Sunspot numbers up, earthquake risk
SATURDAY JANUARY 05, 2013
Sunspot AR1640 is currently crackling with low-level
solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspots add stress to the earth's electromagnetic field. This in turn affects weather, bringing extra heat to some areas experiencing summer, as can be seen currently in southern Australian cities. The heat in Adelaide should continue until about the 9th, then repeat about 20th-23rd and then 29th. More about Adelaide and extreme heat in other cities can be found here.
The sunspot record is also an indicator of something brewing when it comes to seismic activity. Sunspots correlate to earthquake numbers and magnitudes.
You can easily see this in the trends shown by the corresponding arrows below.
As to what is currently happening, we can see the increase in sunspot numbers in recent months, in the graphical record below.
January 8-11 looks like the next earthquake risk period, and the greatest interval to be alert for over January. The reason is the approaching kingtide, perigee and southern declination, the usual gang of rogues.
On 10 January is the #4th closest perigee for 2013, so will still be potent. Remember that the last perigee on 13 December (#2 for 2012) brought us the Pacific cyclone and much seismic activity, starting the week beforehand on 7 December, the interval which included a 6.3mag in the North Island as well as activity under the volcanic plateau and White Island.
Many large earthquakes at that time, like a 5.4mag in Westport, went unreported in NZ because of the policy of our Geonet to not report or under-rate events that are not felt-recorded. The explanation by Geonet to the Commission of Inquiry that not to alarm the public is the first consideration, means that overseas geo-sites like USGS, true rather than social scientists, and which do not have such morality issues, must be accessed to find the most accurate information on what is happening locally.
Therefore we can rely less on NZ media for what occurs and the only honest source of local earthquake information is social networking, where there are contributors who are monitoring seismic activity to give people the benefit of choice of action and preparation.
Sunspots have increased by 20% in the past two days and are back up to a level last seen on 20 November and before that 20 October, and before that 25 September. They are still rising. The highest sunspot count since 3 September was 13-14 November. It may be noted that on 10 November Christchurch had its last largest shake, a 3.7mag 6-tonner, since 24 Oct (4.2mag 25 tonnes).
The solar wind count is also rising and the wind flowing from the current coronal hole should reach earth on 8-9 January.
It all logically adds weight to some activity in this second week of January for NZ, and possibly Christchurch but more likely to be the upper and east North Island, where activity has been greatest over recent months.
As perigees are at present lessening, we should not expect destructive events, but powerful enough to be felt and with the potential to cause anxiety. It is hoped that information such as this page and website provides can lessen fears because anticipation removes unwanted surprise.