Tuesday, June 10, 2014

SOLAR WATCH: Monumental Events In The Heavens - Sunspot 2087 Erupts With DOUBLE X-FLARES, Creating Wave Of Ionization In The Earth's Upper Atmosphere, Altering Radio Transmissions; Bright CME Emerges From Blast Site; Possible Glancing Blow To The Earth! [IMAGES+VIDEO]

June 10, 2014 - THE SUN -  The sun unleashed two major solar flares early Tuesday (June 10) in amazing back-to-back storms from our nearest star.

Forecasters expected an X-flare today, and the sun complied. The source, however, was unexpected. A new sunspot
(AR2087) suddenly emerging from behind the sun's southeastern limb erupted twice, producing an X2.2-flare at 11:42
UT and an X1.5-flare at 12:52. This extreme ultraviolet image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the first blast

The first flare, a powerful X2.2-class solar flare, hit its maximum at about 7:42 a.m. EDT (1142 GMT). The second powerful X1.5-class flare, followed quickly behind, blasting out from the sun at 8:36 a.m. EDT (1236 GMT). Both flares could cause radio communication blackouts on Earth for about an hour, according to an alert from the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. NASA's sun-observing Solar Dynamics Observatory captured a video of the flares from space.

More images of the X-flares:

X-rays and UV radiation from the double flare created a wave of ionization in Earth's upper atmosphere, altering the
normal propagation of radio transmissions over Europe. Rob Stammes recorded the sudden ionospheric
disturbance (SID) from his laboratory in Lofoton, Norway: data.

Preliminary coronagraph images from NASA's STEREO probes show a bright CME emerging from the blast site,
traveling mostly away from the sun-Earth line. No strong impacts are expected.

Before today's double-eruption, forecasters had been keeping a wary eye on sunspot complex AR2080/AR2085. Almost
directly-facing Earth, those two sunspots have 'delta-class' magnetic fields that harbor energy for X-flares

The emergence of sunspot AR2087 on the southeastern limb adds another potent source to the mix.
Solar activity is high, and likely to remain so in the days ahead.

"Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation," Karen Fox, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said in a statement. "Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground. However, when intense enough, they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel."

WATCH: Double X-Class Solar Flares - June 10, 2014.


Officials with the prediction center do not think there will be a coronal mass ejection — a burst of plasma sent out from the sun — associated with the first flare, but they will continue to analyze the data they collected on the flares.

"Area of impact consists of large portions of the sunlit side of Earth, strongest at the sub-solar point," SWPC officials wrote in an alert about the X2.2 flare. Both flares emanated from the sun's Region 2087, close to the southeastern limb of the solar disk.

Attached is a new coronagraph image courtesy of LASCO C3. A large coronal mass ejection (CME) can be seen heading
to the east and away from our planet. Once more imagery becomes available, an animation will be able to tell us if a
weaker glancing blow is to be expected.

A bright coronal mass ejection (CME) is now visible in the latest STEREO Ahead COR2 imagery following the X1.5 solar
flare around sunspot 2087 at 12:52 UTC this morning. Should be directed mostly away from our planet, however more
updates to follow once additional imagery becomes available.

GOES X-ray Flux - X-Flare events in progress.

X-class flares are the most powerful kinds of solar flares produced by the sun. The star also produces M-class flares that can produce amazing aurora shows in the northern latitudes, and it can also erupt with weaker, C-class flares.

Tuesday's two flares bring the total number of documented X-flares unleashed by the sun in 2014 to seven. They follow an X1.3-class solar storm in April, a huge X4.9 flare in February, another X1 solar flare on March 29 and others. The sun is currently in the active phase of its 11-year solar cycle. X2 flares are twice as intense at X1 flares, and X3 flares. The current solar weather cycle is called Solar Cycle 24.

