Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Can Solar Storms Cause Wildfires?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the only-the-sun-can-prevent-wildfires dept.

Earth 87

astroengine writes "In the wake of recent solar activity, some space cadets were very quick to point out a causal link between geomagnetic storms and the wildfires currently ravaging the landscape surrounding Moscow. Of course, this is patently false. But is there a scenario when the onset of a solar storm could have secondary effects, sparking fires in already arid regions? Possibly. What's more, it already happened, 150 years ago."

cancel ×

87 comments

first post (-1, Offtopic)

PrimordialSoup (1065284) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234030)

first post!

Re:first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234280)

first post!

Frosty piss - It's water from your dick, nigga!

Does not compute (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234044)

this is patently false ... Possibly ... it already happened

Re:Does not compute (2, Informative)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234220)

Explanation for the hard of comprehending:

this is patently false

The current wildfires in Russia were not caused by solar storms.

Possibly

There is a scenario where solar storms could potentially start fires.

it already happened

The scenario has occurred, but didn't result in fires that time.

Re:Does not compute (3, Informative)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234476)

The scenario has occurred, but didn't result in fires that time.

Except that this statement is false. There's newspaper reports from all over he US from the latter parts of 1859 of wildfires happening all over the place. Because the US had just covered itself in this really neat continent-sized antenna (the telegraph network) which was throwing sparks all over the place (feel free to peruse the references in this paper [leif.org] ).

Re:Does not compute (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234544)

The scenario has occurred, but didn't result in fires that time.

Except that this statement is false. There's newspaper reports from all over he US from the latter parts of 1859 of wildfires happening all over the place. Because the US had just covered itself in this really neat continent-sized antenna (the telegraph network) which was throwing sparks all over the place (feel free to peruse the references in this paper [leif.org] ).

Still everyone wants to ridicule the Electric [thunderbolts.info] Universe [thunderbolts.info] Theory [thunderbolts.info] . Can you at least humor it and see if it explains a thing or two before looking down your nose at it? Y'know, in the spirit of dispassionate inquiry.

About the telegraph lines. The "solar wind" (that's the mechanical description of it) is the flow of charged particles from the sun. Charged particles that are in motion is the very definition of an electric current. That's just a fact. The Earth is built like a gigantic leaky capacitor with a negatively charged ionosphere, an insulating/dielectric layer of air and a positively charged ground. When electric current from the sun exceeds the normal input due to solar storms it's not a surprise that this current will especially affect conductive cables. The longer the cables the more they are affected since they are good conductors and the charge is measured in terms of volts per square meter.

It's a shame that these days "Electric Universe" has become the new "conspiracy theory", triggering an instantaneous holier-than-thou ridicule from people who are not familiar with it and have never seriously studied it. It's the opposite of terms like "for the children" or "to fight terrorism" that instantly inspire an equally irrational level of adamand support. If you can overcome the hypnotic knee-jerk of the emotional burdens other people have wrongly placed on such terms, you achieve what is known as thinking for yourself. Good day.

Re:Does not compute (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234676)

It's a shame that these days "Electric Universe" has become the new "conspiracy theory", triggering an instantaneous holier-than-thou ridicule from people who are not familiar with it and have never seriously studied it.

No scientist has any obligation to study each new theory that someone publishes. If they did that they wouldn't have any time left to do science. That's why there are scientific publications that are "peer reviewed".

When someone sends a paper to one of those magazines, the editor first checks the sender's credentials, to make sure he has done the preliminary work to study enough of the matter to get a degree, then he sends a copy of the paper to someone who knows enough of the subject to form an opinion.

If you want to publish an entirely new and revolutionary theory, like that "electric universe" thing, well, the burden of the proof is with you. It's not enough that your theory explains a grass fire that happened in 1859. Your theory also has to explain everything else that "conventional" physics (i.e. what's in peer researched papers) explain.

The "electric universe" isn't viewed as a "conspiracy theory" by scientists. It's just another of those thousands of theories that fail to explain the known facts of the universe.

