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SolarWatch–New M-flares and SUDDEN IONOSPHERIC DISTURBANCE–12/31/11

December 31, 2011

A sudden ionospheric disturbance (SID) is an abnormally high ionization/plasma density in the D region of the ionosphere caused by a solar flare. The SID results in a sudden increase in radio-wave absorption that is most severe in the upper medium frequency (MF) and lower high frequency (HF) ranges (adapted from Federal Standard 1037C and from MIL-STD-188), and as a result often interrupts or interferes with telecommunications systems.

SUDDEN IONOSPHERIC DISTURBANCE: Today around 1320 UT, a wave of ionization swept through the high atmosphere over Europe after sunspot AR1389 unleashed another M2-class solar flare. “There was a very clear sudden ionospheric disturbance on my VLF radio instruments,” reports Rob Stammes, who sends these data from the Polar Light Center in Lofoten, Norway:

“The sun is below the horizon where we are located north of the Arctic Circle,” says Stammes. “This event shows we still have some contact with the sun.”

NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of more M-flares during the next 24 hours. There is also a 5% chance of X-flares.

http://spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=31&month=12&year=2011

 

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