St. Pat’s Day Greeted with Green Aurora, Severe Geomagnetic Storm

March 17th, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

A coronal mass ejection (CME) from the sun just arrived at Earth this morning, producing aurora and leading to severe geomagnetic storm conditions, with a Kp index of 8 now verified as of 10 a.m. EDT.

Here’s one aurora photo from Lake Superior Photo in Marquette, MI this morning, before the strongest portion of the CME arrived:

LSP-aurora-3-17-2015

You can also check out some of the latest photos posted at SpaceWeather.com’s Realtime Aurora Gallery.

According to NOAA, here are the expected impacts today:

Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 45 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.

Induced Currents – Possible widespread voltage control problems and some protective systems may mistakenly trip out key assets from the power grid. Induced pipeline currents intensify.

Spacecraft – Systems may experience surface charging; increased drag on low earth orbit satellites, and tracking and orientation problems may occur.

Navigation – Satellite navigation (GPS) degraded or inoperable for hours.

Radio – HF (high frequency) radio propagation sporadic or blacked out.

Aurora – Aurora may be seen as low as Alabama and northern California.


21 Responses to “St. Pat’s Day Greeted with Green Aurora, Severe Geomagnetic Storm”

Toggle Trackbacks

  1. Bob Weber says:

    The IMF (Bt) was 35nT earlier, with Bz as high as 28nT southward during that spike, with 600km/s solar wind speed. Hemispheric power at both poles went from 9 GW to 90 GW very quickly, triggering these auroras (hemispheric power is a function of solar wind speed & density). Oulu cosmic rays have sharply dropped during this CME-caused Forbush decrease.

  2. Francisco says:

    Keep getting notifications here. Too bad it started after sunrise….

    • Francisco says:

      Will be quite active for the next two days. I received a few Geomagnetic K-index of 8….. Aaaand overcast for the next two days! What is the point living up North if clouds coincide with Auroras?

  3. ossqss says:

    If anyone is interested. Here is the new and improved NOAA space weather site.

    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/

  4. ossqss says:

    I did not realize we got to G4 today. That doesn’t happen that often.

    http://services.swpc.noaa.gov/images/notifications-in-effect-timeline.png

  5. http://www.emsc-csem.org/#2

    Let’s compare geological activity prior to this K8 event which took place Mar. 17 to after the event and see what the data shows if anything.

  6. Mar 15 and Mar 16 show 9 quakes with magnitude 5.0 or higher and no earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.0 or higher.

  7. dave says:

    “spaceweather.com” has some lovely pictures of the aurora, taken from the Dalton Highway in Alaska, and picturing the sky through towering ice-clad trees.

  8. 2015-03-17 22:12:31.1
    40min ago
    1.72 N 126.46 E 60 6.2 MOLUCCA SEA
    2015-03-17 22:11:55.0

    We are off to a good start with a 6.2 mag quake in the Molucca Sea. Time will tell.

  9. ossqss says:

    I just got notice of a 6.6 Salvatore

  10. Aaron S says:

    Really a link between cme and earthquakes… im very curious.

  11. http://globalrumblings.blogspot.com/2011/03/japan-quake-corresponds-to-solar-flare.html

    I expect an uptick in geological activity due to the k8 geo magnetic storm.

    Ideally an AP INDEX less then 5 for several months with a spike to 250 or higher would make me more confident, but nevertheless this spike should result in some increase in geological activity over the next few weeks in contrast to the few weeks prior to this event.

  12. I saw the 6.2 quake. Total up to two earthquakes 6.0 or greater since the geomagnetic event. Never came across the 6.6 quake.

    It will be interesting to compare the total number of magnitude 5.0 earthquakes or better a few weeks leading up to the geomagnetic storm versus a few weeks since the storm and see if an increase has taken place.

    For my money I think the number of earthquakes magnitude 5.0 or better will be greater from Mar.17 -Mar.31 then they were from Mar.03-Mar.17.

    Also volcanic activity has to be watched.

    My reasoning is the tectonic plates are unstable to begin with so any added force no matter how slight might be just enough to give them that little added instability which pushes them over the edge.

  13. There were 46 earthquake events with a magnitude of 5.0 or greater from Mar. 03 to just before the geomagnetic event on Mar.17th.

  14. Gordon Robertson says:

    “Induced Currents – Possible widespread voltage control problems…”

    This is what needs to be checked as a cause of weather and climate change.

    Syun Akasofu pioneered studies in the solar wind and in his book he described induced electrical in our atmosphere, in the land and in the oceans.

    Some scientists are checking the effects of electrical currents in the atmosphere on water droplets. They think the currents may be helping ice to form on the droplets.

    It is already known that solar wind (protons and electrons ejected from the Sun) interferes with cosmic rays from elsewhere in space. Since cosmic rays are theorized to help with the formation of water droplets in the atmosphere that suggests the solar wind may be modulating the cosmic rays.

    See section on the atmosphere as an electric circuit:

    https://indico.cern.ch/event/52576/material/slides/0

    From the article:

    “Strong evidence for solar-climate variability, but no established mechanism. A cosmic ray influence on clouds is a leading candidate”.

  15. Gordon Robertson says:

    I was reading a book last night that claimed if you watch a sunset over a broad expanse of water where you can see the horizon, the last rays are green.

    Red in the northern lights is supposed to be related to oxygen in the upper atmosphere. Blue is supposedly related to nitrogen.

    http://ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/211.fall2000.web.projects/Christina%20Shaw/AuroraColors.html

  16. 43 EARTHQUAKES MAGNITUDE 5.0 OR HIGHER -since the geo-magnetic storm, through Mar. 27.

    My conclusion is I did not see a significant uptick in geological activity post the K8 event. There was some but that could be random in nature. Not enough of a difference to attribute it to the event.

    Why? Maybe because this happened during a solar maximum period of time?

    Time will tell going forward as more of these situations will likely come about.

  17. Maybe I should have waited to Mar.31 , as I called for originally before commenting, with all of the activity of late.

    Still I am going to reserve judgment for now. But this is encouraging the period Mar. 03-Mar 17 versus the period Mar 17-Mar 31.

    Ideally I think the sun needs to be in the depths of a prolonged solar minimum (AP index 5.0 or less) with then a storm of k8 magnitude or better taking place in order to realize the full potential effects.

    The AP index has been well above the 5.0 average.

    Still I am going to send a comparison next post.

  18. THE DATA AND WE ARE NOT TO THE END OF THE PERIOD WHICHIS MAR 31 MIDNIGHT.

    MAR. 03-MAR 17 46 EARTHQUAKES 5.0 OR HIGHER

    MAR.03- MAR 17 3 EARTHQUAKES 6.0 OR HIGHER

    MAR17-MAR. 30 62 EARTHQUAKES 5.0 OR HIGHER OVER 30% increase

    MAR17-MAR 30 8 EARTHQUAKES 6.0 OR HIGHER OVER 100% increase.