Big CME headed toward Earth

From Spaceweather.com :

Active sunspot 1401 erupted yesterday, Jan. 19th around 16:30 UT, producing an M3-class solar flare and a full-halo coronal mass ejection (CME). The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded the cloud expanding almost directly toward Earth:

Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say strong geomagnetic storms are possible when the cloud arrives this weekend. Their animated forecast track predicts an impact on Jan. 21st at 22:30 UT (+/- 7 hrs). Aurora alerts: text, voice.

The cloud is also heading for Mars, due to hit the Red Planet on Jan. 24th. NASA’s Curiosity rover, en route to Mars now, is equipped to study solar storms and might be able to detect a change in the energetic particle environment when the CME passes by.

More on WUWT’s solar reference page here

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79 thoughts on “Big CME headed toward Earth

  1. From http://www.solarham.com
    SWPC Forecasters have determined that the CME will likely pass above (north) of Earth. This glancing blow will cause just G1 (Minor) Geomagnetic Storm activity. Look for the first signs of it around 1800Z (1:00 pm EST) on Sunday, January 22, with the bulk of the disturbance to occur Monday, January 23.

  2. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says: “Is there any “scientific” study out there DEMONSTRATING an increase in CO2 concentration will make the atmosphere react to CMEs in some dangerous manner?”
    Hush, Maurizio!!

  3. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:
    January 20, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    Is there any “scientific” study out there DEMONSTRATING an increase in CO2 concentration will make the atmosphere react to CMEs in some dangerous manner?
    ____________________________________________________________________________
    Not as far as I know, but send me a suitably-sized grant and I’ll happily make one up for you. (:-

  4. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:
    January 20, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    Is there any “scientific” study out there DEMONSTRATING an increase in CO2 concentration will make the atmosphere react to CMEs in some dangerous manner?
    ————————————————————————————————————————
    Ready-made grant application if you ask me. Make the application, paint CO2 as the bad guy (no science required) and the work out how to spend your millions ….

  5. “Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:
    January 20, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    Is there any “scientific” study out there DEMONSTRATING an increase in CO2 concentration will make the atmosphere react to CMEs in some dangerous manner”?
    Co2 enhances energy by .5 Wm/2 more than non trace GHG’s.
    e.g: say for extra 100 Wm/2 into the energy budget, Trace GHG’s = 10%. Then,
    The planet would heat by .05% more. But, that heat under 1st law can only be employed until mass returns to potential energy state, and things will get back to normal after a spike of 1.65 DEG.

  6. Does a CME really travel that fast?
    “Their animated forecast track predicts an (Earth) impact on Jan. 21st at 22:30 UT
    The cloud is also heading for Mars, due to hit the Red Planet on Jan. 24th.”
    Really 3 days to get from Earth to Mars
    We shold build a CME Sail ship

  7. I would like to apologize for the latest solar flare. You see, I just bought a new laser pointer, and while testing it out, I accidentally pointed it at the sun, setting off the disturbance.

  8. The only proven role that the trace gas CO2 plays in earth’s dynamic system is as an essential plant nutrient. I can’t see how it could interact with CME’s in any significant way.

  9. Looking at WUWT solar reference page the offending sunspot it way up in the sun’s northern hemisphere so it looks to this layman that the bulk of the CME should pass over the earth’s north pole. Close, but not a bullseye as pointed out by maikls above.

  10. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) January 20, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    Is there any “scientific” study out there DEMONSTRATING an increase in CO2 concentration will make the atmosphere react to CMEs in some dangerous manner?
    Has anyone said it would?

  11. CME should pass over the earth’s north pole.
    Particles folow the Solar magnetic field which is not radial, it converges towards the equatorial plane.
    Earth often gets hit by the coronal holes’s fast solar wind originating from the sun’s polar regions.

  12. markus says:
    January 20, 2012 at 9:52 pm
    Co2 enhances energy by .5 Wm/2 more than non trace GHG’s.
    ;———————————————————————————-
    I believe you meant .5 Watts/meter^2 instead of .5 Wm/2.
    In any case, flux (Watts/meter^2) is not equal to energy (Joules.)

  13. Having watched these vids am I still expected to believe that CO2 drives climate and that that fiery furnace only 93 million miles away has little effect on the changes? Yeah right!

  14. Listen folks, this is data from a NASA satellite, so it can’t be trusted (remember, they also supply, along with NOAA, the data for sea and surface temperatures). You also need to use scientific models to calculate how CME’s propagate through space, but models are always flawed (climate modelling uses similar methods to these models) so all these space weather predictions are almost certainly baloney! Otherwise, if you believe this stuff then you might as well believe the climate scientists, and we don’t want that, do we?

