Solar Max (Legal Loophole?) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I found this curious piece on the NAS website at:

You'll have to visit the site to get the references.

Enjoy.. .

Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum

Chapter 3

Committee on Solar and Space Physics Space Studies Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Research Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Commission on Geoscience, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council


Satellite Drag

The solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) output is the primary factor contributing to the decay of satellite and space debris orbits due to frictional interaction with the upper atmosphere ("drag"). As the solar EUV emission increases with solar activity, its absorption heats the upper atmosphere and increases the densities of atoms and molecules at a satellite's altitude. Proxies such as the radio emission at 10.7 cm are currently used by satellite operators in commercial enterprises and national agencies to analyze and predict changes in the upper atmosphere and the resulting orbital evolution. These proxies have not proven very effective in making accurate predictions, owing to additional increases in satellite drag from flare and auroral zone heating of the atmosphere.

Orbital decay can cause loss of contact and special problems for space facilities such as the Hubble Space Telescope, which will require "boosts" to maintain altitude; it can also result in aborted missions. In addition, the ever-increasing collection of space debris1 that must be tracked can be redistributed by increased drag. Although understanding of the sources of solar EUV radiation has improved dramatically since the last solar maximum, the new models of EUV behavior are based on observations that have not been tested through a solar maximum, when the number and intensity of transient contributions greatly increase.2 The contribution of variable auroral zone heating to drag is similarly difficult to characterize. Meanwhile, the demand for information on satellite drag grows with each passing solar cycle, driven by the increased use of space-based communications and navigation systems and the necessity of long-term planning for spacecraft in low-altitude orbits.

Radio and Communications Interference

A solar maximum affects radio communications in several ways. Most directly, enhanced radio output from the Sun degrades the effective sensitivity of receiver systems linking to satellites near the Earth-Sun line. Historically, the dominant effect has been on long-range, short-wave communication, which depends on radio-wave reflection from the bottom of the ionosphere. Enhanced EUV and soft x-ray emissions change the electron density and gradients in the ionosphere, directly and profoundly affecting this reflection. The effects of enhanced irregularities that often accompany ionospheric disturbances are also of growing importance. The resulting increased scattering of satellite-to-ground ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) transmission, or scintillation, can seriously interfere with direct satellite communication links. Similarly, the variability in propagation conditions degrades the performance of global positioning system (GPS) receivers, very low frequency (VLF) communications systems, and over-the-horizon radars. These effects are of particular concern in the high-latitude regions of auroral activity, but they can also be severe in near-equatorial regions, where convective overturning and enhanced electron densities in the ionosphere can amplify the scintillations.

Satellite and Space Systems Hazards

Transient populations of energetic (MeV) protons, which enhance the Van Allen belt radiation for weeks to months following the arrival of a fast CME, potentially can affect the operation of spacecraft, including spacecraft in the highly populated geosynchronous orbit. For example, protons of these energies are known to contribute to single-event upsets in spacecraft electronics.3 Transient population protons can also reach higher latitudes than the typical inner radiation belt protons and may pose an additional radiation hazard to the crew of the International Space Station (ISS).4 Peak levels of extravehicular activity will occur during the construction phase of ISS, which coincides with the upcoming solar maximum. These energetic protons are not taken into account in models of inner-zone protons, which are based on data taken during the maxima of solar cycles 20 and 21 (which were relatively mild compared with the maxima of solar cycles 19 and 22).

The current prediction for the upcoming (cycle 23) solar maximum is that its activity level will be comparable to that of the previous solar maximum in 1989-1991.5 The transient populations produced by CME-generated interplanetary shocks were discovered only at the last solar maximum (and rediscovered to have occurred in preceding solar cycles that had had scant documentation), and so there is little calibrated predictive capability for the upcoming solar maximum. Earlier limited spacecraft coverage (both upstream in the solar wind and within the appropriate radiation belt region of the magnetosphere) supplied few constraints for dynamic models.

