X-Class solar flare blasts CME directly at Earth

Large sunspot Group AR1520, seen below just right of center, was pointed directly at Earth when the flare occurred.

The GOES Xray Flux spike hit X 1.4, just barely an X-class: 

From Spaceweather.com

Big sunspot AR1520 unleashed an X1.4-class solar flare on July 12th at 1653 UT. Because this sunspot is directly facing Earth, everything about the blast was geoeffective. For one thing, it hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) directly toward our planet. According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will hit Earth on July 14th around 10:20 UT (+/- 7 hours) and could spark strong geomagnetic storms.

The explosion also strobed Earth with a pulse of extreme UV radiation, shown here in a movie recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The UV pulse partially ionized Earth’s upper atmosphere, disturbing the normal propagation of radio signals around the planet. Monitoring stations in Norway, Ireland and Italy recorded the sudden ionospheric disturbance.

Finally, solar protons accelerated by the blast are swarming around Earth. The radiation storm, in progress, ranks “S1” on NOAA space weather scales, which means it poses no serious threat to satellites or astronauts. This could change if the storm continues to intensify. Stay tuned.

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As solar storm go, this is a moderate one. Judging from the magnetic field in the photosphere the orientation of the field in the CME magnetic cloud seems to be pointing North at its front. This is another hint of only a weak geomagnetic storm. But we shall see.

Rob Dekker

Thanks Anthony,
Curious : how strong is this Solar flare compared to some other ones we experienced over the past year ?
Also, (how much) is solar irradiance (total solar output) affected by flares like this ?

Brian H

Ohno! Nekked protons! They’ll eat all our spare electrons! Flee! Fly! Flow!
What Flum?

Mike Bromley the Kurd

Here is #1520 (and its companion group, #1519) setting with the sun into Demir Dagh Ridge, near Mosul, Iraq.
http://www.tuxedo-mines.com/DSC09129.JPG

Kelvin Vaughan

Does that mean I will have to take extra proton pump inhibitors or my heartburn will get worse?

Computer modeling would be so much easier if the Sun would just remain constant. Now we have to add a solar fudge factor.

John Doe

To hit the earth it needs to pointed at where the earth will be a few days from now, doesn’t it? Pointed directly at us today means the earth will have moved out of the way by the time it arrives sort of like failing to lead the clay pigeon in a skeet shoot.

Robert of Ottawa

SO, impact on Sunday?

Thanks for the news and analysis.

Rob Dekker says:
July 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm
Also, (how much) is solar irradiance (total solar output) affected by flares like this ?
VERY little. We can hardly measure how little. Only for flares ten times as strong is the a measurably effect: http://spot.colorado.edu/~koppg/TSI/ “While flares are readily detectable at short wavelengths, where the Sun generally has relatively low signal, their contribution to the entire energy output from the Sun is almost negligibly small, making them extremely difficult to detect in TSI”

John Doe says:
July 13, 2012 at 4:13 am
To hit the earth it needs to pointed at where the earth will be a few days from now, doesn’t it?
No, as the Earth moves rather slowly, approximately one degree [seen from the Sun – in one year, 365 days, the Earth covers a full circle, 360 degrees]. It takes the CME four days [at most] the travel from the Sun to the Earth. The CME is wide, some 50 degrees, so that the earth has moved 4 degrees out of the 50, doesn’t matter.

Strange the MSM has not catch in on this one, as this one is directed at Earth.

The clarity and resolution of the recording of that event is stunning. With multiple space-born scientific observation platforms, we’re poised to learn more – and more quickly – than we ever have before. What a fascinating area of science Leif Svalgaard gets to explore. I envy you.

hell_is_like_newark

So in a day or so, we won’t experience something similar to the final scene of that god-awful movie “knowing”…
http://youtu.be/c6jP-2x6Y6Y

Jim murphy

will this intensify the northern lights?

Jim murphy says:
July 13, 2012 at 11:28 am
will this intensify the northern lights?
Yes, some, but not spectacularly, such as moving the northern light down to very low latitudes.

Steve Lohr

Hey, I am heading for the top of the continental divide with my Nikon just on the outside chance something interesting might happen. I had an alpine start planned for a hike with a friend tomorrow anyway. What the heck, you never know.

Steven

Computer modeling would be much easier if you just put the electro back into magnetic. Even your very first graph says it all.

Steven

Love the video too, very electricity like isn’t it

Lady Life Grows

Actually, it’s a good excuse to check your survival preps for storms like the one that hit DC a week ago. Don’t expect to actually need anything, but if a big one ever happens, and you are prepared, you’ll be glad.

uninformedLuddite

Never having heard of the movie knowing I decided to watch the youtube clip. You owe me ten minutes.

