Thursday, November 27, 2008

Myth: Confirmed

ResearchBlogging.orgThe most recent XKCD proposes an interesting astrophysical scenario. It deals with something I've mentioned a few times on this blog before: Solar flares. If you haven't seen it, here's the comic:



HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Yeah right. A solar flare indenting the magnetic field to such an extent that the Earth's rotation causes an induced current in electrical cords.

No way that could happen.



Except that it did.

In 1859, a solar flare so powerful occurred that it shorted out telegraph wires causing fires on the desks of the operators in the US and Europe. In addition, it reduced the amount of atmospheric ozone by about 5% (Note to global warming deniers: This would only be a short term effect and human made ozone depletion is long term since CFCs don't readily leave the atmosphere).

So, amazingly this myth was confirmed nearly 150 years ago! So can I have Kari Byron do a guest post now?
B. C. Thomas, C. H. Jackman, A. L. Melott (2007). Modeling atmospheric effects of the September 1859 solar flare Geophysical Research Letters, 34 (6) DOI: 10.1029/2006GL029174

6 comments:

Ollock said...

Just so you know, you made your link a relative link instead of an absolute one, thus breaking it.

please add "http://" to the url

Jon Voisey said...

Thanks for catching that. Fixed.

Anonymous said...

(Note to global warming deniers: This would only be a short term effect and human made ozone depletion is long term since CFCs don't readily leave the atmosphere).

Uh... ozone depletion has nothing to do with global warming.

CFC's actually result in a very slight cooling, but they destroy the ozone layer. Global warming is caused by CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gases- not CFCs.

Anonymous said...

That's "ozone depletion deniers", you insensitive clod. And have you seen how the ozone hole has been behaving lately?

Ollock said...

Just so you know, you made your link a relative link instead of an absolute one, thus breaking it.

please add "http://" to the url

Jon Voisey said...

Thanks for catching that. Fixed.