  15. This is terrible news. This gives me precious few hours to sell everything and give it to Al Gore for a suitable sacrifice to Gaia.

  16. With a solar forcing of only 0.12W/m², surely this spurt of solar activity cannot have any impact whatsoever on our commuications systems, let alone the climate! This is a non-story, Anthony! (sarc off)

  17. Perhaps we need a second opinion from Al Gore and the Climatologists at Penn State who brought us man made global warming on the taxpayers dime with trumped up hocus pocus.
    I am sure they will have a theory to reflect their “facts”.
    This has got to be the 1st solar flare the Earth has experienced, no?
    Let’s spend (waste) some taxpayer dollars to examine this freakaloid of nature too.

  18. On other solar matters:
    The Livingston and Penn effect has gone dormant (I am still sceptical on this one)
    Latest from Dr. Svalgaard:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Livingston%20and%20Penn.png
    …every time we submit for publication, it is rejected
    ……if Livingston is right, the world will take notice in a few years. We can wait.

    Latest TSI from SORCE:
    http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/total_solar_irradiance_plots/images/tim_level3_tsi_24hour_3month_640x480.png
    http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/total_solar_irradiance_plots/images/tim_level3_tsi_24hour_640x480.png

  19. The M3,2-flare took place in NOAA 1402.
    It was a long duration event (LDE) lasting over 4 hours: Starting at 13:44UT, peaking at 16:05UT and ending at 17:50UT (source: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/indices/events/20120119events.txt). At that time, there were of course still plenty of post flare coronal loops visible.
    Using Helioviewer (http://helioviewer.org/), I combined SDO-images in the filterwavelengths 4500A (photosphere; 6000K), 171A (upper transition region; 650000K) and 335A (lower corona; 2,5 million K) into one movie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTBmjMtWBsA). This shows the position of the flare and the coronal loops relative to NOAA1402. Note the dynamics in the coronal loops, of which one end seems to be anchored above the region’s main (big) spot.
    More on my website http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/index.html

  20. hmm? I read about this at spaceweather..and we are a date earlier, round 3 to 4am here the radio drop out was interesting, clear mild night no storms etc, and it was a repeat broadcast and the earlier had no issues. so while major affect may be nth, I suspect we all cop some of it.

  21. According to one theory I read, these types of CMEs should lead to electroscavenging which reduces cloud forming particulates. If this is true we should see a change in the free-falling global temperatures in a few days.

  22. Liberal: OMG! OMG! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! HEAD FOR THE CAVES!
    Normal Person: Ooooo. Cool Northern light show!

  23. re: comments hinting at a connection between CME’s and ground temperature here on Earth.
    To think that such a thing (a CME) is a powerful influence with regards to Earth’s air temperatures is like thinking thunder and lightening were the results of the gods and their moods. We now know that these magnificant displays of sound and light have nothing to do with the gods and their moods. There are many such examples of once held beliefs now thoroughly debunked by solid research.
    Likewise, please consider doing a little research on how these CME’s impact Earth’s atmospheric conditions here on the ground before posting anything about temperature trend (measurable warming or cooling) and solar CME influence on it.

  24. “Is there any “scientific” study out there DEMONSTRATING an increase in CO2 concentration will make the atmosphere react to CMEs in some dangerous manner?”
    Gosh, I bet what’s really happening is the increased CO2 is attracting those coronal outbursts, sort of like how trailer parks attract tornadoes. . . . . . .

  25. Garrett, a skeptic’s position is one of discernment. I would suggest your comment would benefit from some.

  26. No worries. It’s the CO2 we exhale that is the real threat to Mother Gaia. Let’s all sing Kumbayah and feel good.

  27. OT but I was hoping Roy Spencer’s temp graph on your Widget page might be updated. It was recently at -0.01C for uptodate Jan 12. It seems that it has now gone considerable lower.

  28. Pamela Gray says:
    January 21, 2012 at 6:01 am
    re: comments hinting at a connection between CME’s and ground temperature here on Earth.
    To think that such a thing (a CME) is a powerful influence with regards to Earth’s air temperatures is like thinking thunder and lightening were the results of the gods and their moods. We now know that these magnificant displays of sound and light have nothing to do with the gods and their moods. There are many such examples of once held beliefs now thoroughly debunked by solid research.
    Likewise, please consider doing a little research on how these CME’s impact Earth’s atmospheric conditions here on the ground before posting anything about temperature trend (measurable warming or cooling) and solar CME influence on it.