Steven says:
July 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm
Computer modeling would be much easier if you just put the electro back into magnetic. Even your very first graph says it all.
The effect of the CMEon the Earth is caused by its magnetic field reconnecting with the Earth’s. The resulting magnetic configuration is unstable and will eventually break down, creating electric currents that light up the sky.

This situation of extreme earth facing events on the Sun (significant active Regions /Coronal Holes) just preceding extreme weather events ~13-14.5 July (ie 14/15th) on Earth was predicted by WeatherAction in forecasts issued end June
http://www.weatheraction.com/displayarticle.asp?a=472&c=5
Piers Corbyn

Piers Corbyn (@Piers_Corbyn) says:
July 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm
This situation of extreme earth facing events on the Sun (significant active Regions /Coronal Holes) … was predicted by WeatherAction in forecasts issued end June
Since the Sun is rotating and large active regions live for longer than one rotation, it is no big feat to ‘forecast’ a recurrence of the region 27 days later:
http://www.specola.ch/drawings/2012/loc-d20120711.JPG and
http://www.specola.ch/drawings/2012/loc-d20120614.JPG

sorry if posted twice. WUWT was not responding…

Jim Arndt

Piers Corbyn (@Piers_Corbyn) says:
July 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm
“This situation of extreme earth facing events on the Sun (significant active Regions /Coronal Holes) just preceding extreme weather events”
There are always an extreme weather event somewhere on the planet so this is an open ended forecast.
Jim Arndt

Julian Braggins

An explanation of how a Solar Flare would effect the Earth’s magnetic and electrical fields can be deduced from here, which uses standard electric, electronic, and plasma engineering science.
http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2012/01/17/essential-guide-to-the-eu-chapter-8/

Rob Dekker

Thanks for your notes, Leif.
Incidentally, this solar cycle 25 seems to be late, and its amplitude seem to be the weakest in centuries.
How much did that effect reduce TSI (total solal irradiance) as expressed in W/m^2 on planet Earth over the past decade, and how much is that reduction compared to the increase in GHG radiative forcing over the same period ?

Gary Pate

So what happened? Are we all going to die or what?

Jim Arndt says:
July 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm
http://research.aerology.com/severe-weather/derecho-storm-seen-from-space/
Is an example of the use of the lunar declinational patterns to see the short term effects of solar flares and CME on the usual global circulation patterns driven by the moon alone.
Piers Corbyn (@Piers_Corbyn) says:
July 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm
If you want a copy of all of my tabled raw data, the program for deriving the csv files, and the software to plot the maps, for all four past analog cycles, and the composite that gets posted on my site just let me know. info@ or richard@

Rob Dekker

Piers,
Since Leif just showed that variations in TSI from solar flares are hardly measurable, why (physical reason please) do you think solar flares affect the weather at all, let alone cause ‘extreme weather events’ ?

Julian Braggins says:
July 14, 2012 at 12:38 am
An explanation of how a Solar Flare would effect the Earth’s magnetic and electrical fields can be deduced from here, which uses standard electric, electronic, and plasma engineering science.
http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2012/01/17/essential-guide-to-the-eu-chapter-8/

That is no explanation at all. An explanation means giving numbers: how large is the effect given the input. EU can’t give you those numbers because their ‘explanation’ is no explanation. If you want a real explanation [which we have known for half a century you can find it here: http://www.leif.org/research/Geomagnetic-Response-to-Solar-Wind.pdf
The appendix shows how to calculate the size of the effect.
Rob Dekker says:
July 14, 2012 at 1:09 am
Thanks for your notes, Leif.
Incidentally, this solar cycle 25 seems to be late, and its amplitude seem to be the weakest in centuries.
You probably mean cycle 24. Number 25 is still about ten years away.
How much did that effect reduce TSI (total solal irradiance) as expressed in W/m^2 on planet Earth over the past decade, and how much is that reduction compared to the increase in GHG radiative forcing over the same period ?
The changes in TSI are very small, of the order of 1 W/m^2. About GHG you can find estimates in many places [do some searching yourself]

Julian Braggins says:
July 14, 2012 at 12:38 am
An explanation of how a Solar Flare would effect the Earth’s magnetic and electrical fields can be deduced from here…
Your link contains this interesting statement [which BTW is almost correct, except ‘ionosphere’ should be ‘magnetosphere’]:
“Any ions and electrons in the vicinity, for example, in the ionosphere, will therefore acquire velocities perpendicular to both B and g under the combined influence of gravity and the magnetic field. Because the velocities of ions and electrons are in opposite directions, this is equivalent to a current flowing in a ring around the equatorial plane.”
So, the current is created from the magnetic field and gravity according to EU theory.

solarlux

Leif, doesn’t the plasma ejecta cloud rotate and twist during its transit here? As so, wouldn’t that tend to render the original magnetic configuration less relevant?

