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In a recent paper, we extended a previous study on the solar solar influence to the generation of the March 2012 heatwave in the northeastern USA. In the present study we check the possible relationship of solar activity with the early March 2012 bad weather in northeast Thrace, Greece. To this end, we examined data from various remote sensing instrumentation monitoring the Sun (SDO satellite), Interplanetary space (ACE satellite), the Earth’s magnetosphere (Earth-based measurements, NOAA-19 satellite), the top of the clouds (Terra and Aqua satellites), and the near ground atmosphere. Our comparative data analysis suggests that: (i) the winter-like weather (rainfall, fast winds, decreased temperature) in Thrace started on 6 March 2012, the same day as the heatwave started in USA, (ii) during the March 2012 winter-like event in Thrace (6–15 March), the ACE satellite recorded enhanced fluxes of solar energetic particles (SEPs), while SOHO and PAMELA recorded solar protons at very high energies (>500 MeV), (iii) Between 3–31 March, the temperature in Alexandoupoli and the ACE/EPAM solar high energy (1.88–4.70 MeV) proton flux were strongly anticorelated (r = −0.75, p = 0.5). (iv) Thrace experienced particularly intense cyclonic circulation, during periods of magnetic storms on 8–10 and 12–13 March, which occurred after the arrival at ACE of two interplanetary shock waves, on March 8 and March 11, respectively, (v) at the beginning of the two above mentioned periods large atmospheric electric fields were recorded, with values ranging between ~−2000 V/m and ~1800 V/m on 8 March, (vi) the winter-like weather on 8–10 March 2012 occurred after the detection of the main SEP event related with a coronal mass ejection released in interplanetary space as a result of intense solar flare activity observed by SDO on 7 March 2012, (vi) the 8–10 March weather was related with a deep drop of ~63 °C in the cloud top temperature measured by MODIS/Terra, which favors strong precipitation. Finally, we analyzed data from the electric power network in Thrace (~41°N) and we found, for the first time sudden voltage changes of ~3.5 kV in the electric grid in Greece, during the decay phase of the March 2012 storm series. We discuss the winter-like March 2012 event in Thrace regarding the influence of solar cosmic rays on the low troposphere mediated by positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Finally, we infer that the novel finding of the geomagnetic effects on the electric power grid in Thrace may open a new window into space weather applications research.


This article was originally published in Remote Sensing, volume 16, in 2024.

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