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Stormy Space Weather Impacts Electricity In Equator Regions

First Posted: Nov 19, 2015 12:02 PM EST

In a recent study, researchers found that stormy space weather causes major electrical disruptions within equatorial regions, such as South America, India, Africa and Southeast Asia. Space shocks have had a major effect on the power grids within these areas.

"Our research shows areas closer to the equator experience disturbing effects on power grid infrastructure which has largely been overlooked," Dr. Brett Carter from the RMIT SPACE Research Centre and coauthor of the study, said in a news release.

In their study, the researchers found that geomagnetic storms are generated by the equatorial electrojet, which is a natural flow of electric current that is 100km above the earth's surface. The electrojet is known to travel in regions of South America, Southeast Asia, Africa and parts of south India.

Many equatorial regions remain vulnerable to disruptive space weather due to economical and infrastructural setbacks. In previous studies, researchers have examined the factors behind geomagnetic storms. However, Carter and his team believe that there are still negative effects from the equator and vast geomagnetic storms are not the only effects.

"It's becoming increasingly clear that we need to investigate the effects of adverse space weather in a technology-dependent society where health and economic well-being are reliant on dependable power infrastructure," Carter said.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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