Monday, 21 March 2011

Solar storms affect life on Earth

Solar “wind” carries particles out past us with such force that it drags our atmosphere out like a streamer of hair blowing in the wind. Solar “storms” or electromagnetic flare ups caused by sun spot activity can crash sensitive electronic equipment here on Earth.
They also give rise to intense aurora displays near the poles, where the whole night sky lights up with a colored, hissing glow, caused by the bombarding of Earth with charged particles. Nearby observers can often detect the characteristic smell of electrical crackling (ozone).
That same solar weather can affect us biologically. In fact carefully monitored statistics show that whenever there are active solar flares, motor accidents, hospital admissions for psychiatric disturbance and heart disease rise dramatically. This is hardly surprising, since we are delicately balanced electronic tuners. We are, in effect, a collagen body acting like a liquid crystal system (just like the LCD display in your wristwatch).
Coherence is one of the most important of all biological characteristics, that separates us from the background “noise” of this extremely active EMF environment of Earth. It is easily disturbed and we will inevitably malfunction with the effects of a violent electromagnetic storm. Normally we are protected by the Van-Allen belts in the upper layers of the atmosphere, and by an effect called the Lorentz force, which deflect electrically charged particles. But even these protective barriers can be overcome, if the extra-terrestrial disturbance is big enough.
Now a recent NASA study has shown just how violent so-called “solar weather” can be. Past storms, like the one in March 1989 when six million people in Quebec lost power for 9 hours. Ground currents induced during the geomagnetic storm actually melted the copper windings of transformers in the power distribution system. If it can do that to giant equipment, what can it do to us?
The trouble is that the wide network of sprawling power lines act like antennas, picking up the currents and spreading the problem over a wide area.
According to the NASA report, power grids may be more vulnerable than ever. The problem is interconnectedness. In recent years, utilities have joined grids together to allow long-distance transmission of low-cost power to areas of sudden demand. On a hot summer day in California, for instance, people in Los Angeles might be running their air conditioners on power routed from Oregon. It makes economic sense—but not necessarily geomagnetic sense. Interconnectedness makes the system susceptible to wide-ranging "cascade failures."
The biggest solar storm so far recognized took place in August-September 1859, and was named the Carrington Event, after British astronomer Richard Carrington who witnessed the instigating solar flare with his unaided eye while he was projecting an image of the sun on a white screen. Next day, geomagnetic activity triggered by the solar explosion electrified telegraph lines, shocking technicians and setting their telegraph papers on fire! Northern Lights spread as far south as Cuba and Hawaii; auroras over the Rocky Mountains were so bright, the glow woke campers who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning.
Not all events are equal, meaning the type of radiation received is critical. In 1972 a huge solar outburst took place, which caused concern because it happened during the Apollo program when astronauts were going back and forth to the Moon regularly. At the time, the crew of Apollo 16 had just returned to Earth in April while the crew of Apollo 17 was preparing to depart. Luckily, everyone was safely on Earth when the sun went haywire.
They keep saying we are “safe” down here. But how safe it that?
I located a study which compared the biology of the Carrington event and the 1972 flare and tried to assess the danger to life. In fact more protons (alpha waves) per sq. cm. of body surface were received in the later event but the Carrington event shed more “hard” radiation, meaning penetrating gamma rays (equivalent).
In terms of effects, I found the following factors definitely influenced by Earth’s geomagnetic activity (GMA). There are probably many more effects yet to be documented):
Higher hospital cardiovascular and cerebro-vascular accident mortality
Higher number of deaths of outpatients from acute myocardial infarction (heart attack)
Higher diastolic blood pressure in healthy blood donors and hypertensive patients
Higher number of blood platelets, prothrombin index, and platelet aggregation (risk of coronary thrombosis)
Greater human blood plasma viscosity (also risk of clotting)
on unsettled (II) and
Higher levels on human prolactin and 17-ketosteroid levels 
Higher levels of human growth
More severe migraine headaches
Significantly more frequent heart rhythm disturbances – surpraventricular and ventricular extrasystoles as detected with the electrocardiogram (ECG)
A higher number of sudden cardiovascular deaths (follows from previous factors)
A greater involvement of the inferior wall of the heart than the anterior wall in acute myocardial infarction
The anterior/inferior wall ratio increases with the level of the GMA.
Quite a list. I have also remarked on the noted increase in car accidents and in hospitalizations due to psychiatric disturbances.
So there is no question these solar storms do affect us, probably more that we realize.

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