Solar Storm Creates Radio Blackouts Through the World

Andrei Tapalaga
The storm is predicted to make contact with the Earth's magnetic sphere on March 31Republica/Pixabay

NASA has been giving out a warning this month about the possibility of Earth being hit by a geomagnetic solar storm that would interrupt the signal of radio and other telecommunication services. It seems that this possibility is now certain as experts predict that Earth’s magnetic sphere is going to get hit by the geothermic storm on March 31st

Although the effects before this solar storm are already being felt in different parts of the world, some are more severe than others. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Solar Radiation Storm Scale indicates the severity of radiation storms. It is denoted by R followed by a number from 1 to 5, with 1 being a minor event, and 5 being an extreme event. The current events that have been reported are R2 on the scale and R3 in some central zones.

(NOAA) explains that “solar radiation storms occur when a large-scale magnetic eruption, often causing a coronal mass ejection and associated solar flare, accelerates charged particles in the solar atmosphere to very high velocities.”

This represents a strong disruption in the radio frequencies. It is to be expected a wide area blackout of HF radio communications on the sunlit side of the Earth. The loss in radio signal at R3 lasts about one to three hours. It is yet unknown how impactful the storm will be on telecommunication services once it will hit Earth’s magnetic sphere on March 31st. 

Experts have mentioned that M and C class flares are quite a rare event, but nothing that hasn’t been faced by humanity before. Right now experts are working towards building a more descriptive report on the sort of damage this storm can have. Astrophysicist C. Alex Young in accordance with astronomy educator Armando Caussade has looked closely at how the event has developed in the past week and they share their thoughts on an urgent blog:

“A G2 (moderate) geomagnetic storm watch is in effect … A coronal mass ejection (CME) erupted on March 28, associated with an M4 flare at 7:29 a.m. EDT (11:29 UTC). Initial analyses and model guidance suggests a portion of the CME will arrive during the late evening of 30 March into the early morning of 31 March (EDT).” (Source: EarthSky)

Another major issue that needs to be taken into consideration is the risk of humans being affected by solar radiation. The sun sends radiation flares towards Earth on a daily basis and our bodies are used to normal doses, but the solar storm caused big flares to burst out of the sun and towards the earth, meaning that the solar radiation dose is a lot higher. 

Those that will be flying during this period are at the risk of higher exposure to these radioactive flares. Africa will be one of the most affected continents during this period, but that does not mean the rest of the world is necessarily safe. Animals and birds could be affected by the high doses of solar radiation. Look out for future posts and news articles updating you on how the storm affects our Earth in the coming days. 

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