InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Mon May 16 04:14:39 EDT 2005


May 15, 2005 - Forecasters at the NOAA Space Environment Center in 
Boulder, Colo., observed a geomagnetic storm on Sunday, May 15, which 
they classified as an extreme event, measuring G-5 - the highest 
level - on the NOAA Space Weather Scales.

"This event registered a 9 on the K-Index, which measures the maximum 
deviation of the Earth's magnetic field in a given three-hour period," 
said Gayle Nelson, lead operations specialist at NOAA Space 
Environment Center. "The scale ranges from 0 to 9, with 9 being the 
highest. This was a significant event."

Possible impacts from such a geomagnetic storm include widespread 
power system voltage control problems; some grid systems may 
experience complete collapse or blackouts. Transformers may experience 
damage. Spacecraft operations may experience extensive surface 
charging; problems with orientation; uplink/downlink and tracking 
satellites. Satellite navigation may be degraded for days, and 
low-frequency radio navigation can be out for hours. Reports received 
by the NOAA Space Environment Center indicate that such impacts have 
been observed in the United States.

NOAA forecasters said the probability of another major event of this 
type is unlikely, however, other minor level (G-1) geomagnetic storms 
are possible within the next 24 hours. 

This event was forecast by NOAA as the result of a solar flare that 
occurred on Friday, May 13.

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