Re:Does not compute (3, Funny)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234920)

I just can't believe that those damn scienticians keep rejecting the Time Cube Universe. Clearly there must be a conspiracy in the journals to prevent Mr. Ray from publishing his groundbreaking discoveries.

Re:Does not compute (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236540)

It's because they are all educated evil. They are paid to teach a propaganda book - not Cube Truth - for which they would be fired. Evil teachers betray students, as ONE is a Death Value.

Not that it helped, since Mr. Ray has published his four-cornered day theory.

Re:Does not compute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33239590)

No scientist has any obligation to study each new theory that someone publishes.

That's not what I addressed and you would know that if you read what I said. I agree no one has any obligation to study anything. That's why I never said that they did. You can see how simple that is, no?

All I am saying is that if you have not thoroughly studied a particular theory you should not make judgments about its validity. That's reasonable enough. Time after time I see people denigrate the Electric Universe theory who make patently false statements about it. It is obvious they have never looked at even its most basic premises.

That is not science. That is stupidity. Defend it if you will.

Re:Does not compute - Peer reviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33262746)

Typically there are 2-3 reviewers and the editor acts as a referee.

If the author(s) can't satisfy all the reviewers' concerns, the editor can step in and mediate. The peers selected should be familiar enough with the specific subject enough to review. On occasion, there have been cases where the selected reviewer lacks sufficient knowlege to peer review the journal submission. This can drastically slow down the resubmittalm process. In these cases the editor is asked to step in.

A recent trend I have seen is the editor will request a list of experts from the submitting authors.

Wheather the reviewers are selected from a list or from the general readership of the journal, the authors names are kept from the those reviewing the submission. Only the editor knows for certain.

Once all the concerns are addressed, then the paper is usually accepted for publication.

Re:Does not compute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33235046)

Or it's just a terribly worded summary. Don't defend the indefensible.

Re:Does not compute (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234626)

See, astroengine knows that it's "patently false". Know why? Cuz he set the fricking fire.

Course, the dolt doesn't realize that it's the solar flare that triggered the sequence of signals in his brain leading him to commit the act.

Oh the convoluted chain of life.

Re:Does not compute (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236076)

Course, the dolt doesn't realize that it's the solar flare that triggered the sequence of signals in his brain leading him to commit the act.

I was thinking along similar lines - I'm sure Russia has its fair share of crackpots and plenty of vodka as a bonus.

Nutters are the duct tape of causality.

Of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234054)

But the likelihood is probably lower than the author of this fluff piece making significant ad revenue off traffic from slashdot.

Re:Of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234176)

Isn't everyone here running adblock? The ad revenue from /. shouldn't really be that much...

Re:Of course! (1)

rtyhurst (460717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235738)

Oh yeah?

"Intense solar flares release very-high-energy particles that can cause radiation poisoning to humans (and mammals in general) in the same way as low-energy radiation from nuclear blasts."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_storm [wikipedia.org]

I'll be heading to the basement with my tinfoil hat on while you "skeptics" get burnt to a crisp!

Re:Of course! (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236798)

Great! This summer, my best suntan ever!

lightning, arson and others are more likey (2, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234066)

lightning, arson and others are more likely

Re:lightning, arson and others are more likey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234108)

U likey arson 2?

Re:lightning, arson and others are more likey (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234200)

Yeah. In this corner, weighing in at "I guess it *might* not be impossible", is the Solar Storm theory.

And in this corner, weighing in at 100% certainty are the tag-team of cigarette-smoking russians, lightning, campfires, accidents, and deliberate arson.

The call every parent dreads (5, Funny)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234944)

Sir, your sun has been arrested for arson.

The worst part was that he did it during a coronal mass ejection. That makes it a sex crime.

Re:The call every parent dreads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33249418)

If only there were a way to find out where this sex offender is - at least during the day. Perhaps using a glowing light or something.