Power Grids

On March 13, 1989, the Hydro-Quebec Power System experienced a catastrophic failure resulting from its interaction with geomagnetically induced currents (GICs). The cause was probably the arrival of an interplanetary disturbance produced by a CME days earlier on the Sun. Although the Hydro-Quebec incident was the greatest problem of its kind during the previous solar maximum, less severe geomagnetic storms in September 1989 and October 1991 also created power system anomalies. In the Hydro-Quebec case, geomagnetic fluctuations had apparently coupled electromagnetically into the system, producing transformer saturation at many sites and causing voltages in the system to exceed safety margins. Widespread power blackouts that accompany such events produce a variety of problems. Oak Ridge National Laboratory assessed the potential impact of a widespread blackout in the Northeast United States as a result of a slightly more severe March 1989-type storm event. Its estimate of the impact to the gross domestic product alone put total economic costs in the $3 billion to $6 billion range,6 which is comparable to the damage caused by a major natural disaster such as Hurricane Hugo. The Northeast, in fact, was found to be particularly vulnerable to GICs. Protections can be installed, but it is impossible to completely protect an extensive power grid from GIC effects. However, evasive measures (such as rerouting the distribution) can be taken if there is sufficient warning and the power industry is prepared to respond.7

-- Zach Anderson (, August 03, 1999


Satellite drag,

Is that like when the occupants of the space station Mir decide to come out of the closet for a "girls night out on the town".

-- (ru-paul@in, August 03, 1999.

And the power companies learned some very valuable information from these how they can work to mitigate those failures from future solar events!!

Something bad happened.....they learned some good lessons.......

We've had this completely OT Solar activity crap posted here dozens of times now..........and I'm sure I'm not the only one who is SICK of reading it!!

It's more pure doomer bullshit to put it bluntly......nothing to do with the real world of Y2K.

This fits right in there with the 'Ebola' story, adds nothing to the Y2K debate other than to try and foster an air of fear and worry about the future. PUHLEASE, Give it a rest!!

-- Craig (, August 03, 1999.

I, for one, am happy to see this posting. While it is not directly Y2K is an additional factor to consider when evaluating potential problems. Loss or degradation of satellite communications, weather reporting, and/or surveillance satellites would cause disruption in my daily life.

-- Mad Monk (, August 03, 1999.


I must have been off the board on the day you were proclaimed to be a Y2K expert. You seem to enjoy sniveling a lot, why not stay over with the debunkers where you fit in so nicely. You are giving Canadians a bad image with your whining. Be a man and do the right thing...disappear!

-- For (, August 03, 1999.

Y2K wasn't mentioned once in this post. It just goes to show you that the forum moderators are UNABLE to do their job or only do it when it suits their agenda.

Since we hear from Chuck on a regular basis we have to assume that he has time to at least read the posts which makes the first part of the question inncorrect. They ARE able to do their job, but they only do it when it suits their particular agenda, which is to be "right" about the future.

-- (O.!@!.O), August 03, 1999.


Is it only the computer bug that has been written about, or is it a much bigger event? Many different things appear to be converging to push us over the cliff. I for one am interested in all of the diffent views represented on this forum. If I do not like the post, I do not bother reading the whole thing. That is the beauty of an electronic board like this. Take what you like, skip what you do not want.

All of these events shape the world I will have to live in and try to make a living in next year. I do not mind sifting through some chaff to get to the gems that make it to this board. Lots of heads up reporters out there!

-- helium (, August 03, 1999.

Dear For (must be afraid to use your real name huh!)

Obviously you don't have the brain capacity to distinguish between snivelling or making a good point.

The point was very clear and very valid. In the last few posts, we have had topics including Ebola, Solar flares and Black Helicopters!

Completely off topic shite and can only be there for one reason: the authors wish to propogate how baaaaaaaaad things are by naming every problem or potential problem that could possibly exist in order to bathe us all in an atmosphere of fear.........

Who named me a Y2k one, never professed to be an expert......however probably a hell of a lot more versed in it than you will ever be......FWIW I am involved with some Y2K work and am a programmer. Also been quoted a few times by our local paper in their articles on Y2K.....

And your credentials are ____________________.

Shit, your credibility is ZERO, never seen you write an article on y2k yet and you don't even have the balls to tell us who you are!!

-- Craig (, August 03, 1999.


If you have a problem with the subject of a thread, e-mail Chuck as he instructed. See if he agrees with you. But stop the whining.

I seem to recall a number of posts a while back, sprinkled in various threads, about some ridiculous "spoon" crap. Absolutely no redeeming Y2K value there.

-- Elbow Grease (LBO, August 03, 1999.