solarlux says:
July 14, 2012 at 7:28 am
doesn’t the plasma ejecta cloud rotate and twist during its transit here? As so, wouldn’t that tend to render the original magnetic configuration less relevant?
There is some twisting, but since the cloud is still connected back via its magnetic field most of the original configuration is intact. Here is more on CMEs: http://solarphysics.livingreviews.org/open?pubNo=lrsp-2011-1&page=articlesu11.html

solarlux

Thanks, that is helpful. So in cases where the leading edge arrives with exactly opposite the expected magnetic polarity … is that mainly due to a difficulty in inferring the cloud configuration from the alignment of the originating active area? Or is it due to inferring incorrectly *what* precise area produced the CME?

solarlux says:
July 14, 2012 at 9:17 am
So in cases where the leading edge arrives with exactly opposite the expected magnetic polarity … is that mainly due to a difficulty in inferring the cloud configuration from the alignment of the originating active area? Or is it due to inferring incorrectly *what* precise area produced the CME?
Both, but usually the expected polarity is also what arrives. E.g. for this CME, it has arrived, the leading has northward pointing flux as I predicted from eyeballed magnetograms of the sun, and, as expected, the resulting ‘storm’ is very minor [so far…]

solarlux

It definitely seems like a tricky science. The largest geomagnetic storm of SC23 originated from CMEs associated with < M5 flare(s) with a max wind speed of 730 km/s. It seems to be all about the magnetic configuration.
http://www.agu.org/pubs/current/si/links/2004GL021639.pdf
So no bow shock with this current one incoming?

solarlux

Ah… never mind, here it comes.

The leading edge of the ion flux coming into Minnesota and also Newfoundland NOW watch as this sweeps South/East to see if the increased rainfall follows the past derocheo pattern?
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/loops/wxloop.cgi?wv_east_enhanced+50+-update+3600
Slow connection warning 68 meg bit loop of the the past 50 1/2 hour satellite images, so you can see the changes from yesterday.

Rob Dekker

Leif said :

The changes in TSI are very small, of the order of 1 W/m^2. About GHG you can find estimates in many places [do some searching yourself]

Thanks Leif. That 1 W/m^2 spread out over the Earth’s surface would be a reduction of 0.25 W/m^2, right ?
For doubling of CO2 (280 ppm->560 ppm) generally 3.7 W/m^2 in GHG forcing is calculated. So, in first order approximation, the 2ppm/year we add in CO2 would cause 0.13 W/m^2 forcing over the past decade.
So would it be fair to say that reduction in solar activity (TSI) over the past decade probably reduced radiative forcing, even when increase in CO2 would be accounted for ?

Rob Dekker

I’m sorry Leif. 3.7 W/m^2 / 280 ppm = 0.013, so our 2 ppm CO2 should have caused 0.26 W/m^2 increase in forcing.
Which appears to be at the same order of magnitude as the reduction in TSI over the same period.
Does that sound right, or did TSI go back up to the peak levels of previous solar cycles ?

Rob Dekker says:
July 15, 2012 at 2:07 am
did TSI go back up to the peak levels of previous solar cycles ?
The 1 W/m^2 variation is cyclic. So TSI does indeed return to about the same peak value, except that the peak value depends on the sunspot number. It is not so that the solar cycle average is 1 W/m^2 lower, only the peak value. Slice 25 of http://www.leif.org/research/What-is-Wrong-with-GSN.pdf shows [the red curve] what I think the variation of TSI has been the last 400 years.

Steven

Leif, you and I know that relativity ties the electric and magnetic force into one thing. Why do you always go against your very own theory to exclude the electric force? Do you not believe in relativity?

Steven says:
July 15, 2012 at 7:42 am
relativity ties the electric and magnetic force into one thing.
Nothing to do with relativity. Maxwell’s equations unify the electric and magnetic force. This is consistent with special relativity, is all. The Electric forces are not excluded. Every explosive effect occurring in a plasma is due to the short circuiting of electric currents, which in turn are generated by moving the conducting plasma across a magnetic field. No magnetic field, no current.

Steven

Leif, I actually read your paper and i see energy of the system mentioned numerous times. What is this energy Leif?

Steven

Leif Svalgaard says: No magnetic field, no current.
That’s what you keep parroting. But why was the neutron deduced it was not a fundamental particle because it apparently had a magnetic moment and was neutral? It could not be reconciled with known laws that the particle could possess a magnetic moment and be neutral, It was later discovered that it was composed of quarks, charged particles that by their spin and interaction with one another that the magnetic moment of the neutron was made possible.
E=mc^2 demands that a particle completely at rest, not moving in your magnetic field, possess charge, contrary to everything you have been saying.

Steven

[snip – off topic, submit to the correct thread please ~mod]