Solar Storms

January 11, 2013
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This post about solar storms is not a prediction, or even a long shot likelihood.  However, in keeping with my overall mission, it is a heads up to be alert.  The government has been largely silent about it, and likely will underplay a real event. You can keep this post in mind for quick reference if necessary.  If this extreme black swan were to actually occur, the world as we know will be turned upside down, as would the ability to communicate.  In 2013 two events (called solar maximum) combine that increase the risk of a large solar storm:  every 22 years the Sun’s magnetic energy cycle peaks while the number of sun spots – or flares – hits a maximum level every 11 years (History.com: Solar Storm).

NOAA maintains a site that monitors this activity. Should an alert go out, one can track activity and region absorption possibilities here. 

Below is a screen shot of the strongest solar storm to slam into the earth in years. If NASA, along with the National Academy Sciences are correct, this is one of many powerful storms that will hit the earth over the next year.  Once the live solar storm chart found at the very bottom of the page hits 8 or 9 (at each station) is when electricity world-wide is subject to failure within 24-48 hours after the alert goes out. The response time could be even less than twenty four hours. There is also an even greater possibility for smaller localized blackouts similar to the 1989 Quebec experience.

A big event could take the electric grid down for months, even years. The following is from a National Geographic article

Of particular concern are disruptions to global positioning systems (GPS), which have become ubiquitous in cell phones, airplanes, and automobiles, Baker said. A $13 billion business in 2003, the GPS industry is predicted to grow to nearly $1 trillion by 2017. In addition, Baker said, satellite communications—also essential to many daily activities—would be at risk from solar storms.“Every time you purchase a gallon of gas with your credit card, that’s a satellite transaction,” he said.

But the big fear is what might happen to the electrical grid, since power surges caused by solar particles could blow out giant transformers. Such transformers can take a long time to replace, especially if hundreds are destroyed at once, said Baker, who is a co-author of a National Research Council report on solar-storm risks.

If the earth in fact gets a direct hit by a solar storm producing x-class solar flares, (Coronal Mass Ejection or CME) …it can cripple the world in more ways then we can possibly imagine. It will cause nearly every electronic device to not function. Imagine no more working cell phones, cars, trucks, planes, ships, computers, navigation systems, TV, radio, iPods, or game machines, let alone no more advanced medical services. Since more then likely there will be no electric power in most of the world for many months on end, there will be no modern banking system in place, no New York Stock Exchange, credit cards will be worthless and what cash, silver and gold you have will be king.  Food stores will soon be looted in the name of survival, most gas stations can’t pump gas for what cars and trucks that might still be working. All forms of radio communication will no longer work during this period, making it difficult if not impossible for local law enforcement to maintain law and order,  and National Martial  Law.

 

Solar Storm K-Index

This article covers how to prepare for a solar storm. The key is that this event will be measured in months, so that needs to be kept in mind in terms of food, water and other preparations.  This article has suggestions on protecting electronic devices from a solar storm. Another solid video on grounding, disconnecting and metal casing (or aluminum foil, Faraday cages, disconnected washer and dryer)  various electronic systems including vehicles.   He advises the use of a short wave radio.  This video discusses the use of Faraday cages and issues about electrical magnetic pulses (EMP).

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