Approaching Solar Storms Could Be Earth's Next Major Disaste

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PostThu Mar 04, 2010 10:40 pm » by Savwafair2012


March 03, 2010
FEMA/NASA
National Public Radio


Every few decades, the sun experiences a particularly large storm that
can release as much energy as 1 billion hydrogen bombs. Officials from
Europe and the U.S. say an event like that could leave millions on Earth
without electricity, running water and phone service.


A massive solar storm could leave millions of people around the world
without electricity, running water, or phone service, government
officials say.


That was their conclusion after participating in a tabletop exercise
that looked at what might happen today if the Earth were struck by a
solar storm as intense as the huge storms that occurred in 1921 and 1859.


Solar storms happen when an eruption or explosion on the surface of the
sun sends radiation or electrically charged particles toward Earth.
Minor storms are common and can light up the Earth's Northern skies and
interfere with radio signals.


Every few decades, though, the sun experiences a particularly large
storm. These can release as much energy as 1 billion hydrogen bombs.


How Well Can We Weather The Solar Storm?


The exercise, held in Boulder, Colorado, was intended to investigate
"what we think could be close to a worst-case scenario," says Tom
Bogdan, who directs the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder. The
Center is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


"It's important to understand that, along with other types of natural
hazards, (solar) storms can cause impacts," says Craig Fugate,
Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who
also took part in the tabletop exercise.


Bogdan and Fugate say that eventually there will be another storm as big
as the ones in 1921 and 1859 --- a sort of solar Katrina.


But the impact is likely to be far worse than in previous solar storms
because of our growing dependence on satellites and other electronic
devices that are vulnerable to electromagnetic radiation.


In the tabletop exercise, the first sign of trouble came when radiation
began disrupting radio signals and GPS devices, Bogdan says.


Ten or 20 minutes later electrically charged particles "basically took
out" most of the commercial satellites that transmit telephone
conversations, TV shows and huge amounts of data we depend on in our
daily lives, Bogdan says.


"When you go into a gas station and put your credit card in and get some
gas," he says, "that's a satellite transaction."


Disabled Satellites Are Just The Beginning


The worst damage came nearly a day later, when the solar storm began to
induce electrical currents in high voltage power lines. The currents
were strong enough to destroy transformers around the globe," Bogdan
says, leaving millions of people in northern latitudes without power.


Without electricity, many people also lost running water, heat, air
conditioning and phone service. And places like hospitals had to rely on
emergency generators with fuel for only two or three days, Bogdan says.


In many ways, the impact of a major solar storm resembles that of a
hurricane or an earthquake, says Fugate.


But a solar Katrina would cause damage in a much larger area than any
natural disaster, Fugate says. For example, power could be knocked out
almost simultaneously in countries from Sweden to Canada and the U.S.,
he says. So a lot more people in a lot more places would need help.


Individuals don't need to make any special preparation for a solar
storm, Fugate says. The standard emergency kit of water and food and
first aid supplies will work just fine.


"If you've got your family disaster plan together, you've taken the
steps, whether it be a space storm, whether it be a system failure,
whether it be another natural hazard that knocks the power out," Fugate
says.


http://www.npr.org/
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PostTue Mar 16, 2010 4:13 am » by Savwafair2012


Hold on!!!!!!!!

No this isn't a double post look when this was first posted. :flop:

Now with the approching solar flare this make's more sence
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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 5:01 pm » by Savwafair2012


BUMP :flop:

Posted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:40 pm

merge this :flop:
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