GET YOUR TIN FOIL BEANIES ON! Solar flares to increase beyond measure in 2012

a) A graph showing the area of observed sunspots dating back to 1880. b) Simulated magnetic flux using the new computer model.
(Image: © Mausumi Dikpati/NCAR/NSF)

Buy a stockpile of tin foil and start making beanies for your neighbors, because we are going to be under major attack by solar flares in 2012.

Space scientists announced that they expect the next cycle of sunspots and associated solar activity to be as much as 50 percent stronger than the most recent one. Researchers used a model of solar activity that predicted the previous eight 11-year cycles with 98% accuracy to conclude that the upcoming cycle, which will peak in 2012, will start as much as a year late and be 30-50% stronger than the previous cycle. Periods of high sunspot counts are associated with strong solar activity, including storms that can disrupt power and communications systems on Earth and create brilliant auroral displays.


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