The sun belches out a 3rd X-class solar flare in as many days

Earlier this week, on Sept 4th, active sunspot AR2673 hurled a CME toward Earth. Now a second monster sized flare has been released from the same region.

On Sept. 6th at 1202 UT, sunspot AR2673 unleashed a major X9.3-class solar flare–the strongest solar flare in more than a decade. Now, at about 1430 UT today, the same sunspot group has made a third X-class flare according to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). It is weaker that the one on September 6th.

Source:  h/t to Jimmy Haigh

The sunspot group AR2673 (in lower right) is rotating away from Earth, as seen in this current SDO image, so the Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from it (if any) won’t be hitting Earth.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
September 7, 2017 8:31 am

Solar activity went a bit up during August. Sunspot cycle 24 number for August 2017 in the old money (Wolf SSN) rose slightly from 11 to 19 points while the new Svalgaard’s reconstructed number is at 33.1
Composite graph is here
SC24 is nearing what might be the start of a prolong minimum (possible late start of SC25 too) but a ‘dead cat bounce’ from these levels could not be excluded.

Reply to  vukcevic
September 7, 2017 8:55 am

Horripilation shivvver! All that technical jargon, Vuk must know what he’s about.

Reply to  vukcevic
September 7, 2017 9:28 am

I have a conjecture that long periods (2 cycles or longer) of prolonged minimum are immediately preceded by a ‘ (prime) event at the tail of the preceeding SC. SC 4 had one prior to the Dalton minimum. Will SC24 have one?
From Wikipedia (I know, I know… Wikipedia is on shaky ground with its politicized editing):

“There are some recent speculations that cycle 4, the longest solar cycle since 1755, was actually two cycles, based on the appearance of new sunspots at high solar latitudes in 1793-1796 …”

Now the current sets of sunspots (like AR2673) are at more equatorial locations, so we’ll have to see though if higher latitude sunspots appear before the 2019-2020 SC24 /SC25 crossover. But still, if prime events do occur before Dalton- or Maunder-type minimums, this is the prediction.
I have no doubt the good Dr S will correct the errors of my ways.

Reply to  joelobryan
September 7, 2017 11:08 am

Hi there Joel
There are number of papers (Usoskin 2013, McCracken & Lockwood 2015, etc) claiming SC4 was a double cycle but that is strongly disputed by Dr. S.
When the sunspot formula (I devised some 14 years ago ‘simulating’ progression of the sunspot cycles) is plotted with a logarithmic scale it clearly shows what supposedly would be cycle 4a.
My very modest contribution to the debate (August 2013) is shown here
As you can see the note says that next phase change is expected for SC24-25
therefore I agree with your prediction.

Reply to  joelobryan
September 7, 2017 12:26 pm

I believe the evidence for an extra cycle in the 1790’s is not strong, but hey if an extra short cycle is produced next, I am prepared to change my opinion. That would really shake up solar physicists.

Reply to  Javier
September 7, 2017 12:43 pm

from my own analysis of maxima back in 2012 I predicted [to myself] a dead end stop in 2014,
I was right.
If everything goes normal, i.e. following Gleissberg, there will be no double min. now but perhaps a double max. might happen around 2040
I wonder if I will still be around that time..

Reply to  vukcevic
September 7, 2017 9:45 am

WP is eating my Reply post here to Vuk, and I don’t know why. It doesn’t have any banned words AFAIK.

Reply to  vukcevic
September 7, 2017 2:41 pm

Star farts. Who would have guessed?

September 7, 2017 9:09 am

The sun has a sense of humor.
(I know … not scientific, the name for this Pareidolia. And seeing unusual patterns in data when their aren’t any is called apophenia. See see lots of apophenia in climate pseudoscience lately.)

Reply to  joelobryan
September 7, 2017 9:11 am

there, not “their” … dang it.

Reply to  joelobryan
September 7, 2017 8:27 pm

They’re, they’re, joel.

