The solar cycle is expected to be at its highest point, or peak, sometime in 2013 or 2014; no one can truly be sure when (Rincon, 2012). More solar flares and coronal mass ejections are expected in the next few years because of the solar cycle gaining in activity. Some storms are expected to cause some problems with technology on earth, such as satellites and aircraft signals and navigation (Rincon, 2012).
Every once in a while, magnetic energy is released from the Sun's atmosphere making solar flares, or intense bursts of radiation, appear. Coronal Mass Ejections, or CMEs, occur when particles with high amounts of energy are released into space. Coronal Mass ejections and Solar Flares often go hand-in-hand though coronal mass ejections can occur by themselves.
Geomagnetic storms, or solar storms, are then created as soon as the particles in coronal mass ejections or solar flares collide with Earth. They mess up the magnetosphere which "protects its denizens from the worst effects of cosmic rays." (Rincon, 2012)
Solar storms are important because of all of the effects they can cause on Earth. Millions of dollars worth of damage can happen because of these geomagnetic storms. Up to $2 TRILLION dollars of initial damages are expected for large storms, according to the US National Academy of Sciences (Rincon, 2012). Communication and power lines are easily damaged I(Rincon, 2012). The Aurora borealis and australis, or the polar lights, are also affected by geomagnetic storms, but they don't create as much damage to human life as the technology interference, that the storms cause, do. The most important thing to learn with how to deal with these storms is to learn all about the storms, first. That is exactly what the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admistration's Space Weather Prediction Center plans to do (Rincon, 2012).