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Solar Activity Influenced by Seasonal Shifts, Study Finds

posted: 04/07/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Coronal Mass Ejection
NASA

The Sun experiences seasonal variability that impacts the severity of solar storms, according to a new study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The severity of solar storms ebbs and flows, much like precipitation levels on parts of Earth that experience distinct dry and wet seasons.

Astronomers believe that the seasonal variations are influenced by bands of powerful magnetic fields found in the solar hemispheres. As the bands travel throughout the hemispheres, overall solar activity becomes more or less intense.

Here on Earth, solar storms can have devastating impacts on orbiting satellites and electrical infrastructure. Researchers hope that this development will improve solar forecasting ability and minimize technological disruptions.

"If you understand what the patterns of solar activity are telling you, you'll know whether we're in the stormy phase or the quiet phase in each hemisphere," explained Scott McIntosh, study lead author. "If we can combine these pieces of information, forecast skill goes through the roof."

Click here for more information from the National Center for Atmospheric Research

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