Re:lightning, arson and others are more likey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33235438)

there's more to lightning than the part you see below the clouds
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper-atmospheric_lightning [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprite_(lightning) [wikipedia.org]
maybe the lightning is sometimes caused by the solar storms, hence the "solar storms can cause fires" thing

Re:lightning, arson and others are more likey (2, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236516)

An even more likely explanation for the fires to get this big, is the fact that Putin fired a lot of firefighters and forest guards a few years ago. All the fire lanes that kept the forests compartmentalized are now gone, and that allows forest fires to get this far out of control.

Re:lightning, arson and others are more likey (4, Insightful)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236970)

That and apparently during those early lusty Soviet times, there was a grand vision to power the USSR and Moscow in particular with peat. Peat is in bogs. To burn it you have to get the water out. So they drained the bogs. Fast forward to the latter Soviet times when natural gas was discovered (no, I'm not talking about Politburo speeches) and a half century of Communist WTF 5 year projects caught up with them. So they dropped the peat idea and started cooking with gas. That was all nice and tidy but no one wanted to go back and rewater the bogs. Now, a bit of global warming, a bit of La Nina, a bit of nasty drought...add some lightning, dumb Russians tossing their cigarette butts in the bogs, etc. and we have the spectacle of Putin pushing a button on a fire plane to drop a giant raindrop of water to show his solidarity with the proles.

The only reason the bogs didn't attempt to kill the Russians before was the amount of rainfall they normally receive which put out the bog fires they normally have. That works fine until you have a drought, and even more Russian screwups like you mentioned.

Re:lightning, arson and others are more likey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33249444)

In Russia, if a firefighter gets fired, he has no better way to show his services are needed than to burn all of Russia down...

Power lines. (4, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234078)

Here in Oz power lines are a major cause of bushfires without any help from solar flares.

Re:Power lines. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234184)

Mechanism? Just shorting out or something more interesting?

Re:Power lines. (2, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234400)

Mostly mundane; strong wind + not so strong trees. IIRC about 1/3 of all our bushfires are caused by power lines.

Re:Power lines. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234456)

Maybe if Australians trimmed back their bushes back more there would be less burning sensation to deal with. Or you could try a good crab shampoo.

Re:Power lines. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234674)

Actually, if the enviromental nazis just let controlled burns continue like the natives practiced for millenia (ie. if we 'trimmed our bush') we wouldn't have the magnitude of devestation that hits so often.

Re:Power lines. (4, Insightful)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236072)

Actually, if the enviromental nazis ...

Who are these Nazis?

just let controlled burns continue

Whoever these Nazis are, they seem to have far less power than you imagine. Controlled burns are proceeding everywhere. We just had a swathe of bush backing onto our place burnt a few months ago, thank you RFS. Do you live in the city or something?

we wouldn't have the magnitude of devestation [sic.] that hits so often

Well how you explain the Victorian fires then? Taking into consideration the intensive hazard reduction campaign undertaken in the year leading up to them.

Could the frequency of extreme fire events during the last decade have had anything to do with that much of SW-Australia was in one of the -- if not the --deepest and most prolonged droughts in history? Could it have had anything to do with record breaking spells of hot weather --especially in Victoria, where Melbourne not only recorded it's single hottest temperature on record, but where the state recorded it's longest run of extreme heat? ... low humidity? ...

Oh gosh, how silly of me, it was the Nazis! Of course.

MODS (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236634)

WTF? The parent post is "flamebait" and the GP is "insightful"???

As someone who has lived in both city and country Victoria for half a century I would say the parent is informative and the GP is a know nothing bogon [youtube.com] .

Aside from the acurate points in the parent post, natives did not control burn mountain forests as the GP claims. They lit uncontrolled fires in grasslands, purely for hunting purposes.

Re:MODS on crack (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236738)

I could have added that the most devastating events involved crown fires, which don't respect our puny attempts at burning off.

