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Solar Storm Triggers NOAA Space Weather Alerts For September 13th, 2014

September 2014 Solar Storm

The Earth is experiencing effects from the CME’s (Coronal Mass Ejections) that took place on September 9th and 10th of this last week. The two solar flares have been hurdling towards Earth for days and are starting to create a solar storm in the atmosphere that is producing a light show for people that like to view the Northern Lights. In addition to creating a visual wonderland, the September Solar Storm has prompted NOAA’s National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center to issue alerts.

The following alerts were released over the last couple of days from NOAA about this specific solar storm and what to expect:


Space Weather Message Code: SUMPX1
Serial Number: 76
Issue Time: 2014 Sep 13 0700 UTC

SUMMARY: Proton Event 10MeV Integral Flux exceeded 10pfu
Begin Time: 2014 Sep 11 0240 UTC
Maximum Time: 2014 Sep 12 1555 UTC
End Time: 2014 Sep 12 2310 UTC
Maximum 10MeV Flux: 126 pfu
NOAA Scale: S2 – Moderate


Space Weather Message Code: WARK07
Serial Number: 44
Issue Time: 2014 Sep 13 0648 UTC

EXTENDED WARNING: Geomagnetic K-index of 7 or greater expected
Extension to Serial Number: 43
Valid From: 2014 Sep 12 2306 UTC
Now Valid Until: 2014 Sep 13 1600 UTC
Warning Condition: Persistence

Comment: Extended warning due to continued potential for geomagnetic storming from the 10 Sep CME.
Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 50 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.
Induced Currents – Power system voltage irregularities possible, false alarms may be triggered on some protection devices.
Spacecraft – Systems may experience surface charging; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites and orientation problems may occur.
Navigation – Intermittent satellite navigation (GPS) problems, including loss-of-lock and increased range error may occur.
Radio – HF (high frequency) radio may be intermittent.
Aurora – Aurora may be seen as low as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon.


Space Weather Message Code: WARK06
Serial Number: 247
Issue Time: 2014 Sep 13 0648 UTC

EXTENDED WARNING: Geomagnetic K-Index of 6 expected
Extension to Serial Number: 246
Valid From: 2014 Sep 12 1545 UTC
Now Valid Until: 2014 Sep 13 1600 UTC
Warning Condition: Persistence

Comment: Warning extended due to potential for further geomagnetic effects from the 10 Sep CME.
Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 55 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.
Induced Currents – Power grid fluctuations can occur. High-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms.
Spacecraft – Satellite orientation irregularities may occur; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites is possible.
Radio – HF (high frequency) radio propagation can fade at higher latitudes.
Aurora – Aurora may be seen as low as New York to Wisconsin to Washington state.


Space Weather Message Code: ALTK07
Serial Number: 88
Issue Time: 2014 Sep 12 2309 UTC

ALERT: Geomagnetic K-index of 7
Threshold Reached: 2014 Sep 12 2302 UTC
Synoptic Period: 2100-2400 UTC
Active Warning: Yes
NOAA Scale: G3 – Strong
Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 50 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.
Induced Currents – Power system voltage irregularities possible, false alarms may be triggered on some protection devices.
Spacecraft – Systems may experience surface charging; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites and orientation problems may occur.
Navigation – Intermittent satellite navigation (GPS) problems, including loss-of-lock and increased range error may occur.
Radio – HF (high frequency) radio may be intermittent.
Aurora – Aurora may be seen as low as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon.

 

One of the alerts categorized the current solar storm as a G3 which is on a scale of 1 to 5. The G3 Solar Storm classification is rated as strong. The following things can be expected from a G3 NOAA Scale alert:

Power systems: voltage corrections may be required, false alarms triggered on some protection devices.

Spacecraft operations: surface charging may occur on satellite components, drag may increase on low-Earth-orbit satellites, and corrections may be needed for orientation problems.

Other systems: intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur, HF radio may be intermittent, and aurora has been seen as low as Illinois and Oregon (typically 50° geomagnetic lat.)**.

The X1.6 Solar flare that is producing this storm was released by NASA on September 11th, 2014 on YouTube. It was described as the following:

The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 1:48 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2014. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground. However — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

This flare is classified as an X1.6 class flare. “X-class” denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.

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