Magnetic storms today

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from 0 to 3 index geomagnetic calm
4 index geomagnetic disturbances
from 5 to 9 index geomagnetic storm


It has long been established that magnetic storms not only affect the performance of equipment, upset radio communications, blackout radars, and disrupt radio navigation systems but also endanger living organisms. They change the blood flow, especially in capillaries, affect blood pressure, and boost adrenalin.

The young and fit couldn’t care less, but those who are older, may develop problems. They have to consider the state of magnetosphere in their daily plans. Before, people were glued to weather forecasts. Now they are obsessed with the geomagnetic situation.

Medical statistics for Moscow show that 70% of all micro variations, caused by geomagnetic disturbances, are accompanied by an abnormally high incidence of heart attacks (a growth of about 13%), and blood-strokes (7.5% growth). The low and extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields destabilize the heartbeat, leading to a sudden death or infarction. Medical experts have finally explained why heart attacks take a heavy toll before a magnetic storm – because micro variations begin 24 hours before the storm.

“We have analyzed numerous data on the heartbeat of cosmonauts from all Soyuz crews, and the majority of missions to the Mir Station and the International Space Station,” said Doctor Tamara Breus (Physics and Mathematics) from the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Space Studies, who heads of a group of physics and physicians, studying this problem.

“We subjected 45 cosmonauts to examination during landing and flights of various duration, when they were exposed to geomagnetic disturbance, and then studied the same parameters in a neutral situation, he said.

“The influence of a magnetic storm was obvious. It was manifest in a change of pulse and blood pressure, vegetative disorders, reduction of heartbeat rate variability and the power of respiratory undulations, and in a more irregular heartbeat pattern. Reactions varied depending on the duration of the flights and an ability of cosmonauts to adapt themselves to the new environment.”

In the opinion of Dr. Breus, these effects were a reaction of the vascular tonus and heartbeat rhythm to magnetic storms.

It is perfectly obvious that the response of such a complicated system as the human organism to external factors largely depends on its condition. A magnetic storm is not dangerous for healthy people.

But there are risk groups with unstable biological status. These include people suffering from ischemic disorders or hypertension, or children whose adaptation system is the process of formation. Newly born are particularly at risk.

“We think that simply forecasting storms is counterproductive because people merely get scared as a result,” said Dr. Breus. “But steady micro variations are different. We should concentrate on this in forecasting geomagnetic disturbances.”

Text by Yury Zaitsev RIA Novosti
Moscow, Russia (SPX) May 29, 2006

Graph by SWPC Website

Solar X-ray flux

The GOES X-ray Flux plot contains 1 minute averages of solar X-ray output in the 1-8 Angstrom (0.1-0.8 nm) and 0.5-4.0 Angstrom (0.05-0.4 nm) passbands. Data from the SWPC Primary and Secondary GOES X-ray satellites is shown.

Graph by SWPC Website

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