Sunday, February 25, 2018

Minor Geomagnetic Storm May Hit Earth on Monday

Credit: NOAA

A G1-class (minor) geomagnetic storm may hit the Earth on Monday, February 26 when a stream of solar wind will reach our planet. The solar wind is escaping from an coronal hole in the sun's atmosphere.

“Isolated G1 (minor) conditions are likely due to anticipated effects from a negative polarity coronal hole,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) informs on its website.

A G1-class geomagnetic storm can trigger auroras visible around Earth's poles and weak power grid fluctuations. Such storm could also have minor impact on satellite operations.

In general, geomagnetic storms can increase the density and distribution of density in the upper atmosphere, causing extra drag on satellites in low-earth orbit. The local heating also creates strong horizontal variations in the in the ionospheric density that can modify the path of radio signals and create errors in the positioning information provided by GPS. While the storms create beautiful aurora, they also can disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and create harmful geomagnetic induced currents in the power grid and pipelines.

NOAA informs that solar activity is expected to be very low until March 17, however minor geomagnetic storms are possible on March 4 and March 14-17. These storming could be triggered by multiple, recurrent coronal hole high speed streams (CH HSSs) that will become geoeffective.

Fast CH HSSs can impact Earth’s magnetosphere enough to cause periods of geomagnetic storming to the G1-G2 levels; although rarer cases of stronger storming may also occur. The larger and more expansive coronal holes can often be a source for high solar wind speeds that buffet Earth for many days.

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