Could weather in space cause marine animals to beach?

GREENBELT, Maryland (KTRK) -- NASA scientists are looking into whether solar storms in space could confuse marine animals, causing them to strand on beaches and leaving them in grave danger.

Severe solar storms are known to affect Earth's magnetic field. Solar storms, which occur when the sun's corona ejects large bubbles of charged particles that travel through space toward Earth, can wreak havoc on satellites, power grids and radio communication when they reach Earth's magnetosphere.

Dolphins, whales and porpoises are known to be sensitive to magnetic fields, and scientists posit that strong solar storms may throw off marine animals' internal compasses.

"If we understand the relationship between the two, we may be able to use observations of solar storms as an early warning for potential strandings to occur," explained Katie Moore with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, one of many organizations collaborating with NASA on the study.

Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.