Pushing the Envelope of Extreme Space Weather

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
William Dean Pesnell, NASA / GSFC, Greenbelt, MD, United States
Extreme Space Weather events are large solar flares or geomagnetic storms, which can cost billions of dollars to recover from. We have few examples of such events; the Carrington Event (the solar superstorm) is one of the few that had superlatives in three categories: size of solar flare, drop in Dst, and amplitude of aa. Kepler observations show that stars similar to the Sun can have flares releasing millions of times more energy than an X-class flare. These flares and the accompanying coronal mass ejections could strongly affect the atmosphere surrounding a planet. What level of solar activity would be necessary to strongly affect the atmosphere of the Earth? Can we map out the envelope of space weather along the evolution of the Sun? What would space weather look like if the Sun stopped producing a magnetic field? To what extreme should Space Weather go? These are the extremes of Space Weather explored in this talk.