Craig is just a two-faced, mealy mouth polly, who thinks he is cute. You can find him all over the map on issues and usually lined-up with other well known butt wipes of his ilk. He just can't tear himself away from this forum because he has no real life to go to. Lonely little word wimp looking for attention and he gets it....get it?

-- For (, August 03, 1999.

I like having the information about solar flares. No need to repeat each time that communications are critical to getting through the Y2K period with some structure intact. The Y2K period, according to the US DoD, by the way, starts on 9/1/99--not too far off. Or is the DoD also a doomer group addicted to bad news. Hmm, actually that's possible...

In terms of information about ebola, yes, that's very much part of a worldwide disintegration scenario--should a Y2K 8 or higher come to pass, diseases will spead easily among a popuulation without good sanitation, proper nutrition, or good medical care.

-- Mara Wayne (, August 03, 1999.

Craig, i will confess to not being one with the spoon. read your e- mail, and Mara's post above. Chuck

who lurks and etc between 2300 and 0200 and between 0700 and 0900 .

-- Chuck, a night driver (, August 03, 1999.

"If you've been worried about what Y2K, the millenium bug could do to the nation's power grid, this could be worse. We're at the beginning of a peak sun-storm season, that comes once every 11 years." 134642&p_who=network

-- mabel (, August 04, 1999.

The above quote is from an article entitled "Solar Storm of the Century" from CBS News.

"This could be worse" than Y2K.

-- mabel (, August 04, 1999.

For my part, keep the information on the solar flares coming. They should reach their greatest intensity around the beginning of next year, so I don't see how they can be excluded from the y2k scenario, just as news of opportunistic terrorist attacks is relevant also.

We can't depend upon the news media to get information out, so we depend largely upon the boards.



-- gene (, August 04, 1999.

Solar max may seem off-topic to Y2K, but in my opinion it will become very relevant in 2000 and beyond. It is possible that solar max will begin causing disruptions (on whatever scale you wish to fathom) in 1999. Mass media will attempt to address the issue to whatever extent their reporters can understand science. In 2000, as the Y2K dominoes begin to fall, solar max will be increasing in concert. What PR team or legal staff of any large corporation (or what political spin doctor) will not be tempeted to use the by then well- publicized solar max (an "act of God") as at least a partial scapegoat for their own Y2K failures? Even with the newly limited liability, I suspect such scapegoating will be widespread, not only from a standpoint of outright deception but as a natural result of prevalent human denial. I expect Max to be very popular in 2000.

When determining whether a topic is germane to Y2K, we need to remember that Y2K is not just a technical problem but, as pollies have so rightly suggested, it is a problem of social perception as well.

Sorry for the confusion. When I made the post, I only had time to do a quick copy/paste of the quoted segment. I had hoped that by quickly adding "(Legal Loophole?)" to the title and archiving under Legal Issues, readers would be able to catch my drift.

-- Zach Anderson (, August 04, 1999.

It's not the issue that they are OT........I really don't care if they want to talk about their favourite pet kittens from time to time....

The issue, and my point, is that the complete focus is on death and destruction and trying to dig up anything baaaaaaaaaaad whatsoever to try and prove that we are headed for TEOTWAWKI........

I find it amazing that the moment someone suggests that we get a little BALANCE in the reporting, they immediately get shit on....

Go figure!!

-- Craig (, August 04, 1999.

Craig, dude, go take another prozac, you are way over-wrought...: )

Optimism is at a minimum at this site for a reason. If you are going to plan for your personal "worst-case scenario", you need to find out what that entails. Natural events that will affect you and your family have relevance, as well as man-made. I hope I can speak for most people on the forum, but me personally, discount what is on the Nightly News because I do not know if I am being lied to or not. In the same vein, the 'net is basically unregulated. It lies too. BUT, there seems to be more truth on the web, intermixed with falsehoods. Learn to glean truth. Plan for every contingency.

Why do major network news and newspapers not tell the whole story? The owners of the said companies do not want the whole truth known. In cyberspace, they have no control of content. So if this board is a little too pessimistic for your taste, then you aren't looking at the big picture, IMHO.

I get enough "optimism" from national news, thank you.

snoozin' beside the couch....

The Dog

-- Dog (Desert, August 04, 1999.

Speaking of the Sun... UO

-- link (, August 04, 1999.

Better Have a Look At This

-- link (, August 04, 1999.

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