Not much is generally known about solar storms, but researchers from Lund University in Sweden have made some revealing findings. Their study discovered the occurrence of an additional solar storm. They have also found evidence that suggests that these storms may have a far greater impact than previously thought.
Evidence of a Third Solar Storm
Solar storms, or solar flares, happen when a disturbance on the sun causes a sudden flash of brightness. During this phenomenon, the sun may release high-energy particles in what is known as a coronal mass ejection. The effects of these storms range but include different space weather patterns.
Before the research from Lund University, there were only two known cases of massive solar storms. In modern times, solar storms happened in 1989 in Quebec, Canada, and in 2003 in Malmö, Sweden. The impact of these incidents included severe power cuts. Researchers have been exploring the extent of solar storms for the last 70 years. It has become apparent that these solar flares can pose a great risk on the planet—one that we are not prepared for. Communication systems, the electrical grid, and satellite and air traffic may also suffer greatly as a result.
The researchers have learned of a third solar storm that happened in 660 BCE. To find this out, they drilled ice cores from Greenland. The ice samples came from ice that formed over thousands of years and therefore contained evidence of the previous solar storm. Two additional massive solar storms occurring in 775 and 994 CE were also confirmed using ice cores and growth rings from very old trees.
Solar storms are very rare, but another could have a great impact on society. Observations of the last two solar storms have been the basis of risk assessment activities. With evidence of the third storm, it’s time to have a relook at all the evidence according to Raimund Muscheler who was part of the latest study.