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Panic in the Air

Dear <<First Name>>,

This week you might notice something a little different in the forecast. After multiple discussions with people in the aviation industry, I have decided to take the plunge and introduce reports from the NASA NAIRAS model into the forecasts. NAIRAS stands for "Nowcast of Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation System" and it gives us an idea of the intensity of penetrating radiation at various altitudes in our upper atmosphere. This information is extremely important to those in the aviation industry like pilots, aircrew, and high risk passengers such as frequent flyers, prenatal, and others requiring special precautions when it comes to radiation dose.

Although NOAA/SWPC gives warnings of solar radiation storms (these are the S1 through S5 level warnings), they do not issue any warnings due to increased radiation from cosmic ray sources-- at least, not yet. However, at solar minimum, when cosmic ray impingement is elevated, this leaves a gap that I have been asked to address.

So tell me, does this forecast with this new information cause you to panic? I've been warned by some scientists that sharing this information will do exactly that. There is no doubt it is a concern of mine. But just like the famous Chicago weatherman, Harry Volkman, who was the first to publicly share military tornado warnings despite being told he would incite a panic, I feel the needs of the public outweigh a possible panic in the air. Just like him, I trust that you would rather be empowered to make educated decisions regarding the weather and how it might affect you, than to be kept in the dark. I hope I have succeeded in this endeavor, but this is the most unsure I have ever been.  If you feel compelled to share your thoughts, I would love to hear from you.


New Chance for Aurora Even as Brightness Dims: Solar Storm Forecast 08-09-2018

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