Now it may have been true that too little hazard reduction had been undertaken in the years leading up to the first in the series of truly horrific seasons, the summer of 2000-01. But, at least where I live, that all changed pretty quickly thereafter (along with the building codes). And there was an day this winter when the Sydney CBD was choked with smoke from burning in the Blue Mountains. So even if you never left Sydney you couldn't be unaware that lost of burning off is being conducted over winter.

At least he didn't call hazard reduction "back-burning," and I have to admit it did give me a bit of a chuckle that of all mods "Flamebait" was used.

Re:Power lines. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33242460)

The comment you replied to is just a conservative talk radio meme. It's repeated regularly. There's a whole bunch of other memes which are just as silly and never questioned. It's always funny to see them repeated on Slashdot by someone who clearly listens to too much talk radio.

Re:Power lines. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240106)

You mean the environmental Nazis that prosecute companies for poisoning our air and water? Dumbass.

Re:Power lines. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33260316)

You mean the environmental Nazis that prosecute companies for poisoning our air and water?

Not to mention that these the environmental Nazis that were warning 25 years ago that we need to move renewable energy sources or risk a warming planet with disturbed weather patterns such as increasing drought and ... ahem ... more forest fires.

Look OP obviously lives in a place where environmental Nazis run the show and are able to dictate whether or not controlled burns (and probably a host of other things) are allowed or not. I guess the reason he hasn't responded is that he got that knock on the door, and was taken by goose-step marching enviro-goons to the nearest "re-education" center to be ground up into tiny fertilizer pellets.

Re:Power lines. (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234932)

I'm sorry, but I think Oz itself is a major cause of bushfires. When a bucket of water left out in the sun causes your back-yard to catch fire, you might want to consider blaming the locale.

Re:Power lines. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236678)

So where should I move to? - Moscow?

Re:Power lines. (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33237046)

Depends on what you're looking for. Good beer and great women? Stay there! A less flammable environment? I dunno ... hell?

Re:Power lines. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33241104)

You just made me spray beer over my woman, thanks for the laugh. :)

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234082)

In Soviet Russia, forests burn YOU!

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234840)

In Soviet Russia, forests burn YOU!

It's even happening in post-soviet Russia.

Re:Obligatory (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#33238138)

I think you made the mistake of using this good old favourite meme in an inappropriate way - i.e. with it making sense for once.

SOHO Explorer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234144)

My SOHO Explorer widget clearly shows multiple solar flares, so it wouldn't surprise me if we see some elevated wildfire activity.

Wildfires = global warming (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234168)

There has just been so much global warming because of global warming pollution like CO2 and the earth has heated up and temperature averages are at a record high, that's drying up the land and causing wildfires. It's not solar storms.

(Ignore, of course, the fact that global warming is only a theory at this point, but whatever.)

Re:Wildfires = global warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234198)

Back, vile troll!

Re:Wildfires = global warming (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234214)

assignment or equality?

Re:Wildfires = global warming (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234912)

Assignment... people stopped caring about wildfires, so it's just being replaced with Global Warming...

Recent reports state that Global Warming is spreading across Russia, some people are worried this years Global Warming season in California could result in the most Global Warmings to date.

Re:Wildfires = global warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234948)

assignment or equality?

Well it's neither, it's a return value. I.e. 'wildfires' is an element in the set which is returned by the function globalWarming().

Declare war on the Sun! (5, Funny)

vmxeo (173325) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234190)

I've had just about enough of this "Sun". First, we've learned it's to blame for global warming, now it's setting fires throughout the world. Why, why does it hate our liberties? How many innocents must die of skin cancer before someone acts? How many children must we let it burn on metal playground equipment? When will it strike you with sunburn in your very own backyard?? The world must stand up to this terrorism! We must strike fast and we must strike hard! All good men must stand up and demand the world governments strike with the biggest atomic - no, hydrogen bomb and wipe this great evil from the sky above!!!

Urge your leaders to act now before it is to late! Think of the children!