    If I understand the electroscavenging theory correctly the effect only lasts a few days and hence has only a small effect on global temperatures. Unless, of course, you get a consistent number of CMEs all heading towards Earth.

  29. “Is there any “scientific” study out there DEMONSTRATING an increase in CO2 concentration will make the atmosphere react to CMEs in some dangerous manner?”
    Omni, your fishing expedition produced only garret. r. gates, a fizz and the rest were too (smart?) to bite.

  30. I don’t usualy do this, and I know it’s very off topic, but this story by our favourite correspondent, Richard Black made my jaw drop, and blood boil like never before;
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16646405
    The amount of subsidies the green industry gets around the world is mind blowing. Everyone knows that without those, the industry would be dead. So how’s that for hypocrisy? It’s ok for the windfarms and other BS schemes to be paid by the people, but not nuclear power, the one that is profitable on its own, and efficient.

  31. Looking forward to a good lightshow, Hopefull we get one at 45Deg.N. With no snow or rain
    Waining/dark of the moon which will help…
    Never forget sitting at a campfire in the high Wallowas and seeing Aurora dance like it
    was the Yukon sky.

  32. Do you realise that the explosion shock wave at maximum shown by the video is around 12 to 14 million miles across, and parts are still looking relatively dense, after an amazingly short timescale.
    I like the canon-like punch through of the 3rd blast, the one which caused the full halo shock wave. The scale of the explosion is simply mind numbing and makes me wonder just what is the sun capable of under extreme circumstances? We worry about CO2 with that thing sitting on our doorstep hahahaha! Mr Gore, to write a good horror story you must make the main characters believable and a trace gas is neither a character nor believable. No booker prize for you then!

  33. gacooke says:
    “I can’t see how it could interact with CME’s in any significant way.”
    I thought CO2 caused CMEs. Doesn’t it cause everything else? In any case, I’m too far south to see the aurora. Haven’t seen a good sky show in a long time. Rats.
    The Weather Service is predicting 60 mph winds.That might be interesting. (Caused by CO2, of course)

  34. OT – Yahoo is running a poll on their front page: Is global warming a real threat?
    Results are 50/50 right now.

  35. Ms Pamela Gray and others
    CME’s nay have an effect on the changes in the Arctic magnetic field (but not the Antarctica, I may elaborate in another post if anyone is interested, or perhaps not). I suggested this some time ago to Dr. Svalgaard who declared it to be one of more stupid ideas from the blog’s pseudo-scientist. Since couldn’t find anything available in the web literature on the subject, I decided to do observations based on the daily records available from Tromso Observatory data (Norway) University and the Ap index data
    Results aren’t conclusive but there is a promising trend developing:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Tromso.htm
    Large spikes in the Ap index correspond to the CME’s hitting the Earth’s magnetosphere.
    As far as temperature is concerned, that is far more contentious issue, but if you are so inclined you can take a look at : http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC1.htm

  36. Hooray! Just in time for the ARRL VHF contest! Look for me on 144.200 +/- CW with 8 x 5 el yagis fixed northeast or 5 wl rotatable yagi from Windmill Hill (200′ HAAT), SC EM85wb.
    K4LY 8B DXCC and WAS on 144 MHz as W0AH in CO

  37. Y’all seem to be forgetting that auroral activity stirred up by CME’s is mostly oxygen and nitrogen, not greenhouse gasses like CO2. The only solution to that aspect of the climate problem is a tax on oxygen and nitrogen. Hope this helps.

  38. I may have time yet to launch my 4 mile wide solar sail in time to charge my Ipad battery which is down to only 1 bar, That much energy should at least create a spark right?
    . Also my plants need a bit of CO2 since I found a damn spider mite and those little buggers would wreck the whole crop if not addressed ASAP. So I will crack a window about that time.Was always taught to take advantage of the moment. 🙂

  39. 3. An electric star has an internal radial electric field. But because plasma is an outstanding conductor it cannot sustain a high electric field. So plasma self-organizes to form a protective sheath or ‘double layer’ across which most of the electric field is concentrated and in which most of the electrical energy is stored. It is the release of that internal stored energy that causes CME’s, nova outbursts, polar jets, and the birth of stellar companions.
    http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=by2r22xg

  40. M.A.Vukcevic says:
    January 21, 2012 at 4:55 am

    On other solar matters:
    The Livingston and Penn effect has gone dormant (I am still sceptical on this one)
    Latest from Dr. Svalgaard:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Livingston%20and%20Penn.png

    Hard to see if it’s dormant, the signal is pretty noisy. One big problem with the Umbral Intensity graph is that the sudden cutoff at 1.0 suggests that there are sunspots that aren’t included because they’re invisible. A similar issue shows up in the Umbral Magnetic Field image. Among the strongest fields, the data is too noisy to say much, but note the strongest umbrae were a year ago. It all makes this solar max look a bit lame. The last thing I read from Livingston and Penn was that they weren’t counting the “lost” spots in their projections and that has the effect of stretching out the point where the average field goes below 1400 Gauss or so.
    We can wait.

