August began with a peak in the Solar Flux of 130, which then dipped to 96 by August 14th. This pattern repeats roughly every 14 days. The next peak is estimated to be around September 6th , but the general trend is a downward one. The prediction charts on Solarcycle24.com show that, if the prediction charts are correct, Solar flux would need to reach 140 by the end of 2011, but during August they have actually dropped to the same levels as in January.
G0KYA's Amateur Radio Blog (Steve Nichols)
“We are moving away from the summer solstice, but we are a long way from the better autumnal HF conditions that we should start to see in mid September. The summer sporadic E season should also be diminishing. The last month or so has been characterised by big swings in the solar flux index and pretty poor conditions, although it doesn't pay to generalise. A chance glance at 17m a week or so ago showed a station from Los Angeles, calling CQ and with very few takers. He was about the only signal on the band! “ Steve’s blog and podcasts can be found at: http://g0kya.blogspot.com/
Sun storms 'could be more disruptive within decades' By Judith Burns. BBC News
Within decades, solar storms are likely to become more disruptive to planes and spacecraft, say researchers at Reading University. The work, published in Geophysical Research Letters, predicts that "In a grand solar maximum, the peaks of the 11-year sunspot cycle are larger and the average number of solar flares and associated events such as coronal mass ejections are greater. "On the other hand in a grand solar minimum there are almost no sunspots for several decades. The last time this happened was during the Maunder Minimum, between about 1650 and 1700." The research indicates that most radiation hits the Earth during periods of middling solar activity. Increased radiation is a particular problem for aviation and communications - technology that did not exist the last time the sun cycle ended its grand maximum.
Via Ken Fletcher
Space Weather Turns into an International Problem (NASA Science News)
Sometimes a problem is so big, one country cannot handle it alone.
That's the message scientists were delivering at July's International Living with a Star (ILWS) meeting in Bremen, Germany, and representatives from more than 25 of the world's most technologically-advanced nations gathered to hear what they had to say. "The problem is solar storms, and figuring out how to predict them and stay safe from their effects," says ILWS Chairperson Lika Guhathakurta of NASA headquarters. "We need to make progress on this before the next solar maximum arrives around 2013." While it probably will not be the biggest peak on record, human society has never been more vulnerable. The basics of daily life, from communications to weather forecasting to financial services—depend on satellites and high-tech electronics. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/16jul_ilws/
Spacecraft Sees Solar Storm Engulf Earth (August 18, 2011)
for the first time, a spacecraft far from Earth has turned and watched a solar storm engulf our planet. The movie, released during a NASA press conference, has galvanized solar physicists, who say it could lead to important advances in space weather forecasting.
“The movie sent chills down my spine,” says Craig DeForest of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "It shows a CME swelling into an enormous wall of plasma and then washing over the tiny blue speck of Earth where we live. I felt very small.” The video can be viewed at: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/18aug_cmemovie/