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (3, Informative)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234270)

Super man already tried and failed to destroy the sun with atomic weapons.

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33235032)

That's why he said h-bomb. He thought of everything.

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235378)

CrazyJim! You're losing your edge! That was actually clever and funny. Where's the crazy?!

Tell us about your comic about the guy with rocket-katanas! Tell us how you single-handedly invented every single popular video game!

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (1)

cjunca (828761) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236322)

Super man already tried and failed to destroy the sun with atomic weapons.

Samantha Carter dit it (yes, it was not our sun but still). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus_(Stargate_SG-1) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (1)

VoidCrow (836595) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236490)

In general, Stargate was very cool, but that episode stank like a Pak'marah with dysentery.

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236818)

Super man already tried and failed to destroy the sun with atomic weapons.

So nuking from orbit isn't the only way to be sure?

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (1)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234422)

YES!! that damn metal slide, I HATED IT

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234472)

Commence plan to set fire to the Sun!

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234608)

Schthink of the children!

Fixed that bug, Can I take tomorrow off . . . . ?

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235810)

We did take action... back in '81 at WUSTL. If anyone from WUGS is hanging around here... Remember the SOTS campaign?

Stamp Out The Sun!!

Because any amount of radiation is dangerous.

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33236208)

Mr. Burns paraphrase: "Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun."

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (1)

Mathness (145187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236778)

We should also have a stiff word or two with Oracle, they didn't see this coming and they bought Sun recently (possible cover up!).

Re:Declare war on the Sun! (1)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | more than 3 years ago | (#33238092)

No, they're Oracle, so they've seen much more than anyone else. This is just some secret scheme. They distract us with strange stunts, like suing Google, while Sun accumulates enough heat to FRY THE WHOLE EARTH! Devious plan, it is.

Yes, it goes like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234408)

"Of course, this is patently false. But is there a scenario when the onset of a solar storm could have secondary effects, sparking fires in already arid regions?"

Yes, it goes like this. Solar storm causes blackout, blackout causes poor uneducated people to light candles and propane heaters, candles and heaters cause fires and carbon monoxide deaths.

more likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33234434)

wildfires cause solar flares

Gee, I thought it was George W Bush's fault (0, Flamebait)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234446)

Or maybe Nancy Pelosi caused it...

It all depends on which wing of the bird you sit on.

Re:Gee, I thought it was George W Bush's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33236458)

I blame the Jews.

Wait, WHAT? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234498)

So their logic is that the telegraph (so phone, now?) lines can get overwhelmed and break, sparking fires?

Wow, that seems like a long way to go. (For one thing, I think that phone and power lines have more protection on them now. You might overload a transformer or even take down an entire grid, but I should think widespread sparking would be uncommon. They'd have had problems all over in Canada already, if not.)

Re:Wait, WHAT? (1)

Gazoogleheimer (1466831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33236308)

It can be an issue on very large transmission lines...however telecom lines all have protection against this sort of thing.

But (2, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234530)

If it causes fires on earth, it might singe Uranus too.

No greehouse gasses cause wildfires (0, Flamebait)

xmorg (718633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33234848)

All wildfires are caused by C02 being released in teh atmosphere by your car and your breath and your farts. So be sure to sniff your own farts, because only you can prevent forest fires.

22 year solar cycle linked to droughts (1)

R80_JR (1094843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235490)

NASA SP-426, "Sun, Weather, and Climate, 1978m John R. Herman and Richard A. Goldberg, republished 1985 by Dover Publications, Inc. Section 3.2 talks about correlations with the 22 year Hale Solar Cycle (the 11 year cycles have alternate polarity). Rainfall and drought are the first two mentioned..... not exactly the solar storm, but still the sun

Re:22 year solar cycle linked to droughts (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 3 years ago | (#33238298)

Correlation does not imply causation. There are a boatload of other factors that take place. This planet used to be very lush with rain forests. And with the ever increasing population of man on this planet, and our need to destroy without care, lower rainfall amounts and drought are more likely to occur. So as we lose more and more forest / rain forests the correlations will appear to be more and will be naturally lead people to believe that it is causeation.

