Historic space weather could clarify what's next

space weather
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Historic space weather may help us understand what's coming next, according to new research by the University of Warwick.

Professor Sandra Chapman, from Warwick's Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics, led a project which charted the space weather in previous solar cycles across the last half century, and discovered an underlying repeatable pattern in how space weather activity changes with the solar cycle.

The sun goes through solar cycles around every eleven years, during which time the number of sunspots increases to the maximum point (the 'solar maximum'). More solar activity means more solar flares, which in turn can mean more extreme space weather at earth.

This breakthrough will allow better understanding and planning for space weather, and for any future threats it may pose to the Earth.

Space weather can disrupt electronics, aviation and satellite systems and communications –this depends on solar activity, but as this is different for each solar cycle, the overall likelihood of can be difficult to forecast.

This exciting research shows that space weather and the activity of the sun are not entirely random – and may constrain how likely large weather events are in future cycles.

Sandra Chapman, Professor from the University of Warwick's Department of Physics and the lead author, commented:

"We analysed the last five solar maxima and found that although the overall likelihood of more extreme events varied from one solar maximum to another, there is an underlying pattern to their likelihood, which does not change.

"If this pattern persists into the next solar maximum, our research, which constrains how likely large events are, will allow better preparation for potential space weather threats to Earth."

The drivers of space weather, the sun and solar wind, and the response seen at Earth, have now been almost continually monitored by ground and space based observations over the last five solar cycles (more than fifty years).

Each has a different duration and peak activity level, and, as a consequence the climate of Earth's has also been different at each .

The more extreme events are less frequent so that it is harder to build up a statistical picture of how likely they are to occur.

Explore further

Image: Space weather effects

More information: S. C. Chapman et al. Reproducible aspects of the climate of space weather over the last five solar cycles, Space Weather (2018). DOI: 10.1029/2018SW001884
Citation: Historic space weather could clarify what's next (2018, August 13) retrieved 21 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-historic-space-weather.html
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Aug 13, 2018
Largely devoid of details.

Aug 14, 2018
It is very good to see the shift from the anthrocentric to the cosmogenic. I hope the Parker Probe continues to provoke interest and thoughtful discussions about Coronal Holes, Solar Pole shifts, Cosmic Flux, Heliospheric and Magnetospheric interactions, Ionzation and electrostatic influences on planetary dust storms and planetary phenomena, including induction and coupling mechanisms affecting volcanism, lightning, weather cell coupling, core and magmatic inductions, couplings and iron core energy budget influences.

Aug 14, 2018
@Gordon_Jenkins: Anthropological warming theory is BUILT on the assumption that previous warming was caused by solar, orbital, and terrestrial phenomenon -- precisely because they have been accounted for already and only human-caused greenhouse gasses can explain the remaining and extremely rapid changes!

If human-caused CO2 isn't the cause of ocean aicidification and the increased atmospheric CO2, why the fuck does the increase in CO2 exactly match the amount released by burning fuels, down to the god-damned isotropic ratios? If the human-caused releases aren't causing the increased global temperatures, then why the fuck did CO2 suddenly stop causing warming now that it's human caused, and what kind of explanation can your inbred meth-addled brain come up with to explain why there's warming anyway?

God damn you're a fucking dipshit, you and your asshole compatriots. Go to hell, you fucking dumbfuck.

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