[FPSPACE] solar max consequences at mid-latitudes

Keith Gottschalk kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za
Thu Nov 1 05:42:35 EDT 2012

Dear Fpspacers,
      I mentioned in a previous posting that three of us attended the two day conference of the South Africa Space Association back-to-back with the two day colloquium of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, with only one hour in between to light the braai (barbeque). While I mentioned some papers of interest from the SASA conference, it only now dawns on me that one of the ASSA papers might also interest some readers of this email forum,.
             It has been known for decades that when solar max causes swollen auroral rings they induce huge currents in long power cables near the arctic & antarctic circles. There are not yet any long power cables near the antarctic circle, but a solar storm did damage a Quebec hydropower transformer in 1989. What was startling news to us was that a South African wrote his doctoral dissertation on how in South Africa (between lattitudes 34 - 21 S) he found correlations between old substations blowing up & solar storms. After graduation he lobbied for twelve years Eskom (the parastatal power utility) who has now set up a solar storm division. Before this, transformers & substations failing was just put down to their average age of over forty years and the need for preventative maintenance & replacement.
     Magnetic lattitudes are not of course the same as geographic lattitudes. But South Africa is in the mid-lattitudes for that as well. These doctoral findings would seem to have implications for the US, EU. Russia & China as well.
warm regards,  Keith.
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