As we monitor natural activities that could affect us all globally, solar activity is at the top of the list. Recent solar activity and a news release by NASA last week are prompting us now to issue a watch advisory.
The Sun is about to flip! This news comes by way of a NASA press release about the impending solar polar shift, wherein the Sun will flip its magnetic poles in the culmination of its roughly 11-year solar cycle. The event of the polar flip will serve as the much-hyped solar maximum.
Speaking on the upcoming magnetic flip, Todd Hoeksema, the director of Stanford University’s Wilcox Solar Observatory, said that “it looks like we’re no more than three to four months away from a complete field reversal . . . this change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system.”
Based on our observations, this may be happening sooner rather than later in that time estimate. The “internal pole” has already deviated by 30 degrees, and surface changes are becoming more frequent and intense. Today there was a massive CME on the far side of the sun from old sunspot 1809. If this eruption would have occurred when earth facing, we would be subject to a massive geo-magnetic storm that would certain caused major problems with the global power grid and would have definitely fried a lot of satellites. Here are some photos from this August 19th eruption to give you an idea of the scale of the events we could face.
Right now, the Sun is headed for solar maximum, the peak in activity in its 11-year cycle. Because blasts of energy from the Sun are sure to become more powerful and frequent in the future, the chances for Earthly impacts of solar storms increases dramatically. When the highly-charged particles of the solar wind hit our upper atmosphere, they interact with Earth’s magnetic field, causing disruptions in electronic communications and power grids. One job for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is to keep an eye on solar weather which, NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco warns, could have dire effects for us on Earth.
When the Sun was at its last peak period in the early 2000s, we were nowhere near as reliant on satellites as we are today. Think back to 2001, far fewer people had a cell phone in their pocket, a GPS unit in their car, and satellite TV in their house. Now, while losing anyone of these conveniences (imagine having to actually read a map!) would be a minor irritation, the fact that solar storms can damage power grids can have massive implications. In March 1989 (during the Sun’s maximum 2 cycles ago) a massive solar storm knocked out power over a large section of Canada. The frightening fact, in the larger scheme of things, that storm wasn’t that big, certainly not the perfect solar super storm. Worst case scenario: if transformers and capacitors were really fried, power could be out for months, essentially transporting us back to the pre-industrial age.
There are those who are suggesting that this solar flip may occur much more rapidly and therefore much more violently than previous events. Given this recent activity and the increasing behavior of activity we think it is prudent to issue to watch advisory. It could happen tomorrow and we would have about 48 hours to react. Simply do the following checklist and make sure you are as ready for such event as you can be.
Consider your needs for the number of residents in your home
Do you have a source emergency power and heat? For how long?
Do you have food, medicine, water, an ability to deal with sanitation? For how long?
Will you need alternative shelter for the residents?
What are your anticipated transportation and child care needs?
Do you have the ability to communicate with family and emergency services without power?
Now would be a good time to review these things. Pay attention to this activity daily. You can follow here: Solarham