Ben Davidson speaks from Spaceweathernews.com mentions that there was a short sharp geomagnetic storm over the East Coast of Australia around the time the Queensland Callide Power plant exploded.

The CME that flew past Earth didn’t do much around the world,  causing a small 1% deviation in magnetometers. But there was a burst of activity in the Southern Hemisphere that appears to have hit the east coast of Australia. Magnetometers there saw a 300 – 500% change between noon and 3pm on the same day as the Callide Coal Power Plant blew up. The explosion happened at 1.44pm and the 275 kV transmission lines tripped at 2:06pm.

We don’t know if this tipped something over the edge at Callide, but the timing is awfully coincidental. If Earth’s magnetic field is weakening it would seem urgent, to say the least, to understand the risks these spaceweather events pose to our critical infrastructure.

Perhaps an engineer who knows the design of hydrogen cooled supercritical coal reactors might be able to explain if or how a geomagnetic storm might contribute to an explosion, or even if that is possible?

h/t To Cardimona, Peter C, and Rafe at Catalaxy.

Australia, Estimated AusDst-index, Bureau of Meteorology.  “The Dst-index was derived to quantify the decrease in the geomagnetic field H-component observed during the main phase of magnetic storms produced mainly by the equatorial current system in the magnetosphere referred to as the ring current.”

Davidson mentions a paper by Wang that suggests that geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) pose a risk to power stations and grids. At the moment things are quite active over Australia and New Zealand.

Geomagnetic map of the world showing activity over Australia and New Zealand.

From the NOAA page on EMAG2

EMAG2 is compiled from satelliteship, and airborne magnetic measurements. Magnetic anomalies result from geologic features enhancing or depressing the local magnetic field. These maps increase knowledge of subsurface structure and composition of the Earth’s crust.”

Ben Davidson  talks about Australia from 35 seconds to 1:45

If anyone has a spare copy of  The Weathermans Guide to the Sun I’d love to read it. I would especially appreciate a print copy if anyone would like to donate one? Please email me joanne At this domain, or message in comments. Thank you! (They’re $65).

REFERENCES

The Bureau of Meteorology Geomagnetic page: https://www.sws.bom.gov.au/Geophysical/7/1

AusDst-index

Wang et al (2021) Effect of Earth’s lateral conductivity variations on geomagnetically induced currents in power grids.  

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijepes.2021.107148

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May 28, 2021