  41. Since we’ve increased our satellite monitoring of the sun these’s been a big uptick in the reporting of and the hype surrounding these common events, much like what happens now every time a tropical storm forms. I looked up the forecast.
    Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet levels during day 1 (21 January) and most of day 2 (22 January). Field activity is expected to increase to unsettled to active levels late on day 2 and day 3 (23 January) with a chance for minor storm levels due to the arrival of the halo-CME observed on 19 January. There will be a slight chance for a greater than 10 MeV proton event at geosynchronous orbit during the period.
    So there’s “a chance for minor storm levels?” Yawn. Two sunspot cycles ago we would barely have noticed this. A couple days of sub par shortwave radio propagation and then back to normal.

  42. M.A.Vukcevic says:
    January 21, 2012 at 7:59 am
    take a look at : http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC1.htm
    Well worth the look. The bigger question is why climate science is so obsessed with a narrow band of radiation that they can’t see the forest for the trees.
    2 decades after it had been shown bacteria caused ulcers, 80% of doctors reported that stress contributed to the bacterial infection, and thus stress was a cause of ulcers. This allowed doctors to treat ulcers with antibiotics without having to admit that previous treatments were wrong.

  43. @ferd berple says:
    January 21, 2012 at 10:07 am This allowed doctors to treat ulcers with antibiotics without having to admit that previous treatments were wrong.
    The Berlin wall of science is about to topple down. “Mr.Vukcevic…tear down that wall!” 🙂

  44. Koblog says:
    January 21, 2012 at 2:33 am
    This is terrible news. This gives me precious few hours to sell everything and give it to Al Gore for a suitable sacrifice to Gaia.

    Damn, that one made me spit coffee all over my laptop! Nicely done, Koblog!

  45. ferd berple says: January 21, 2012 at 10:07 am
    ………
    There is more to the Arctic and its magnetic field then the ice and CO2. I noticed this
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/HudsonBay.htm
    in August 2009, wrote a short article, and lot more graphs and posts here and elsewhere, it took me another year or so to work out what was going on, and now it is all being put together.
    adolfogiurfa says:
    Hi Adolfo
    I do it for fun and own amusement
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/01/the-dog-is-the-weather/

  46. You people have no idea just how serious this is, I have reliable information that thre families in Australia have cancelled their Barbies. Yoyu cannot get more serious than that cobbers

  47. @M.A.Vukcevic says: Then you need to present your statistics as Hans Rosling´s “Fun with Stats”

  48. Why is nasa.gov using an Apple Favicon? When you open the link to the animated forecast track there is a little apple icon next to the URL. Are government agencies now sponsored by private corporations?
    MrC

  49. Pamela Gray, heck with that scientific claptrap. Being of Norse descent, I prefer to believe Thor and Odin cause the thunder and lightning. Those of you of Greek descent, feel free to believe in Zeus and Poseidon.

  50. Just a question. How does the above video show anything coming directly towards the earth? Since our satellites and the earth are in virtually the same position relative to the sun, the simulated eclipse allows us to see an eruption that could not be headed directly at the earth. Is it not logical to assume anything coming directly at the earth from the surface of the sun would stay within the diameter of the sun from our vantage point? And would not most CME that happen on the earth facing side of the sun radiate a cloud towards the earth? Is this a non story or what? I assume i am missing something simple here.

  51. Bob Limbach says:
    January 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Just a question. How does the above video show anything coming directly towards the earth? Since our satellites and the earth are in virtually the same position relative to the sun, the simulated eclipse allows us to see an eruption that could not be headed directly at the earth. Is it not logical to assume anything coming directly at the earth from the surface of the sun would stay within the diameter of the sun from our vantage point? And would not most CME that happen on the earth facing side of the sun radiate a cloud towards the earth? Is this a non story or what? I assume i am missing something simple here.

    It is not a satellite (of Earth), although it is between us and the earth. There is more information about the source of the videos and what they represent here (will be replaced):
    http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/pickoftheweek/

  52. @ Bob Limbach says:
    January 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm
    Among other things, keep in mind that the Sun also rotates on it’s axis and has a significant gravitational field as well. These are 2 of the several things that determine the direction and speed of a CME, and make it difficult to predict Earth impact until it’s well on it’s way. The plasma must exceed Sols escape velocity at a minimum, but by how much will largely determine the intercept point with earths orbit and whether it’s a direct hit or a glancing blow. It also dissipates during the trip, not always evenly however.