Here is an updated look at the visible solar disk on Tuesday prior to the X-flares. Solar activity during the past 24 hours
was low with a number of C-Class flares detected. New region 2087 (tentative) produced a pair of C5 flares this morning
after rotating into view off the southeast limb. An isolated M-Flare will be possible as it continues to turn into view.
Regions 2080 and 2085 have been relatively quiet this morning, but each remain a threat for isolated M-Class flare
events. All other visible regions are currently stable.The chance for a major X-Class event will remain in place, albeit
a low possibility at this time. No Earth directed coronal mass ejections were observed during the past 24 hours.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and other probes like the agency's twin STEREO probes and joint U.S.-European SOHO spacecraft keep close tabs on the sun from space. When aimed at Earth, the powerful solar flares can cause problems with the planet's power grids and even endanger astronauts and satellites in space.

X1.5 Event Log

X2.2 Event Log

SOURCES: SPACE | Space Weather | Solar Ham | Solar Watcher.

THE THEATRE OF WAR: Prelude To World War III - Russia Launches Baltic Sea Drills Alongside NATO Saber Strike War Games! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

June 10, 2014 - BALTIC SEA - The Baltic Sea and skies are getting crowded as Russia launches military training of its assault forces in the exclave of Kaliningrad in answer to the double war-games being conducted by joint NATO forces on the territory of the three Baltic States.

Tanks, troops, jets: NATO countries launch full-scale war games in Baltic

NATO’s decision to conduct dual war games next to Russian borders in the Baltic has not been left unaddressed by Russia’s Defense Ministry, which prepared a surprise training of first strike forces – marines, paratroopers and long-range bombers - right in the backyard of the NATO military maneuvers.

WATCH: RAW - US stealth B-2 bombers deployed to UK, land at RAF Fairford airbase.

“We conduct military training simultaneously with the international war games that have started in Europe, Saber Strike-2014 and BALTOPS-2014,” said the ministry’s press service.

RIA Novosti / Igor Zarembo

Defense Ministry noted that the military might engaged in training in the Kaliningrad Region is by all means comparable with the NATO’s forces concentrated on the nearby territory of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, where Saber Strike-2014 is conducted on June 9-20 and sea-based BALTOPS-2014 training held in the Baltic on June 6-21.

The Russian maneuvers involve the use of naval groups, marines, landing operations of airborne forces, air defense training and firing exercise of front-line aviation.

Zubr air-cushioned landing craft (RIA Novosti / Igor Chuprin)

“All-arms naval groups will maintain border and sea communication defense, and will perform training to search and destroy hypothetical aggressor’s submarines and combat ships,” the ministry commented to RBC news outlet.

The paratrooper division from Pskov will be training operational deployment to Kaliningrad, whereas marines will be training defending the coastal line from possible sea-borne landing and will also perform isolation and elimination of illegal armed groups.

The Air Force is to provide fire support with Su-34 fighter-bombers and Mi-24 assault helicopters.

Russian army amphibious ship RFS Kaliningrad approaches the dock (Reuters / Agencja Gazeta)

Deployment of supersonic Tu-22M3 long-range strategic maritime strike bombers, some of which have just the day before finished training in the Black Sea, has also been announced. Together with the air defense forces they will patrol the area to make sure the airspace of the training is securely sealed off.

WATCH: Armed Might: 'NATO war game is message to Russia'.


NATO’s training in the Baltic is an annual event yet this time the number of troops taking part has been augmented considerably. In 2013 there were 1,800 troops involved, while Saber Strike 2014 has become the largest-ever, with 4,700 troops and over 800 military vehicles, such as M2 Bradley, M1126 Stryker, and various APCs: XA-180, XA-202 and M113 taking part in the training.

Su-34.(RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)

Besides the two NATO war-games, the Baltic States are holding Baltic Host 2014 military cooperation training of their own near Riga.

Saber Strike 2014 has hosted troops from Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Great Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and the US.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has already dubbed even the rotational military build-up near the Russian borders as an act of hostility directly violating the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, Lavrov’s First Deputy Vladimir Titov told Interfax.

