Senior American Association for the Advancement of Science officials meeting, which just concluded in Washington, DC, USA warned of potential severe solar storms that could cause extensive damage and cost the global economy hundreds of billions of dollars.
On Tuesday, February 15, the Sun's surface erupted in an X-class solar flare, the most powerful type of all solar events, as the most powerful in four years. The explosion was unleashed from a sunspot region that had barely been visible just the week before, but grew quickly to more than 100,000 kilometers across, or nearly eight times the width of the Earth.
Although recent event fortunately only disrupted high-frequency radio communications in southern China and caused displays of the aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, a solar flare of this magnitude can lead to much more severe geomagnetic storms as its coronal mass ejection (CME), consisting of billions of tons of charged particles, reaches the Earth's magnetic field.
These intense solar flares can trigger prolonged or even permanent blackouts in satellite communications and power grids, as well as radiation storms. Moreover, solar flares are expected to become more frequent and severe in 2013 during the Solar Max, when the sun's activity is set to reach its peak.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administrator Jane Lubchenco said, “This is not a matter of if, it's simply a matter of when and how big. We have every reason to expect we're going to be seeing more space weather in the coming years, and it behooves us to be smart and be prepared.”
Our thankfulness, scientists, for these insights into the significant implications of what could be increasingly dangerous solar activity. May we heed such potentially catastrophic occurrences as reminders to protect ourselves through more uplifting, eco-conscious lifestyles. At the request of Supreme Master Television staff in Los Angeles, California, USA, during an October 2010 videoconference, Supreme Master Ching Hai explained the cause of solar flares, and humanity's ability to significantly worsen or improve such events.