Friday, June 21, 2024

NASA is developing an early warning system to warn of solar storms



NASA developed an early warning system to warn of solar storms, and called it DAGGER.

Given the serious threats that solar storm-related disruptions pose to our electrical and communications infrastructure, this technological leap will mark a watershed moment in protecting our planet.

A team of NASA scientists is developing an early warning system that applies artificial intelligence models to solar storm data, which they believe can give the planet about 30 minutes of warning before a catastrophic solar storm hits a specific area.

This relaxation is due to the fact that the solar material ejected from the Sun during these solar storms can travel faster than light (which produces radio signals). In some cases, like the one that hit Quebec about 35 years ago, it can knock out power for hours.

Extreme events like the Carrington event 150 years ago could cause massive damage to electrical and communications infrastructure if they occurred today.

Recognizing the urgency of readiness, NASA used advanced technical capabilities to develop DAGGER.

NASA collected data from a variety of sources to develop a forecast model for solar storms, including satellites such as ACE, Wind, IMP-8 and Geotail. These satellites continuously monitor solar activity and provide invaluable information on solar flares.

However, detecting an impending solar storm is only part of the challenge. Equally important is understanding the potential impact it can have on the ground.

Therefore, scientists also collected data from surface stations affected by some of the storms observed by satellites.

The team then trained a deep learning model. This extensive dataset formed the basis for training DAGGER, a state-of-the-art deep learning model that has very impressive specifications compared to existing predictive algorithms that have tried to do the same job.

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The most notable feature of DAGGER is the significant increase in speed. A team led by Vishal Upendran of the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics in India confirms that DAGGER can predict the intensity and direction of a solar storm in less than a second. What’s even more impressive is that it can generate predictions every minute, which is a significant improvement compared to previous algorithms that required more time.

A major hurdle faced by previous algorithms is the computational complexity of predicting the global impact of solar storms. However, DAGGER successfully overcomes this challenge by performing fast predictive calculations over the entire Earth’s surface.

Local forecasts are very important because any time a solar storm hits the Earth, half of the Earth will be plunged into darkness.

This integrated fast forecasting, along with the ability to implement those forecasts globally, makes DAGGER a key step in accurately predicting and responding to potential solar storm hazards.

It will be released on an open source platform in 2025 to gather lots of data when the Sun reaches the peak of its 11-year solar cycle.

As DAGGER continues to evolve and integrate across multiple disciplines, it promises to be an indispensable tool for protecting our planet from the unpredictable forces of space weather. Through the active participation of key individuals and organizations, the world is better prepared to face the challenges posed by solar storms and instills hope for a safer and more resilient future.

Stuart Wagner
Stuart Wagner
"Professional coffee fan. Total beer nerd. Hardcore reader. Alcohol fanatic. Evil twitter buff. Friendly tv scholar."

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