UNB researcher finds solar storms trigger peculiar communication troubles on Earth

A new study co-authored by a University of New Brunswick researcher shows solar storms trigger peculiar communication troubles on Earth.

It found that large sections of the upper atmosphere over the Arctic region were left void of electrons after a solar storm.

Dr. Richard Langley said while it's well-known that solar storms affect electrons in the Earth's atmosphere, this is the first research which demonstrates a loss of electrons.

Langley said the discovery may help to further explain what causes blackouts in radio and satellite signals in the Arctic, which limits air and marine travel in that region.

He hopes the recently published findings will support the development of communication and navigation systems that can take into account conditions during solar storms.

Langley, a professor of geodesy and geomatics engineering, worked with researchers from the Technical University of Denmark, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Illinois on the study.

Focusing on a solar storm that took place over Greenland in Feb. 2014, they used a network of GPS receivers in Greenland and American and Canadian satellites to collect large amounts of data from the storm.