Scientists Claim Solar Storms for Confusing Whales and Mass Strandings

Space weather has a massive impact on Earth, let it be our satellite-based communications or creatures residing here. Well, this event in the extra-terrestrial world can also strand whales, particularly, the Gray ones. Usually, solar storms on the sun result in the development of space weather and flow towards Earth. Those high-energy events disturb the magnetic field of the Earth and also obstruct our communications. Now, in a new trial, researchers have discovered that space weather often interferes with the navigation of whales. Gray whales are one of the species which undergo the longest migrations. Those whales travel between 10,000-12,000 miles every year. They also accomplish return trip amid warm waters of Mexico for breeding. Even more, they visit the Arctic for feeding. Gray whales travel nearby shore throughout their long-term migration. Thus it is easier to track them and their stranding events.

So far, researchers were unaware of the mystery behind the navigation of whales in the dark depth of oceans during their epic relocations. Well, it is challenging to study the action of the whales. But recently, researchers have found a link between whale strandings in the North Sea of Europe and solar storms. During the trial, researchers have assessed 186 Gray whale strandings, which occurred between 1985-2018. To step up the dataset and eliminate some variants, the team has monitored strandings of whales. It mainly includes whale strandings, where they were found alive with no symptoms of illness, injury, human interaction, or emaciation. After that, the team has related strandings with different means of solar activity. The estimation includes the number of sunspots present, variations in the magnetic field of the Earth, and solar radio flux.

The scientists discovered that Gray whales had been two times probably to be stranded on days where there existed more than 150 sunspots, as that to days when there were less than 12-4 times as probably to strand depending on greater radio flux. Such an outcome pinpoints the sensing prototypes are interfering with the navigation system of whales in some way. Jesse Granger, the leading author of the study, said they reveal the approach behind the link between Gray whales and solar storms. Granger added that solar storms are affecting the magnetic field by pushing it around. As a result, it is spoiling the receptor, and whales are getting inappropriate information.