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Florida Hazards Watch Space Weather

Articles of interest:

Solar storms ramp up, take aim at Earth
Understanding space weather forecasts and the risk of solar storms
Space weather: Are we ready for a solar strike?
As the sun awakens, the power grid stands vulnerable

Space Weather Advisory Outlook

What is Space Weather ?

Space weather is a relatively new field of science dedicated to the understanding of interactions between the sun and Earth, and to the forecasting of solar flares, geomagnetic storms and other space-related phenomena.

Solar flares zap a science satellite. A coronal mass ejection sparks a stunning display of aurora borealis. Blazing meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere. All these are examples of space weather.

Who Forecasts Space Weather?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service (NWS) operates the Space Weather Prediction Center at The role of the center, based in Boulder, Colorado, is to provide space weather alerts and warnings to the nation for disturbances that can affect people and equipment working in space and on Earth.

Using NOAA's Space Weather Scales, emergency managers can track solar flare activities in advance of their impact on earth.

How do sunspots affect conditions here on Earth?

The Earth is affected by solar flares, which are emitted from sunspots on the Sun’s surface. Solar flares emit energized high-speed particles which cause auroras, known in the northern hemisphere as Northern Lights. These particles can arrive at Earth in a matter of minutes.

Particles from solar flares can also wreak havoc on communications systems by causing radio communication disruptions or blackouts, navigation equipment error, satellite degradation or signal loss, energy disruptions, spacecraft operation issues, and the radiation from strong solar flares can give passengers in airplanes a dose of radiation equivalent to a medical X-ray. These effects can last several hours to several days.

The Sun goes through cycles of high and low activity that repeat approximately every 11 years. The number of dark spots on the Sun (sunspots) marks this variation; as the number of sunspots increases, so does solar activity.

Asteroids and Comets


March 11, 2016 14:26

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