Mi-24.(RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)

With the background of developments in Ukraine, the beef-up of NATO’s military presence near Russian borders, “just like during the 08.08.08 war in the North Caucasus, it rather creates additional problems instead of helping to solve them, Titov said.

On Monday Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after meeting his Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja that, “The artificial attempt to continue NATO's eastward expansion, progression of the military infrastructure to the east, closer to Russia's borders, is counterproductive.” - RT.

EARTH CHANGES: Monumental Signs Of The Times - Huge Hail Pelts Paris As Severe Thunderstorms Erupt Across Western Europe; Brazil Floods Kill Nine; Temperatures Rise To 47.8 Celsius In Delhi, India, The Highest In 62 Years; Everglades Brush Fire Burns Over 20,000 Acres, Covering South Florida In Smoke; Raging Storm In Western Germany Kills Five And Disrupts Transportation; Unexpected Summer Blizzard Leaves Ride The Rockies Cyclists Stranded At Top Of Pass; And Severe Storms Target Cincinnati, Nashville Tuesday! [PHOTOS+MAP+VIDEOS]

June 10, 2014 - EARTH - The following stories constitutes some of the latest incidents of Earth changes across the globe.

Huge Hail Pelts Paris As Severe Thunderstorms Erupt Across Western Europe

It's not just the U.S. that has suffered a damaging onslaught of massive, wind-driven hails lately. On Sunday and Monday, powerful thunderstorms erupted across France and Belgium, dropping baseball to tennis-ball-sized hail near Brussels as well as the French countryside. Hail also fell in Paris overnight Sunday. These hailstones formed inside massive supercell thunderstorms, which are long-lived storms that feature rotating updrafts, which allows them to produce large hail, damaging winds, and in some cases, tornadoes.

While thunderstorms are typical in France during the summer, this storm outbreak has produced unusually large hail for the region, and it has hit Paris particularly hard.

As of Monday evening in France, Meteo France had posted an "Orange Alert" across west-central and northern parts of the country, with the threat of severe weather stretching northeastward into Belgium and the Netherlands. Meteo France is urging people to take "special vigilance" as the country faces yet another stormy night.

Visible satellite photo centered on France, showing bright white clusters of thunderstorms
across northwest France and Belgium.

In this June 7, 2014, photo, Belgium's and Tunisia's team take shelter during a hail storm during a friendly
soccer match at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels. Image: Yves Logghe/Associated Pres

We're accustomed to avoiding thunderstorms on the way to JNB...but not normally during the climb, north of Paris!

Current view of the monster supercell over Paris, France! @reedtimmerTVN 

Very unusual France hail RT @severeweatherEU MONSTER HAIL from Loiret France an hour ago-8-10cm diameter!!

The storm outbreak began on June 7, when a pre-World Cup soccer match between Belgium and Tunisia was halted in the first half due to accumulating golf ball-sized hail. Numerous hail and lightning images and videos were shared via social media during the past few days.

The severe thunderstorms have been forming along the edge of an area of high pressure that has brought an early season heat wave to much of western Europe, with high temperatures in the low-to-mid-90s Fahrenheit in Germany, for example. - Mashable.

Brazil Floods Kill Nine
Goalposts stand in a soccer field flooded by the waters of the Paraguay River in Asuncion on May 30, 2014.
Photo: Reuters

Flooding caused by torrential rains over the weekend has killed at least nine people and left three missing in southern Brazil, officials said Monday, declaring an emergency in 77 towns.

The flood-hit areas include the state of Parana, whose capital, Curitiba, is one of the 12 host cities for the World Cup, which opens Thursday.

The worst-affected areas however are located around 300 kilometers (185 miles) from Curitiba.

More than 55,000 people's homes were flooded in the 77 towns where Parana Governor Beto Richa declared a state of emergency.

