systems.

Solar Storm Mitigation-508_0
Read this article on Permanent damage to the Salem New Jersey Nuclear Plant GSU
Transformer caused by the severe geomagnetic storm of March 13,
1989 (Credit: PSE&G).

Major space weather events can move polar ionosphere to 10° to 30° of latitude toward changes in ionospheric density over distance of 100′s of km, at mid and low latitudes.

In addition can cause radiation damage and spacecraft systems failure due to over charging.

In January 20, 1994, a geomagnetic storm temporarily disabled two Canadian communication satellites, the Aniks E1 and E2 and the international communication satellite Intelsat K.

On January 7, 1997, a CME  impact with the Earth’s magnetosphere caused the loss of the AT&T Telstar 401 communication satellite.

In April 21, 2002, the Nozomi Mars Probe was hit a bundle of solar energetic particles, photon, event which caused major transmission failure in the craft, causing such a delay for that mission that it was finally abandoned, in December 2003.

“Space weather is a significant natural hazard that requires global preparedness. This new agenda item links space science and space technology for the benefit of all humankind.”  Says Prof. Hans Haubold of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs.

We recommend that you read the full article on this subject at The Watchers website, a website I highly recommend for reliable information on topics related to the Sun and Earth.

CREDIT:  This information obtained from the article, Steps to Organize an International Response to Space Weather Effects published by posted by Chillymanjaro on in category Space weather at The Watchers .





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