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《TAIPEI TIMES》 Solar storm’s influence to continue: CWA


Central Weather Administration Observation Division specialist Tsai Yu-ming speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: Tsai Yun-jung, Taipei Times

Central Weather Administration Observation Division specialist Tsai Yu-ming speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Tsai Yun-jung, Taipei Times

2024/05/13 03:00

By Shelley Shan / Staff Reporter

Taiwan would continue to be under the influence of a geomagnetic storm this morning, potentially causing errors with GPS and disrupting the transmission of high-frequency radio waves, Central Weather Administration (CWA) said yesterday.

The storm began on Friday affecting communications worldwide, for which the administration issued a geomagnetic storm forecast for the first time.

As of yesterday morning, the storm’s effects had persisted 33 hours after it reached the level of an “extreme” geomagnetic storm on Saturday, CWA Observation Division specialist Tsai Yu-ming (蔡禹明) yesterday told a news conference in Taipei.

Communications would still be affected by the geomagnetic storm this morning, Tsai said, adding that effects would gradually weaken afterward.

Both Taiwan Power Co and Taiwan Space Agency had been told that they needed to monitor power system operation and satellite communication and prepare to enforce contingency plans, Tsai said.

No abnormalities have been detected in the nation’s power system and satellite communication as of yesterday, he said.

Further observation would be needed after the storm to determine whether there has been any damage to both systems, he said.

The scale of the storm’s effects is comparable to the geomagnetic storm that occurred on Oct. 28, 2003, which persisted for 60 hours.

The storm was caused by activity from a group of sunspots in the AR3664 area of the Sun’s surface, the diameter of which is equivalent to 17 Earths.

“The area has multiple flares, accompanied by coronal mass ejections, in which a large number of plasma-charged particles ejected from the sun’s surface into space. When these charged particles approach the earth, they will squeeze the earth’s magnetic field,” Tsai said.

“Most synchronous satellites are within the protection of the Earth’s magnetic fields, but when there is a strong geomagnetic storm, synchronous satellites may be affected by high-energy particles,” he added.

Coronal mass ejections also led to the occurrence of northern lights, which were observed in many countries around the world yesterday, Tsai said.

“The colorful northern lights are like Mother’s Day gifts from God,” Tsai said.

The various colors are the result of collisions between high-energy charged particles and different gases in the atmosphere, Tsai added.

The magnetic north pole is near Greenland, so northern lights were mostly reported in Europe and North America.

Some people in northern Mexico, which is around the same latitude as Taiwan, said they have seen the northern lights as well.

Northern lights cannot be seen in Taiwan, because it is too far from the magnetic north pole and is at the low magnetic latitude, Tsai said.

新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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