September 7, 2017 9:15 am

It will be interested to see if we have any isolated power grid failures on the planet when the CME strikes late tonight or early tomorrow morning (of the 8th) when it strikes earth from the 9.3 X class flare.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  ltregulate
September 7, 2017 9:26 am

That flare is rated #14 of the most powerful since 1976

Reply to  Pop Piasa
September 7, 2017 9:29 am

Must be climate change making it stronger than it otherwise would be. (apophenia at work, just like Irma and Harvey).

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
September 7, 2017 9:37 am

The benchmark CME episode is 1859 and the Carrington event. I would like to see them compared. Only G3 mag storms are predicted, but we are near the equinox so auroras should be bright and widespread.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  ltregulate
September 7, 2017 9:30 am

That X9.3 CME isn’t going to strike the earth directly. Some of the outer portions of it may interact with the earth’s magnetic field as it crosses the vicinity of earth’s orbit.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
September 7, 2017 9:45 am

Also, the strength of the flare and its resulting ejection are not necessarily in lock-step. Large CMEs also result from collapsed filaments whose Hyder flares are not so dramatic in the X-ray spectrum.

September 7, 2017 9:21 am

are the movement of the stars changing too, just wondering

Pop Piasa
September 7, 2017 9:31 am

Should be a very noticeable Forbush drop in CR flux.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
September 7, 2017 9:50 am

It’s worse than we thought.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Ken
September 7, 2017 10:56 am

Not for the folks who own solar panels. High CR flux means clouds form easier, according to the eggheads at CERN. Outgoing CMEs sweep cosmic rays aside and prevent them from penetrating the heliosphere.

Reply to  Ken
September 7, 2017 11:52 am

attenuate (or more correctly flux attenuation) would be a better descriptor than “sweep”

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Ken
September 7, 2017 12:19 pm

Yes, thanks.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Ken
September 7, 2017 12:20 pm

Guess I was caught up in Tony Phillips’ jargon.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
September 7, 2017 12:18 pm

Just forget about decent FM radio. And this, the day after Walter Becker’s death.
“No static at all.”
— Steely Dan, 1978.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Bartleby
September 7, 2017 12:24 pm

listening to my Steely dan collection for 24 hrs straight now. I’ll look for him in the next dimension.

Gary Pearse
September 7, 2017 9:36 am

Seems like a good time to see if any weather phenomena (barring the hurricanes) might result from these flares.

Pop Piasa
September 7, 2017 9:59 am

Here’s a Helioviewer movie of the last two days.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
September 7, 2017 11:42 am

Another view at different wavelengths.

September 7, 2017 10:05 am

honest question as I never looked, can ejections like this affect the eyewall or strength of a hurricane?

September 7, 2017 10:11 am

Yes, if you believe in magic and/or causality reversal.

Reply to  joelobryan
September 7, 2017 11:31 am

was wondering if troposphere changes due to the ejection would affect the hurricane. or if its a too little too late or possibly an inverse relationship

Pop Piasa
Reply to  dmacleo
September 7, 2017 12:16 pm

You missed Joel’s sarcasm and Gary Pearse’s comment. The weather is not directly affected by solar activity. If that were so, we would have been able to observe the relationship long ago.

Reply to  dmacleo
September 7, 2017 12:22 pm

You’re not supposed to give away the punch line!

September 7, 2017 10:49 am

I am thinking of a relationship between extra solar flare and development of hurricanes…
…the energy has to go somewhere?
anyone have a comment on that?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  henryp
September 7, 2017 11:07 am

The energy released is in the forms of magnetic plasma and X-rays. How would that heat the atmosphere?
The direct consequences of solar flares with earth-directed CMEs are radio blackouts and later, geomagnetic storms.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  henryp
September 7, 2017 11:51 am

The relationship you are seeking is the SSTs in the tropical Atlantic and Gulf of Mex, vs the pressures over the US, vs the dust extinction over NW Africa.

Reply to  henryp
September 7, 2017 12:01 pm

Yes, sun is the cause of hurricanes and cyclones but via simple process of the oceans heating.
Strongest events due to solar magnetic activity are in the polar regions while hurricanes originate in the equatorial belt. Any connection as a trigger for a hurricane is very unlikely, and once a hurricane is under way it is extremely unlikely.

