Catastrophic space storms

Livescience.com: Perfect Space Storm Could be Catastrophic on Earth, Study Concludes

Solar activity has just passed the low point in its 11-year  cycle, and is expected to peak again around 2012. It is believed that about every 100 years or so, there is a particularly intense solar storm, which could disrupt power supplies on Earth on a catastrophic scale, as well as damage satellites.

A new study from the National Academy of Sciences outlines grim possibilities on Earth for a worst-case scenario solar storm.

Damage to power grids and other communications systems could be catastrophic, the scientists conclude, with effects leading to a potential loss of governmental control of the situation.

The prediction is based in part on major solar storm in 1859 caused telegraph wires to short out in the United States and Europe, igniting widespread fires. It was perhaps the worst in the past 200 years, according to the new study, and with the advent of modern power grids and satellites, much more is at risk.

“A contemporary repetition of the [1859] event would cause significantly more extensive (and possibly catastrophic) social and economic disruptions,” the researchers conclude.

Grace and Peace

3 thoughts on “Catastrophic space storms

  1. danny george

    When you combine theology with science you dilute both. If we are so afraid of the solar storms of 2012 and it is so noted that an effect of catastrophic proportion will occur then why hasn’t the government taken action to protect the power grid, the political infrastructure, the nations of the world and the people.

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  2. Reader

    Why didn’t New Orleans do anything to prepare for a possible massive hurricane? People dismiss these things thinking they won’t happen. Katrina should have taught us all that things “do” happen, and we had best be prepared!

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  3. WebMonk

    Actually geo, contrary to livescience’s story, most forecasts of the Sun’s activity in the upcoming solar cycle have it being a lower than normal period of activity, even at its peak.

    Read May 8th, 2009: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/README3

    Here’s the relevant text:
    “The panel has decided that the next solar cycle will be below average in intensity, with a maximum sunspot number of 90. Given the predicted date of solar minimum and the predicted maximum intensity, solar maximum is now expected to occur in May, 2013.”

    On the other hand, their recent predictions haven’t exactly been “stellar”. But, their predictions of late have consistently been of a more active Sun than what has actually happened, so it’s probably pretty safe that they’re right this time. (I wish I had saved a series of their predicted levels of Sun activity and how they had to continually push it back and lower it to match the current readings. It was sort of funny, at least to me.)

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