Geomagnetic Storms In Space Weather

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Introduction Geomagnetic storm is an important phenomenon in space weather. Space weather includes activities on the sun, and their associated effects on the Earth (Hong Kong Observatory, 2004). Geomagnetic storms can disrupt technology, from telecommunication to electricity, the backbone of all technology. With more sophisticated and widespread use of technology, geomagnetic storm becomes more threatening to us. In this essay, I will first discuss the basics of geomagnetic storms, including their origin, mechanism and processes, in the later parts I will talk about the potential effects of geomagnetic storms on Earth’s atmosphere and human activities. What is Geomagnetic Storm? Geomagnetic storm is a disturbance of Earth’s magnetosphere…show more content…
In fact, the strength of geomagnetic storms depends on several factors. First of all, for geomagnetic storms to occur, the ejecta has to hit the Earth in the first place. CME or stream that originate on the backside of the sun will result in no geomagnetic storm as the ejecta moves away from the Earth. Even when the event occurs on the front side of the sun, there is considerable chance that it will miss the Earth. From Cane et al. (2000), almost all CMEs that originate from more than 40 degrees east or west of the sun’s meridian did not encounter Earth, even those originates near the solar meridian have a significant chance to miss the Earth, probably passed through Earth’s north or…show more content…
Geomagnetic storms carry energetic charged particles, which can harm the electronics in the satellites when they come into contact. The charged particles can differentially charge the satellite, leading to discharge within the satellite, damaging them. Besides, ionospheric heating causes the upper atmosphere to expand. The result is that the upper atmosphere is being pushed up, and air density aloft is increased. This can reduce the lifetime of low-orbit satellites as higher air density creates increased drag on satellites, pulling them back to the earth slightly (Lanzerotti, 2001; NOAA, n.d.; USGS, 2016). An example is the Skylab space station. Launched in 1973, the station faced increased solar activity and crashed back to Earth in 1979 (Lanzerotti, 2001). Besides, the daylight side of Earth’s magnetosphere is pushed back during severe storms. The high-orbit satellites that rely on surrounding magnetic field to keep their orientation may find themselves out of Earth’s magnetosphere. The sudden change in nearby magnetic field direction may cause the satellites to flip, and this can lead to loss of connection between the satellite and the

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