How the geomagnetic storm that hit Earth could unleash more hurricanes – Daily Mail

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It has already caused radio blackouts and GPS disruptions.

Now a new study suggests the solar storm that hit Earth last week could unleash a wave of hurricanes. 

The team used a model that looked at tropical cyclone activity over the past 5,500 years and found 11 time periods when there were 40 percent more storms than usual.

They found that these time periods had one thing in common: the sun was teeming with activity

The theory is that when the sun is more active, it sends more energy to Earth that warms up the oceans and provides fuel for tropical storms.

The news comes as America is already in midst of hurricane season that is poised to be a record breaker – there are at least 20 named storms set to hit the nation.

When the sun is active it launches power flares of energized particles shooting through space.

And as they hit Earth, the particles bring the suns energy along that heats up our oceans – providing fuel for tropical storms. 

The theory is that when the sun is more active, it sends more energy to Earth that warms up the oceans and provides fuel for tropical storms.

A solar or geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth’s magnetosphere – the area around Earth controlled by the planet’s magnetic field.

And last Friday’s  storm has been rated ‘G4’ (on a scale of one to five), making it a ‘severe’ storm.’

‘Geomagnetic storms can impact infrastructure in near-Earth orbit and on Earth’s surface,’ the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shared in a statement last Thursday, stating how the storm could ‘potentially [disrupt] communications, the electric power grid, navigation, radio and satellite operations.

Lead study author Yang Wang from Florida State University told DailyMail.com that she could not predict whether the recent intense solar activity  would lead to more tropical cyclones this year.

The solar activity, or total solar irradiance (TSI), used in the study was determined using carbon in tree rings.

When the sun’s activity weakens, a type of carbon called carbon-14 increases in the atmosphere – and these changes can be seen in the tree rings, which absorb carbon in the air.

The reason was that when the sun is more active, it sends more energy to Earth that warms up the oceans and provides fuel for tropical storms

The study comes as the sun hit our planet with a geomagnetic storm last week, which caused radio blackouts, and one day after the star released its most powerful flare in nearly two decades that triggered disruptions over the US on May 14 (pictured)

Researchers collected sediment cores near Mullet Pond and Eastern Lake, located in the northeastern region of the Gulf to identify storms over the course of thousands of years

Lead study author Yang Wang from Florida State University told DailyMail.com: ‘The role of solar activity in modulating tropical cyclone activity is complex.

‘Increased solar irradiance [the power of solar radiation per unit area it hits] contributes to warming the oceans.

‘As oceans warm, they have more energy available to be converted to tropical cyclone wind, thus potentially providing more favorable conditions for developing stronger storms.’

The solar activity (red), or total solar irradiance (TSI) was determined using carbon in tree rings.

The team used a model that looked at tropical cyclone activity (blue) over the past 5,500 years and found 11 time periods when there were 40 percent more storms (orange/yellow) than usual

The team reconstructed a 5,500-year-long storm record for the northeastern Gulf of Mexico region, and compared the simulation to carbon captured by tree rings to determine solar events throughout the years.

The solar activity, or total solar irradiance (TSI), was determined using carbon in tree rings. 

When the sun’s activity weakens, a type of carbon called carbon-14 increases in the atmosphere – and these changes can be seen in the tree rings, which absorb carbon in the air.

Professor Wang and her team found there were 19 hurricanes in the Gulf region from the period of 14,10 to 820 years ago and 16 events from 60 years ago to 2016 – when the team began studying the Gulf region.

‘This statistically robust coherence of enhanced tropical cyclone activity with higher solar irradiance supports the concept that solar activity may be an important driver of climate variability and tropical cyclone activity through its influence on atmospheric circulation, ocean currents and sea surface temperatures,’ researchers wrote in the study.

 However, Professor Wang also noted that the sun’s energy can also warm the upper atmosphere, which reduces the difference in temperature between the surface and the upper atmosphere.

‘This not only weakens the vertical motion inside a developing tropical cyclone but also causes shifts in atmospheric circulation,’ she continued.

‘Our results suggest that a combination of high solar irradiance and other factors, including enhanced El Niño/Southern Oscillation, warmer sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, and positive phases of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, creates favorable conditions for tropical cyclone formation.

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