The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center today issued a geomagnetic storm bulletin for the next 12 hours.
Such storms can cause problems with Global Positioning Systems and power grids.
NOAA stated: "Great anticipation for the first of what may be three convergent shocks to slam the geomagnetic field in the next twelve hours, +/-. The CME with the Radio Blackout earlier today is by far the fastest, and may catch its forerunners in the early hours of August 5 (UTC) -- at earth. Two impacts are expected; G2 (Moderate) to G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storming on August 5, and potentially elevated protons to the S2 (Moderate) Solar Radiation Storm condition, those piling up ahead of the shock. The source of it all, Region 1261, is still hot, so more eruptions are possible. New Solar Cycle 24 is in its early phase now, and this level activity is typical for this time interval. Expect increased space weather activity over the next few years as the Sun erupts more frequently. "
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There have been a couple solar blasts this year that have garnered lots of attention. One on Valentine's Day raised a lot of concern but didn't amount to much.
A NASA-funded study in 2009 showed some of the risk extreme weather conditions in space have on the Earth. The study, conducted by the National Academy of Sciences notes that besides emitting a continuous stream of plasma called the solar wind, the sun periodically releases billions of tons of matter called coronal mass ejections. These immense clouds of material, when directed toward Earth, can cause large magnetic storms in the magnetosphere and upper atmosphere, NASA said. Such space weather can impact the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems, NASA said.
This year space weather scientist Bruce Tsurutani at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a paper written on Sunspots stated: "Geomagnetic effects basically amount to any magnetic changes on Earth due to the Sun, and they're measured by magnetometer readings on the surface of the Earth. Such effects are usually harmless, with the only obvious sign of their presence being the appearance of auroras near the poles. However, in extreme cases, they can cause power grid failures on Earth or induce dangerous currents in long pipelines, so it is valuable to know how the geomagnetic effects vary with the Sun."
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