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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Geomagnetic storm could affect some satellite communications

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A notice recently circulated by the Health, Safety, Security and Environment Directorate (HSSE) at Qatar Foundation is warning of a possible disruption to some GPS and satellite communications due to a geomagnetic storm.

Based on a forecast from the US-run Space Weather Prediction Center, the HSSE says:

“The report states that a coronal mass ejection has taken place and any effects can be expected by “mid-morning” in America. This will be around 2200hrs – 2300hrs this evening, 24th January 2012 in Qatar.

It goes on to state that some international airlines have diverted planes on polar routes to alternative routes less likely to be effected.

This information is provided to permit anyone involved in experiments sensitive to radiation or satellite communication activities to be aware of the prediction and assess any consequences to their activities in a timely fashion.”

The HSSE notice, however, goes on to say:

“There is no reason whatsoever to cause people to be alarmed as there are no physical consequences anticipated and business should continue as normal.”

For its part, the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) is posting regular updates on its website and on Facebook.

Pictured above is an ultraviolet image capture of the current solar radiation storm, called a Coronal Mass Ejection. The following video is a SWPC animation showing when that storm could reach Earth, triggering a geomagnetic storm on the planet:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSuiAGfBaHk?rel=0]

At posting, the SWPC states that solar radiation storm is currently under way, and their revised estimate states the geomagnetic storm could start as early as 14 GMT (5pm in Qatar) today.

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