If the phone stopped working – the reason to worry about health, especially for the elderly. Back in the 30s in France they noticed: heart attacks and strokes happen more often in the days when there is no connection, or magnetic storms. Scientists later found out that communication problems, as well as health problems, are influenced by solar activity – flares cause geomagnetic storms. March 2021 began with perturbations in the magnetosphere, and several flares and storms are still expected during the month.
Magnetosphere and solar wind conflict
The Earth is protected from cosmic radiation by the magnetosphere, a magnetic field in the form of a drop-shaped cavity. It is compressed from the side of the Sun and pulled in the opposite direction, forming a kind of tail.
From space, the field is affected by the solar wind stream – so called ionized particles, which constantly fly away from the Sun at a speed of 400 km/sec. Usually the pressure force of the solar wind and the pressure of the Earth’s magnetic shell are equal. The balance changes after solar flares – then the solar wind speed increases, sometimes up to 1200 km/sec, and the flux reaches the Earth’s atmosphere in one or two days, and the magnetic sphere is compressed over the Earth.
Too strong flow of particles disturbs the magnetic field of the planet, which causes rapid and strong changes in the characteristics of the magnetic field. Thus, a geomagnetic storm is a rapid and strong change in the Earth’s magnetic field that occurs during periods of increased solar activity.
In early September 1859, gold prospectors in the Cordilleras began making breakfast in the middle of the night – it brightened early. Skies lit up all over the world – even the tropical Caribbean observed the “Northern Lights” and the telegraph stopped working all over Europe and North America. On the first and second of September 1859, the strongest geomagnetic storm in the history of observation took place – it is called the “Carrington Event,” after the astronomer who noticed the strong solar flare. And in the English-language literature, the phenomenon is known as the Solar Superstorm.
Major magnetic storms in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries caused serious technical problems: a magnetic storm in 1940 disrupted power supplies in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Quebec and Ontario. The 1989 storm destroyed a transformer at the Salem nuclear power plant. It also blocked the high voltage grid in Quebec and left 6 million people without electricity for nine hours.
Experts say that today the infrastructure has greatly expanded, and therefore ground-based technical problems are not so visible. What is more noticeable now is the effect of solar flares on space equipment and on the stations of communication operators. As a result – disruptions in mobile communications, satellite TV signals, navigation services.
Impact on health
On different estimations, from 50 up to 75 % of people are subject to negative influence of magnetic storms. At the same time, some scientists do not agree with the version that storms somehow affect health.
Those who support the version of health damage say that storms manifest themselves in headaches, joint and heart pain. Mood swings and sleep disturbances are noted. Mostly it affects people with poor health.
Doctors say that during magnetic storms biorhythms change, the condition of some patients deteriorate before magnetic storms, and others – after. This is especially true for those who suffer from respiratory diseases.
Hypertensives are advised to drink more water and reduce salt intake during storms: salt retains fluid in the body and leads to high blood pressure. Hypotensive people are advised to take tonic tincture of Eleuterococcus or magnolia-vine. Meteosensitive people during the magnetosensitive it is important to sleep well, avoid high loads, sports, long shopping trips or working at the cottage.