NASA Predicts 30 Minutes' Notice Before Devastating Solar Storm Strikes Earth - blog.sciencenatures

Saturday, October 14, 2023

NASA Predicts 30 Minutes' Notice Before Devastating Solar Storm Strikes Earth


In recent times, we've extensively discussed the perils of solar storms as well as the rising influence of artificial intelligence (AI) in various fields. Given the current focus on technological advancements, it comes as no surprise that NASA has been diligently employing AI models in analyzing solar storm data. Their goal? To develop an advanced early warning system, potentially granting a 30-minute lead time before a potentially catastrophic solar storm strikes a specific location.

This impressive lead time is possible due to the remarkable speed at which light, constituting radio signals, travels compared to solar material ejected from the Sun during these storms. In certain instances, such as the solar storm that affected Quebec around 35 years ago, these events can disrupt power supply for hours. More extreme events, like the Carrington event over 150 years ago, could cause extensive damage to electrical and communication infrastructure if they were to occur in the present day.

Scientists have long recognized this threat and have been actively working to address it. With an array of solar-focused satellites orbiting the Sun, including ACE, Wind, IMP-8, and Geotail, NASA researchers collected vital data. However, merely detecting a solar storm is not enough; understanding its potential impact on Earth is equally crucial. To achieve this, the researchers combined satellite data with information from surface-based stations affected by previous storms detected by the satellites.

The team embarked on training a deep learning model, christened DAGGER, which has gained widespread recognition in the AI community. DAGGER stands out due to its exceptional speed. Led by Vishal Upendran from the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics in India, the researchers claim that DAGGER can predict the severity and direction of a solar storm event in less than a second, issuing predictions every minute.

Unlike previous algorithms, which took significantly longer to provide warnings, DAGGER's efficiency lies in its ability to swiftly calculate potential impact areas across the entire globe. This capability is crucial, considering that half of the Earth is shielded by darkness, or what we commonly term as "night," at any given time when a solar storm might strike.

DAGGER's combination of rapid prediction and global applicability marks a significant advancement in forecasting and responding to potential solar storm threats. The system is set to launch on an open-source platform, allowing utility and communication companies ample time to integrate DAGGER into their threat assessment systems before the peak of the Sun's 11-year solar cycle in 2025.

While there may not be blaring sirens akin to tornado warnings, at least the right people will now be swiftly informed of the impending danger, thanks to NASA's pioneering AI solution, DAGGER.

This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article

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