  53. Curiousgeorge says:
    January 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm
    Among other things, keep in mind that the Sun also rotates on it’s axis and has a significant gravitational field as well. These are 2 of the several things that determine the direction and speed..
    ~
    After seeing a supposed football field sized comet, (burning brightly) go into the solar atmosphere and after an hour emerge and accelerate .. maybe we should reconsider just how significant that solar gravitational field might be..

  54. The CME hit early this morning (spaceweather.com said about 0600Z). Didn’t seem to have much effect on the Earth except in polar regions. Highest K value was 4 (unsettled). Bz briefly hit about 30 to the south a few brief times, but seemed to stay mostly north (a south Bz vector is conducive to solar storms, auroras).

  55. Just The Facts says:
    January 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm
    ~
    WOW, lots of IMF flopping around there, JTF.
    Remarkable amount of dayside reconnection particle injection..in movie.
    Was trying to get to Alaska edu model of IMF for the period, but seems some changes at the site.
    Model explained below:
    The Hakamada-Akasofu-Fry (HAF) model is a “modified kinematic” model. “Kinematic” in that the model kinetically projects the flow of the solar wind from inhomogeneous sources near the sun out into interplanetary space. “Modified” in that the model adjusts the flow for stream-stream interactions. The model output is the shock arrival time, solar wind speed, density, and magnetic field time series. For more details on models follow links:
    http://www.expi.net/expinet/kinematic.html or http://gse.gi.alaska.edu/
    But take a look at the model example which is dated for Jan 23 2012 at this page.
    http://www.expi.com/index.html The site is still under construction, but if you zoom the model image on this page, you will see a closed loop in the IMF .. VUKs..
    I’m a little freaked..
    And we have some freezing rain today..eeeek

  56. Garrett says:
    January 21, 2012 at 2:30 am
    “Listen folks, this is data from a NASA satellite, so it can’t be trusted (remember, they also supply, along with NOAA, the data for sea and surface temperatures). You also need to use scientific models to calculate how CME’s propagate through space, but models are always flawed (climate modelling uses similar methods to these models) so all these space weather predictions are almost certainly baloney! Otherwise, if you believe this stuff then you might as well believe the climate scientists, and we don’t want that, do we?”
    Apples and oranges. Some pretty good hard data available on CME’s, climate, not so much. Cause and effect pretty straight foreward for CME’s, climate, not so much. Variables involved for CME’s well defined, climate, not so much. Garrett, it is quite evident why you buy the climate claptrap.

  57. Tweaking something from Pink Floyd’s early days:
    (Sol, in a heavily distorted monster voice)”One of these days I’m going to blast you into little pieces!”

  58. What is a coronal mass ejection (CME)?
    An ejection of plasma, which are ionionzed elements, in the Sun’s case, mostly ionized Hydrogen, thus, single protons and electrons, flowing out from the Sun, in an organized structure, something like a twisted “croissant” per NASA press release.
    Likely, there are regions within the CME with different properties: Concentrations of ions and electrons, as well, as slightly different temperatures. In plasmas, regions of difference can lead to the formation of Electric Double Layers and, thus, electric fields.
    Ionized elements in motion cause a magnetic field, and, indeed, CME’s move at a rapid rate and have a magnetic field. Harder to observe & measure, would be an electric field associated with the CME. It is important to observe & measure all observable phenomenon associated with the CME event.

  59. As this is classified as a *mass* ejection, I wonder if anyone has a measure of the total mass that would be striking the Earth? How might that compare with the estimated total mass striking the Earth during the infamous Carrington Event?

  60. Carla says: January 23, 2012 at 5:50 am
    WOW, lots of IMF flopping around there, JTF.
    Remarkable amount of dayside reconnection particle injection..in movie.

    Here’s the vid from 22nd – 24th, lot’s to digest in there:

    But take a look at the model example which is dated for Jan 23 2012 at this page.
    http://www.expi.com/index.html The site is still under construction, but if you zoom the model image on this page, you will see a closed loop in the IMF .. VUKs..

    This site has some good stuff:
    http://iswa.ccmc.gsfc.nasa.gov:8080/IswaSystemWebApp/
    also check out this loop from last year:
    http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/downloads/20110802_102100_anim.tim-den.gif
    I’m a little freaked..
    And we have some freezing rain today..eeeek

    Nothing to worry about, just light the fireplace and snuggle up on the couch. 🙂

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