Saturday, November 7, 2009

Will The Earth Follow The Sun?

The song "I'll Follow The Sun" mentions that the singer will do just that, some day.

Lets hope the Earth does not do that, does not do what the Sun is going to do again, until we get ready for it.

On February 15, 2001 the Sun flipped its lid, and the Sun's north magnetic pole switched to the south magnetic pole, and vice versa:

The Sun's magnetic north pole, which was in the northern hemisphere just a few months ago, now points south. It's a topsy-turvy situation, but not an unexpected one.

"This always happens around the time of solar maximum," says David Hathaway, a solar physicist at the Marshall Space Flight Center. "The magnetic poles exchange places at the peak of the sunspot cycle. In fact, it's a good indication that Solar Max is really here."

The Sun's magnetic poles will remain as they are now, with the north magnetic pole pointing through the Sun's southern hemisphere, until the year 2012 when they will reverse again. This transition happens, as far as we know, at the peak of every 11-year sunspot cycle -- like clockwork.

(NASA). What about the Earth, what is the big deal about the Earth flipping its lid like the Sun does every 11 years?

That would not be good because the human species has not been paying attention, at least those of us in this modern space and computer age have not:

Earth’s magnetic field also flips, but with less regularity. Consecutive reversals are spaced 5 thousand years to 50 million years apart. The last reversal happened 740,000 years ago. Some researchers think our planet is overdue for another one, but nobody knows exactly when the next reversal might occur.

(NASA, above, emphasis added). And nobody knows exactly what would happen to human civilization; civilization meaning our modern space age, computer age, electronic machine age, way of life.

Human civilization could be destroyed even though there would be plenty of human survivors remaining to rebuild our civilization in due time:

The collapse of the Earth's magnetic field, which both guards the planet and guides many of its creatures, appears to have started in earnest about 150 years ago. The field's strength has waned 10 to 15 percent, and the deterioration has accelerated of late, increasing debate over whether it portends a reversal of the lines of magnetic force that normally envelop the Earth.

During a reversal, the main field weakens, almost vanishes, then reappears with opposite polarity. Afterward, compass needles that normally point north would point south, and during the thousands of years of transition, much in the heavens and Earth would go askew.

A reversal could knock out power grids, hurt astronauts and satellites, widen atmospheric ozone holes, send polar auroras flashing to the equator and confuse birds, fish and migratory animals that rely on the steadiness of the magnetic field as a navigation aid. But experts said the repercussions would fall short of catastrophic, despite a few proclamations of doom and sketchy evidence of past links between field reversals and species extinctions.

(NY Times, emphasis added). That is the number one problem our modern engineers and scientists have been lax about, as was mentioned in a post on another blog:

IT IS midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colourful light. Few New Yorkers have seen the aurora this far south but their fascination is short-lived. Within a few seconds, electric bulbs dim and flicker, then become unusually bright for a fleeting moment. Then all the lights in the state go out. Within 90 seconds, the entire eastern half of the US is without power.

A year later and millions of Americans are dead and the nation's infrastructure lies in tatters. The World Bank declares America a developing nation. Europe, Scandinavia, China and Japan are also struggling to recover from the same fateful event - a violent storm, 150 million kilometres away on the surface of the sun.

It sounds ridiculous. Surely the sun couldn't create so profound a disaster on Earth. Yet an extraordinary report funded by NASA and issued by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in January this year claims it could do just that.

(Dredd Blog Post, emphasis added). In that post (see UPDATE comments in that post) engineers and scientists were urged to use the current green grid modifications debate and remedies to beef up the power grids.

Those grids need to be upgraded so they will be able to handle a magnetic pole reversal, because such an event might allow a time of no protection from solar flares, or might damage the power grids even if protection from solar flares stays intact during the reversal.

We must pay closer attention to the things listed in the Tenets of Ecocosmology if we are to survive as a species.

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