what are americans thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33235800)

First they put stuff in our drinking water that creates rainbows http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c6HsiixFS8 and now they are causing so much pollution that it reaches the sun! well possibly but the facts are there.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33235946)

This brings my mind an another story that was on Slashdot some time ago
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7819201/Nasa-warns-solar-flares-from-huge-space-storm-will-cause-devastation.html

doomsday (0)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#33235964)

It's happened many times before. Of particularly interesting note are the legends of "the gods" from various societies which have arisen shortly after periods of relatively poor advancement.

The solar storms output huge amounts of radiation - electromagnetic as well as other frequencies. Being as the earth is, essentially, a large (but significantly smaller than the sun) magnet, the interference with the Earth's magnetic/electrical field will quite certainly have observable effects: increased/more intense storm activity, more geologic disturbances (volcanoes, earthquakes, etc.) and so on.

When it comes down to it, it's all just a complex series of positively and negatively charged ions: when a positive or negative charge is applied from outside the system, weird things are going to happen.

Seems very unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33236480)

It is a well-known fact that unlensed sunrays cannot ignite ordinary newspaper, not even in the middle of the summer. That is the reason why we can have newpapers printed on such flimsy material. Any kind of wood or plant would be more difficult to ignite due to their moisture content.

Nuclear bombs, which ignited paper, wood and fuel in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 65 years ago, were about 1000x times brighter than our Sun, making any kind of solar-flare related wildfire claim highly unlikely.

Not to mention a star bright enough and close enough to ignite material on Earth, would probably fry our brains with various particulate and non-particulate radiation, making the whole wildfire question moot. Cockroaches will likely rule the planet, since they have no brain, per se.

Wait! What about Evolution? (1)

Wormfoud (1749176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33237716)

Wait a second before we destroy the Sun! What if these CMEs and radiation caused the mutations which differentiated our species? We could be risking future evolutionary improvements by removing this source for modifying DNA. Of course, we could start a government sponsored project to randomly administer bursts of mutating radiation in the hopes of creating a better species.... Oh wait, never mind, we already have cellphones.

Wrong title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33238550)

The correct title is 'at what intensity can solar storms cause wildfires, and how often do storms of this intensity occur.'

In case of massive CME how do you protect elect... (1)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 3 years ago | (#33238630)

Let's say there is another massive CME, or one even more massive than the one in 1859. How would you protect your electronics? Would you shove them into anti-static bags? Would they need to be (nearly) air tight, or would it be sufficient to just drape the bags over things? Would that would work for hard drives, cell phones, and if you had some large enough, PCs as well? What about data centers? Obviously, unplugging them would be a requirement, too.

Re:In case of massive CME how do you protect elect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33245006)

Protection is very simple: you don't connect your electronics to miles-long antennas. It takes quite a distance (say, a hundred-mile-long telegraph wire) for a solar storm to build up a worthwhile voltage. A campus-wide Ethernet network might be big enough to fry a few network cards, and the cable network is certainly large enough to fry your modem, but for the most part, home electronics are not at risk.

The big risk is to things like the electricity transmission network itself. At the very least, a Carrington-class event will trip every circuit breaker the power company's got; at the worst, there'll be transformers blowing up all over the place.

Logic Errors (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#33240002)

You can have "Possibly."

OR "What's more, it already happened, 150 years ago."

Either it may have happened 150 years ago, which would be "Possibly" or did which would be "Yes."

abusing a meme (1)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33241644)

Ummmm... In Soviet Russia the wildfires start solar flares?

Lightning and solar storms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33241802)

Lightning definitively is one of the most important causes of wildfires. It is an interesting question to ponder about whether
solar storms have some effect on the frequency of lightings. One can think of, for example, some mechanism (ionization) which makes some weather phenomena with lots of ground reaching lightnings more likely.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...