Reply to  henryp
September 7, 2017 12:36 pm

A one-off set of solar flares/CMEs would have difficult time producing observable changes in tropical cyclone strength or behavior.
That is not to say it doesn’t happen or can’t happen. It just is not likely to be an observable cause-effect relationship. Remember spurious non-causal related correlations occur through nature. And if we cannot reproducibly observe an effect, does it really exist? Or is it just noise?
That is a physical philosophical question that Einstein and many other physicists have pondered through the ages. For example, I can claim invisible space aliens are controlling our weather/climate, but since they are invisible, we can’t observe them. So philosophically, what is the point to making such a silly statement?
Go with the things we know we can observe about TCs for the first and second order explanations of their strength and behavior.
– Hurricanes only energy source is warm tropical water typically above T = 28degC (301 K) for strong growth (30-32 C SS temps can drive very vigorous growth), while 26 C is a minimum for sustainment and gradual diminishment. The top 100 meter warm water forms from months of clear sky sunlit-fed deep warming.
All other things equal, hurricanes/tropical cyclones actually tend to strengthen at night due to increase in temperature delta between the SST (water with high heat capacity doesn’t undergo a significant diurnal drop) and the Tropopause (which does cool and lower floor of the stratosphere at night). This is because of the convective transport connection between the sea surface advection layer and the troposphere is the power stroke of the Carnot cycle heat engine.
The spreading of the outflow cloud tops in the tropopause at T ~ 200 K, just underneath or into the edge of the stratosphere is the radiative transfer surface to 4K of space. And the efficiency of the Carnot cycle is completely and directly dependent on the delta T between these two regions.
Their environments for favorable development are underneath and along the periphery of broad area high pressures (like the persistent Bermuda High). In the Northern hemisphere, with high pressure clockwise rotation, tropical cyclones/hurricanes move westward, along the trades winds path. Same for the Southern hemisphere. High pressure to the south of Typhoons also drives them generally westward, as one would expect from the prevailing tradewinds north and south of the equator where the warmest water exist.
Lack of strong upper atmosphere cross winds further allows the rotating, convective heat towers to remain intact between the sea surface advection zone and well into the tropopause. This is the unfavorable shearing phenomenon that tropical weather experts discuss, as it prevents/inhibits the stable surface to upper tropopause teleconnection for the convective heat towers that form concentric rings around the central low pressure. In other words, lopping off the heat pipes (convective towers) chokes off the thermodynamic flow of energy to drive the TC’s engine.
Now from that, for a CME or solar flare to have an observable effect on a Tropical Cyclone, you would need a mechanism to affect one of those parameters, like height or thickness of the tropopause or maybe the positioning of the subtropical jet stream. And I have never seen any evidence presented that that happens.
So like invoking invisible space aliens as controlling our weather, a single set of solar flares affecting a hurricane has no scientific validation. That’s is not to say that one day some bright person might find a reproducible method of demonstrating such effect.

Reply to  joelobryan
September 7, 2017 12:53 pm

“And the efficiency of the Carnot cycle is completely and directly dependent on the delta-T between these two regions.”
The regions to which I refer are the sea surface boundary layer/advection zone (controlled by SST) and the tropopause/stratosphere boundary layer temperatures (typically controlled by the thickness of the troposphere and is function of latitude). Not the delta-T between tropopause and outer space.

Reply to  joelobryan
September 7, 2017 1:34 pm

thank you, I had wondered if cme’s would affect the jetstream.
one issue is not being well versed enough to ask questions correctly.
perhaps my org question should have been can cme’s, if timed right, affect the jetstreams enough to mitigate tropical depressions and reduce their ability to gain energy and turn stronger.
and it seems, from your answer, they cannot.
just wondering out loud, thanks for your time.

Reply to  joelobryan
September 7, 2017 1:40 pm

good comment there
I would say that a sudden influx of high energy radiation could have the same effect as ‘night time’; iwill come to you later: it is night time here now {going to sleep]

Pop Piasa
Reply to  joelobryan
September 7, 2017 3:48 pm

@Joel—- Excellent!