Richa announced six million reais ($2.6 million) in emergency aid to help victims and to restore water and electricity supplies.

President Dilma Rousseff promised via Twitter to get "all necessary support" to victims.

The celebrated Iguazu waterfalls, some of the largest in the world, saw 30 times their normal volume Monday because of the rains -- 47.5 million liters (12.5 million gallons) per second, said state power company Copel.

The national park around the falls, which border Argentina, has closed footbridges and suspended boat tours for safety reasons.

In the neighboring state of Santa Catarina, 24 cities were flooded and at least 16,000 people affected.

The Itajai Acu river was 10 meters (33 feet) higher than normal, and nine roads were closed.

And in Rio Grande do Sul state, the rains caused a 70-meter road cave-in that swallowed two cars. The passengers escaped with light injuries, news website G1 reported.

Agence France-Presse

Global Post.

Temperatures Rise To 47.8C In Delhi, India, The Highest In 62 Years
Youngsters beat the heat as mercury soars in New Delhi on Sunday.
Photo: PTI

Temperature in the Capital touched 45.1 degree Celsius on Sunday while it was 47.8 degree C in and around Palam airport making it the hottest day in 62 years giving no respite to people reeling under a blistering heat wave.

Adding to the woes of heat-ravaged Delhiites, frequent power cuts across the city aggravated the situation and made life miserable.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said there is no relief likely from the heat wave on Monday and similar weather conditions will continue.

"Instead, the maximum temperature will continue to hover around 45 degree Celsius on Monday as well," the IMD official said, adding, "there will be mainly clear sky".

The maximum temperature of 45.1 degree C in the capital was five degree above normal and it was the hottest in five years. Yesterday, the mercury touched 44.9 degree C.

The minimum temperature stood at 28.6 degree C, a notch above the season's average. On Monday, minimum temperature will hover around 30 degree C, the IMD said.

Similar situation prevailed in Palam where the maximum temperature was 47.8 degrees Celsius, the highest since 1952, the IMD department said. The minimum was 30.8 degree C.

Temperature in the national capital breached the 45 degree Celsius mark on June 6, making it the hottest day of the season. - India Today.

Everglades Brush Fire Burns Over 20,000 Acres, Covering South Florida In Smoke

People just waking up didn't know what to make of the strange haze hanging in the sky. Was it fog? Was a nearby building on fire? Was it a Miami Heat hangover?

For hours on Monday morning, the surreal scene covered much of South Florida, cutting visibility in some places to a mile or two, obliterating parts of the skyline, closing a major road, forcing a health advisory, and sending first-day summer campers indoors.

The smoke came from a huge Everglades brush fire in West Broward, which burned nearly 20,000 acres, according to the Florida Forest Service.

Less smoke wafted into the suburbs and along the coast Tuesday morning, although the fire continued to burn.

WATCH: Forestry workers trying to contain everglades brush fire.

Now, the big question: Will it be back?

Could be, depending on the direction of the winds and whether the smoke stays low to the ground.

"If rain comes, that would be a big help," Florida Forest Service spokesman Scott Peterich said.

And the rain could come. Forecasters expect a wet week with a rain chance of 30 to 40 percent and likely thunderstorms.

The West Broward fire was started Saturday night from a lightning strike. By Monday morning, the smoke blanketed downtown Miami, Doral, Hialeah, Homestead, Davie, Cooper City - almost everywhere people live.

Drivers found ash on their cars in suburbs close to the fire zone. Those with respiratory issues were told to stay indoors. Commuters were instructed to use caution.

"It's been many years that I have seen smoke this thick in the urban areas due to wildfires," Peterich said.

The fire also closed northbound U.S. 27 at Interstate 75. The road reopened about 9 Monday morning after being shut down for nearly 24 hours.

Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky said "visibility had improved," but the department was "monitoring the situation."

"If we need to shut down again, we will," he said.

