Geomagnetic storm to hit Earth tomorrow - should you be anxious?

James Marshall
March 13, 2018

Updated | Some media outlets have reported that Earth is expecting a "massive magnetic storm" on March 18.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an organization that predicts weather on Earth and space.

NOAA did warn of a minor geomagnetic storm which will barely reach a minor G1 out of G5 threshold on March 18.

The magnetic storm's "imminent" arrival was one of Monday morning's top science news stories, according to Google News.

This scale is based in part on an index created from the amount of magnetic deviation a storm might produce on the ground combined with measurements of a variety of currents with fabulous names, including the "auroral electrojets" and the "field-aligned current".

What is a magnetic storm?

Geomagnetic storms are caused by high levels of radiation which are shot by intense solar events like Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) or other solar events.

'A geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth, ' said the Space Weather Prediction Center. When compared to 1859, yet another similarly intense storm was seen in 2012 which disrupted power grids, however, it was not too risky since it flyby near Earth with a margin of nine days. Depending on the solar wind conditions, the storms can last for several hours or even days.

A enormous hole has opened up in the sun and spewed out a massive stream of radiation that's now heading towards Earth.

What are the hazards of magnetic storms?

Solar flares can cause space weather, which can disrupt telecommunications and power grids on Earth.

In the past, large-scale geomagnetic events have played havoc with communication satellites, and caused blackouts.

Effects were so strong that, in some cases, telegraph wires delivered shocks to operators and ignited fires, and aurorae-phenomena usually only visible in polar regions-were seen as far south as Hawaii, Mexico, Cuba, and Italy.

The largest recorded geomagnetic storm, referred to as the Carrington Event, struck in September 1859.

Magnetic storms aren't so rare.

Still convinced the world will be cast into darkness on March 18?

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