September 7, 2017 11:54 am

forms of magnetic plasma and X-rays
that sounds to me like a lot of energy…..
Anyway this talk of Irma being the strongest hurricane evah [due to man made warmer sea water\is making me mad. How do they know what happened 100 years ago?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  henryp
September 7, 2017 12:58 pm

Man didn’t make the SSTs what they are. Please watch Joe Bastardi’s free videos at
Just click on “Premium” and scroll to the free daily?weekly video presentations.
You will learn the real cause of hurricanes.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  henryp
September 7, 2017 1:03 pm

Those energy expenditures are extreme, but they only last for a relative instant in time. They are just noise in the long term.

September 7, 2017 12:03 pm

your formula must take into account all observed solar phases i.e.
Schwabe, Hale, Gleissberg, De Vries, Eddy & De Bray
I am thinking no double min. now but double max. soon

September 7, 2017 12:13 pm

Can anybody recommend a decent pair of binoculars with removable filters for looking at sunspots? Thanks

Reply to  Wharfplank
September 7, 2017 12:21 pm

Not the best time for that investment. Sunspots are disappearing as the solar minimum approaches.

September 7, 2017 12:20 pm

When will be the next time the sun spot is in position to deliver earth a CME if it flares?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Kelvin
September 7, 2017 12:36 pm

Kelvin, that will take about 3/4 of a solar rotation, but the region must remain active and will not have the same number if it survives to reappear. something I have observed, is that in this period of low solar activity, the same regions have been active for several rotations. Perhaps Dr. S. can provide some historical perspective from previous cycles as I am a relative newcomer to the solar studies scene.

Reply to  Kelvin
September 7, 2017 12:58 pm

~ 3 weeks for that region to be facing earthward again.

September 7, 2017 1:44 pm

Good person to follow for information on this topic.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  ltregulate
September 7, 2017 3:17 pm

She is way too melodramatic about the facts. IMHO.

September 7, 2017 3:36 pm

Planet-sized ‘waves’ spotted in the Sun’s atmosphere:

Pop Piasa
Reply to  AJB
September 7, 2017 3:56 pm

Intriguing, this deserves more investigation.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
September 7, 2017 6:59 pm

As do tidal encounters in quick succession of a minuscule kind we’re not permitted to mention.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
September 8, 2017 3:21 pm

Upcoming coin tossing windows:
23rd through 26th October 2018.
8th through 10th July 2019.

September 7, 2017 5:25 pm

See! I told you the Sun would try again. It’ll get us sooner or later. We’re doomed.

Reply to  RoHa
September 7, 2017 5:43 pm

Kinda like Gaia taking out Houston (the epicenter of human emissions)…

September 7, 2017 6:15 pm

There she blows, how long will it last?
… estimated Kp G4 territory.

Dr. Strangelove
September 8, 2017 5:21 am

How solar activity affects the climate. Mystery of Antarctic cooling solved

Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
September 8, 2017 8:56 pm

Strange, it did less that “wow” me. Long, slow, disconnected and frankly boring monologues espousing the obvious? No.
Try harder.

Dr. Strangelove
Reply to  Bartleby
September 9, 2017 12:41 am

Does she look British and slow?comment image

Reply to  Bartleby
September 9, 2017 12:49 am

“Does she look British and slow?”
Yep. 🙂

September 8, 2017 11:51 am

“A one-off set of solar flares/CMEs would have difficult time producing observable changes in tropical cyclone strength or behavior’.
Prolonged lower polar solar magnetic field strengths does in fact lead to more of the most energetic particles being able to escape from the sun hitting the atmosphere.
On entering these particles react to form ozone, peroxides and nitrogenous oxides. [there never was a ozone hole; above the oceans OH radicals are available to form peroxides rather than ozone].
This process protects us from the most damaging radiation coming from the sun.
Hence, don’t go to Mars without first creating an atmosphere…
In its turn, looking at the spectra, increased O3, HxOx and NxOx TOA decreases the amount of radiation of somewhat higher wavelength coming into earth.
[energy versus wavelength follows a chi square distribution]
Hence, a sudden increase in solar flares could therefore have a similar effect as what night time has, i.e. a cooling effect, fuelling the cyclone, as you posed
but hey,
that is just my opinion.

%d bloggers like this: