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Huge magnetic anomaly over the Atlantic

Huge magnetic anomaly over the Atlantic 86

The Earth’s magnetic field protects its surface and its inhabitants – including all humans with their fragile bodies, as well as sensitive electronics – from deadly cosmic rays and charged particles flying from the Sun. 

However, in some places, this invisible armor is weakening and the gaps grow. Therefore, scientists from all over the world are very carefully studying such anomalies in order to better understand the mechanics of the magnetohydrodynamic dynamo in the bowels of the planet, as well as to predict changes in the magnetic field.

A magnetic anomaly is a significant weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field over a specific region on the planet’s surface. As the name suggests, the South Atlantic (SAA) is located over the southern part of the Atlantic Sea, partially “covering” South America and “catching its tail” in the very south of Africa. This formation has the largest size at an altitude of about 500-600 kilometers. At sea level, its “projection” is somewhat less and manifests itself in the magnitude of the magnetic field – it is equal to that at an altitude of about a thousand kilometers above those areas of the earth’s surface where there are no anomalies.

Such a decrease in the magnetic field is not yet dangerous for the inhabitants of our planet, but it already creates serious problems for the engineers who design spacecraft and control their missions. For example, the legendary Hubble orbiting telescope revolves around the Earth just at an altitude of about 540 kilometers – that is, several times a day it flies through the anomaly. At these minutes, the work of the space laboratory is suspended due to the increased level of radiation.

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The trouble is, where the Earth’s magnetic field weakens, the protection of the entire space around the planet from the solar wind and galactic rays decreases. Charged particles get the opportunity to rush to the earth’s surface almost without deviating, and, naturally, collide with everything that comes their way. Moreover, for spacecraft, the situation with the South Atlantic anomaly is further complicated by the structure of the radiation belts. It is in this region of the Atlantic that the inner Van Allen belt descends almost to the surface of the planet.

The Van Allen radiation belts are two kind of Earth blankets formed from charged particles (protons and electrons) that are trapped between the magnetic field lines of our planet. Usually, most satellites are located below the inner belt (orbits up to 1000 km at apogee) and are almost not exposed to the destructive effects of ionizing radiation. But the South Atlantic anomaly still spoils the nerves of astronauts and engineers in the rocket and space industry.

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In addition to the Hubble, which has to periodically stop scientific work, many other vehicles are victims of this area in near-earth space: the ISS carries increased radiation protection, since it also flies through this anomaly, presumably several Globalstar satellites were damaged, and on the shuttles they were completely ordinary laptops shut down. For people, the flight through the anomaly at an altitude of 400 kilometers above the Earth also does not pass unnoticed – most of the phosphenes (flashes behind closed eyes that cause high-energy elementary particles) are observed by astronauts and cosmonauts over the Atlantic.

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What caused this unpleasant behavior of the magnetic field – the question is not completely closed. According to the generally accepted and well-proven theory, the liquid metal core of the Earth, during its rotation and constant mixing of convection currents, works like a dynamo. But, since its structure is inhomogeneous, different masses of matter move in the bowels of the planet at slightly different speeds. These fluctuations are superimposed on the misalignment of the magnetic axis with the axis of rotation of the planet and “result” in a weakening of the magnetic field over the south of the Atlantic.

Modern research shows that the South Atlantic Anomaly has been more or less stable for at least 8 million years and is smoothly drifting westward at a speed of about 0.3 degrees per year. This coincides with the difference in the speed of rotation of the earth’s surface and the outer layers of the planet’s core. But what is most interesting is that the SAA changes its shape and gradually splits into two parts. This process has been going on for a long time and in a number of sources two separate anomalies are initially considered – Brazilian and Cape Town.

On the general health of the planet, such changes, as far as can be judged, do not have a serious impact. Problems only arise when a person climbs higher above the surface – there are more satellites in orbit, and their design increasingly uses common commercially available components. How serious will be the effect of increased radiation on those devices that fall into the anomaly during or after a strong solar storm, only time can tell.

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The existence of the South Atlantic Anomaly was confirmed in 1958 during the manned Gemini 4 mission. Photo: Astronaut Edward H. White II makes a spacewalk.

Planet Earth

Polar vortex: “wild” winter is coming in the US, Northern Europe and East Asia after the 16th of January

Polar vortex: "wild" winter is coming in the US, Northern Europe and East Asia after the 16th of January 103

In the upper atmosphere above the North Pole, experts saw a rapidly swirling vortex of cold air that could bring severe frosts to the United States, Northern Europe and East Asia. Serious cold snap and snowy weather are expected after January the 16th.

Snowfalls and a cold snap hit South Korea since the start of 2021, hitting historic snow maximums and temperatures. In the country, for the first time since 1964, television and newer communications are sending people cold snap warnings:

The situation is similar in Japan, where a new snow storm hit historic highs:

On January 7, the thermometer In Beijing dropped to -20 degrees Celsius, breaking the 1966 record. In other regions of China, the temperature is also not sugar, and you can only move around in special uniforms:

The cold even reached Taiwan, where the temperature in some areas dropped below freezing point, snow poured down and people realized that rice terraces can be used as a ski jump:

Even more snow went to Spain, where on January 6, 2021, a temperature of -34.1 ° C was recorded – the lowest on record. After that, a snow storm hit the country, which has not been seen for 80 years:

The same thing happens in Canada and in the northern states of the United States:

It seems that after a stratospheric warming, the subpolar vortex began to split:

The vortex itself is a standard phenomenon. However, this time experts were surprised at his movement. It is possible that in the near future it will be divided into two parts. 

Scientists associate the strange behavior with the changed climate in the Arctic, which has become warmer. From September to December, the amount of ice cover decreased significantly.

The polar vortex is a low-pressure region located in the stratosphere and filled with cold air. When the jet stream of air that holds the vortex weakens, the low pressure area moves south. 

As the ice shrinks, more moisture will move inland. It will turn to snow, so snowfalls are expected. Snow, in turn, reflects heat, leading to a cold snap.

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Planet Earth

Hospital in Naples was evacuated after a new, huge sinkhole appeared

Hospital in Naples was evacuated after a new, huge sinkhole appeared 104

Eyewitnesses said they heard a loud crash at dawn when a huge hole in the ground formed outside the Ponticelli Ospedale del Mare hospital in eastern Naples.

Early in the morning of January 8, 2021, a sinkhole occurred in the parking lot of a clinic in Naples. The depth of the formed cavity is about 20 meters, the total area of ​​the hole is about 2,000 square meters.

No casualties were found at the scene; firefighters say the sinkhole “affected an area of ​​about 500 square meters” and engulfed several cars parked near the hospital.

As the press writes and as a little can be seen from the videos, rescuers and firefighters were running around the pit together with the governor of the area.  But who should be there in the forefront are Italian geologists, since Naples stands in the very center of the volcanic system known as the Phlegrean Fields.

If the surface collapsed, moreover – the surface reinforced with concrete and reinforced from below with some kind of communications, then we are talking about serious soil deformations caused by the activity of magma.

Italy has been in doubt since the summer of 2020, because swarms were observed there in very atypical places in May, and according to the forecasts of old Italian seismologists, who had witnessed many strong earthquakes, it should have boomed in the August region.

Fortunately, nothing bad happened to Italy and there was no big earthquake. But, since there are swarms, it means that something is being prepared, the magma is gathering strength. 

Following this particular sinkhole event – an obvious sign that a major earthquake in Italy is already very close.

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Planet Earth

A new great pandemic cycle has begun (again) in China

A new great pandemic cycle has begun (again) in China 105

In the first months of 2020, the whole world with a certain fright followed the events unfolding in China, where people fell on the streets during the day and astronauts wandered, and in the evening crematoria began to smoke. And now, with the onset of December, the cycle seems to be repeating itself.

Shunyi area in Beijing, where the authorities announced “wartime status” the day before. As you can see in the videos, thousands of people are lined up in the queue for mandatory testing:

Dalian city, where “wartime” is also declared. Neighborhoods are blockaded, people are walled up in entrances, familiar characters of George Lucas roam the streets:

Chinese ‘rescuers’, before performing a combat mission:

Chengdu City:

Daluo Port, Yunnan – tourists came for adventure and they received the ‘time of their life’ after leaving the ramp:

If something happens in Beijing, it does not mean that tomorrow the same will happen everywhere. However, the trend towards such dynamics is observed and, as the practice of the first wave of the pandemic has shown, all countries and people, to one degree or another, have taken into account the ‘Chinese experience’. 

Therefore, one must think that everything will now be in peace, as in spring – a new global round of the fight against the Covid has begun in China, a new great pandemic cycle!

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