By Monday, when a plane surveyed the area, the fire had spread to about 19,500 acres. Peterich said sawgrass burns quickly and that firefighters are letting the blaze run its course. Two Forest Service trucks are monitoring the flames and will intervene if the fire approaches levies and canals, which can threaten other parts of the Glades.

Peterich said that a combination of variable winds and low dispersion - which means the smoke stays low to the ground - caused all the haziness. By late afternoon, it appeared the smoke was rising.

The haze and odor put an early damper on the first day of summer camp for children across South Florida on Monday.

Camp managers were advised to keep children indoors. At Westwind Lakes Park, summer campers spent their morning out of the smoke, said Terry Vilorio, the Miami park recreational summer camp leader.

"Most of the kids still wanted to go outside but we played games indoors instead," she said.

Chuck Caracozza, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami-Dade, said thick smoke could return overnight if the winds die down.

"We might see much of the same," he said of the necessity to issue a dense smoke advisory Monday morning.

A sea breeze from the southeast helped push smoke out of South Florida by Monday afternoon.

The National Weather Service expects Tuesday to be mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, everyone is still being told to stay inside as much as possible until the smoke dissipates. The Broward Health Department on Monday put out a warning to take "precautions during this period of increased air pollution levels due to wildfires."

"Smoke from wildfires may cause coughing, a scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, stinging eyes and a runny nose," the department warned. - Miami Herald.

Raging Storm In Western Germany Kills Five And Disrupts Transportation
In the town Gelsenkirchen clean up has started after the storm on Monday. Caroline Seidel/AP

At least five people were killed in violent storms that swept Germany's most populous state late on Monday, felling trees, disrupting public transport and leaving some roads impassable.

After a scorchingly hot three-day holiday weekend, thunderstorms, strong winds and heavy rain pounded the western state of North-Rhine Westphalia, causing Germany's third-largest airport in Duesseldorf to close for about an hour.

Three people were reported to have died in the state capital when a tree fell onto a garden shed in which they were seeking shelter. Fire fighters rescued three more injured people - two severely hurt - from the shed, according to media.

A cyclist aged around 50 died in nearby Cologne after being hit by a falling tree that local police said was probably struck by lightning. Another person died in the town of Essen while trying to clear a street.

Image: AccuWeather

Ten incoming flights at Duesseldorf airport were diverted while 10 other flights were cancelled. The airport said gusts of up to 150 kilometres an hour (93 mph) were recorded. It opened again at 10 p.m. local time (2000 GMT).

Early on Tuesday, national rail operator Deutsche Bahn said numerous train services were still suspended and trains in operation would face severe delays.

Fallen trees blocked some streets in Duesseldorf, where trams and underground trains were also stopped due to damaged overhead lines. Some locals reported electrical outages.

The storm front moved further northeast and the German Meteorological Service issued weather warnings for regions including Hanover and Bremen for the night.

(Additional reporting by Thomas Seythal in Berlin; Writing by Michelle Martin and Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Gareth Jones)


Unexpected Summer Blizzard Leaves Ride The Rockies Cyclists Stranded At Top Of Pass
Warming hut is jam packed.
An unexpected summer blizzard blew into Grand County Sunday, leaving hundreds of bicyclist stranded at the top of Berthoud Pass.

According to the Grand County Office of Emergency Management, snow fell heavily at the top of the pass on cyclists participating in the annual Ride the Rockies bike tour.

The snowy conditions stranded hundreds of riders at the top of the pass. By 5 p.m., the weather at Berthoud Pass was 34 degrees with 15 mph winds and light snow, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office said.

Multiple county agencies, including Grand County Emergency Medical, Clear Creek Emergency Medical, Fraser Winter Park Police and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, responded to get the cyclists out of the cold.

Hundreds of riders board buses in Empire to be taken out of the snow to Fraser

The Ryder Bus Company from Winter Park assisted by supplying six buses to transport the estimated 200 cyclists, deputies said.

Some bikers were transported to Clear Creek County and others were transported to Grand County.

In an official statement, Ride the Rockies said the bike tour was ended at 4 p.m. Sunday to ensure the safety of its participants.

WATCH: Blizzard leaves Ride the Rockies cyclists stranded at top of pass.

“As we all know, Colorado weather is unpredictable,” the organization said. “To all of our participants and sponsors, we recognize your dedication to Ride The Rockies as we look forward to the remainder of the tour as planned.

We anticipate a great week of riding with you all, and ask for your continued patience as we focus on ensuring the safety of RTR participants.” - KDVR.

Severe Storms Target Cincinnati, Nashville Tuesday
Image: AccuWeather

The threat of severe thunderstorms will shift east on Tuesday, focusing over the lower Mississippi and Tennessee valleys.

Cincinnati; Louisville and Paducah, Kentucky; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, are a few locations that are in the path of severe storms through Tuesday evening.

Damaging wind gusts will be one of the main threats as storms track eastward across the region with gusts strong enough to bring down trees and power lines, resulting in localized power outages.

Torrential downpours will be the other major impact from these thunderstorms as heavy rain can cause flash flooding.

Water that pools on roadways during these downpours can make it difficult to drive and increase the risk of hydroplaning and being involved in a weather-related accident.

In extreme cases, roadways may become completely flooded and impassable.

If you are driving and come across a flooded road, you should avoid driving through the water and find another route to get to your destination. Turn around, don't drown.

In addition to flooding downpours and damaging wind gusts, there is also the possibility for a few brief tornadoes spinning up.

Northeastern Mississippi and northwestern Alabama are the areas at greatest risk of having a twister spin up; however, they are not expected to be large, long-lived tornadoes.

Looking ahead to the middle of the week, a few showers and thunderstorms are forecast to linger around the area.

However, the threat for severe thunderstorms will shift north towards the Ohio Valley.

Storms on Wednesday could deliver gusty winds, as well as hail to Buffalo, New York; Pittsburg and Erie, Pennsylvania; and Charleston, West Virginia. - AccuWeather.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Magma Buoyancy - Scientists Discover That Apocalyptic Supervolcanoes Can Suddenly Explode "With No Outside Cause;" Study Model Was Based On The Yellowstone Supervolcano!

June 10, 2014 - GLOBAL VOLCANISM - Scientists have discovered what causes cataclysm-inducing supervolcanoes to erupt, and the answer offers little reassurance. Their eruptions are caused by magma buoyancy, which makes them less predictable and more frequent than previously thought.

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.(AFP Photo / Karen Bleier)

A team of geologists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) modeled a supervolcano – such as Yellowstone in Wyoming – using synthetic magma heated up with a high-energy X-ray to see what could create a powerful discharge. A separate international team, led by Luca Caricchi of the University of Geneva, conducted more than 1.2 million computer simulations of eruptions.

Both groups have arrived at similar conclusions, with two studies simultaneously published in Nature Geoscience magazine.

"We knew the clock was ticking but we didn't know how fast: what would it take to trigger a super-eruption?” said Wim Malfait, the lead author of the ETH study.

"Now we know you don't need any extra factor - a supervolcano can erupt due to its enormous size alone.”

It was previously thought that supervolcanoes – which spew out hundreds more times of lava and ash than ordinary ruptures – could be triggered by earthquakes or other outside tectonic phenomena.

It was also clear that these volcanoes do not operate like ordinary eruptions, which rely on magma filling their chambers, and spurting through an opening, once the pressure gets to a certain point, since the chambers of supervolcanoes are too large to be over pressurized to the same degree.

Now, the studies have identified the unique supervolcano mechanism that makes their discharge more like powerful explosions than normal eruptions.

The molten magma in the mostly underground supervolcano is lighter than the surrounding rocks, and the difference in pressure, creates a 'buoyancy effect', meaning the super-hot terrestrial soup is always attempting to burst out.

“The difference in density between the molten magma in the caldera and the surrounding rock is big enough to drive the magma from the chamber to the surface,” said Jean-Philippe Perrillat of the National Centre for Scientific Research in Grenoble, where the experiments were conducted.

Artist's impression of the magma chamber of a supervolcano with partially molten magma at the top.
(ESRF/Nigel Hawtin)

“The effect is like the extra buoyancy of a football when it is filled with air underwater, which forces it to the surface because of the denser water around it. If the volume of magma is big enough, it should come to the surface and explode like a champagne bottle being uncorked.”

The researchers believe that the pressure force of the molten magma pools can be strong enough to crack 10 km thick layers of rock, before spewing out a maximum of between 3,500 and 7,000 cubic kilometers of lava. In comparison, the notorious Krakatoa explosion in 1883 likely ejected less than 30 cubic kilometers of debris into the atmosphere.

The effects on Earth are likely to be fundamental, with previous studies suggesting that such a supervolcano could decrease the temperature on Earth by 10 C for a decade, as the ash would prevent sunlight from reaching the ground.

The last supervolcano eruption in Lake Toba took place more than 70,000 years ago. According to one highly-contested theory it may have wiped out more than half of the planet’s population; in any case the effect on the world would be dramatic.

"This is something that, as a species, we will eventually have to deal with. It will happen in future," said Dr Malfait.

"You could compare it to an asteroid impact - the risk at any given time is small, but when it happens the consequences will be catastrophic."

A volcano has to eject more than 1,000 cubic km of debris in a single eruption to be counted as a supervolcano, and there are less than ten potential sites with sufficiently large magma chambers around the world, though there may be others lurking underneath the ocean surface. These formations, which are more often flat with no outlet, are expected to erupt once every 50,000 years, though there is no regularity to the frequency of eruptions.

The computer modelers believe that the buoyancy mechanism means that such eruptions occur more frequently than previously thought, though the exact extent is hard to estimate without studying magma flows at each potential location.

Nonetheless, the ETH scientists say that there could be detectable pressure changes, and perhaps even spectacular rises of ground level sometime before the eventual explosion. But it is not clear how long after such changes an eruption would take place, or whether advance knowledge would actually help to mitigate its impact. - RT.

MONUMENTAL SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: For The First Time Ever, Planet Venus Will Get Daily Space Weather Reports - Courtesy Of The European Space Agency!

June 10, 2014 - PLANET VENUS -  For the first time, ESA is providing regular space-weather reports for a spacecraft orbiting another planet. 

Venus Express aerobraking

When your spacecraft is surfing deep into the atmosphere of an alien world, you need the latest information on conditions that could affect your trajectory.

If that planet is Venus, that means knowing what’s happening on our Sun in real time, because solar activity can greatly influence conditions like atmospheric density and the radiation environment at Earth’s closest neighbour.

Since May, ground controllers flying Venus Express have been receiving daily reports on solar activity issued by experts at ESA’s Space Weather Coordination Centre (SSCC), at the Space Pole in Belgium.

The centre was established by the Agency’s Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme office, and it began delivering precursor space-weather services for terrestrial clients in last year.

Now that Venus Express has completed its eight-year scientific mission, the reports are especially important as the control team take the satellite through an extraordinary multi-week ‘aerobraking’ campaign.

“Aerobraking means lowering the spacecraft so that for part of each orbit it dips down very low and skims through the very uppermost reaches of the Venusian atmosphere,” notes Adam Williams, Deputy Spacecraft Operations Manager.

This image is part of the Venus space weather report issued 5 June 2014.  During May-August 2014,
ground controllers flying ESA's Venus Express will receive daily reports on solar activity issued by
experts at ESA’s Space Weather Coordination Centre (SSCC), at the Space Pole in Belgium. The
weather updates will deliver the best information from a variety of sources – including ESA’s
Proba-2 and solar-orbiting ESA and NASA spacecraft – to the control team as rapidly as possible.

“We know that the current state of our Sun can affect Venus’ atmosphere, which could in turn impact the planned orbit of Venus Express as it passes through the atmosphere.”

Adam says that the team do not expect to replan any of the aerobraking orbits based on ‘typical’ solar activity levels.

“The space weather reports will, however, allow us to better understand anomalous behaviour that we may subsequently observe on the spacecraft.

“And in extreme cases, we would be more ready to react to a serious situation. For example, if our startrackers were to be overloaded by radiation.”

The weather updates will deliver the best information from a variety of sources – including ESA’s Proba-2 and solar-orbiting ESA and NASA spacecraft – to the control team as rapidly as possible.

“The aim is to report on current conditions and give a short-term forecast of solar activity and radiation conditions, tailored for Venus,” says Juha-Pekka Luntama, responsible for space weather in the SSA programme office.

“We’re used to doing this for Earth-orbiting spacecraft, but it’s quite a challenge for Venus due to both its location and the complexity of that planet’s environment.

“Venus is currently 59° ahead of Earth on its orbit around the Sun, and we do not have a spacecraft between the Sun and Venus as we have for Earth.

“So, we need to adapt and extend space weather forecasts we regularly provide towards the direction of Venus.”

 WATCH:  Venus Express aerobraking.


The first Venus space-weather report was issued on 19 May, and included analysis and forecasts based on data not only from the fleet of solar monitors but also from a new network of Expert Service Centres on the ground operated by ESA member states in the SSA programme.

Juha-Pekka says that ESA’s network will be expanded later this year to include the Heliospheric Weather Expert Service Centre, which will provide dedicated space-weather information for missions travelling to other locations in the Solar System.

In the meantime, the SSCC will continue providing daily reports to the Venus Express team.

“We’ll also issue special bulletins during the day if there is a significant solar event that might affect the Venus space environment.

“If we’ve learned anything about forecasting space weather, it’s that there can always be surprises we were not able to predict.”

Space weather coordination centre

Today's report was issued by the team at ESA's SSA Space Weather Coordination Centre (SSCC), located at the Space Pole in Belgium. The SSCC is operated on behalf of ESA by a consortium consisting of the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, the Royal Observatory of Belgium and two industrial partners, Space Applications Services SA/NV and Spacebel SA/NV.

Here's the report!

== Space Weather bulletin for Venus Express aerobraking operations ==

Bulletin #1
prepared by SSCC and SIDC forecaster
on May 19, 2014 at 14:10 UTC.

Valid until May 21, 2014 at 14:10 UTC.

=== Past 24 hours (Earth viewpoint) ===
Solar flare activity: no C, M or X flares
10-MEV proton flux:   < 0.2 pfu
F10.7 index:          128 sfu at Earth

=== Next 48 hours (Earth viewpoint) ===
All quiet:       no
Solar flares:    quiet (less than 50 % chance of a C flare)
Solar protons:   quiet

=== Comment ===
There were no C flares nor CMEs during the past 24 hours. In the next 48 hours,
quiet conditions (without C flares) are likely. There is a slight chance for C flares
from NOAA active regions 2056 and 2066.

== Attachment ==
Top:    past solar disk image matching Venus current viewpoint annotated with current active regions
Bottom: time variation of Earth observed background irradiation [black] and uncorrected F10.7 index [blue]
with indication of current Venus shift

NOAA active regions of interest:
2056: (small) potential for C flares
2066: (small) potential for C flares

== Data & tools ==
For full data and analysis tools, please visit http://swe.ssa.esa.int/
Solar weather: http://swe.ssa.esa.int/web/guest/solar-weather
Space radiation: http://swe.ssa.esa.int/web/guest/space-radiation

We hope this response has sufficiently answered your questions. If not, please reply to this email.

SSCC Helpdesk