Scientists and governments across the globe recognize the dangers of a solar storm, and they are working on a warning system that could sound the alarm in the face of any impending catastrophe. Christopher Mims explains the dangers of solar storms and the efforts to combat them in The Wall Street Journal, writing:
One day, you wake up, and the power is out. You try to get information on your phone, and you have no internet access. Gradually you discover millions of people across the U.S. are in the same situation–one that will bring months or years of rebuilding.
The odds are low that in any given year a storm big enough to cause effects this widespread will happen. And the severity of those impacts will depend on many factors, including the state of our planet’s magnetic field on that day. But it’s a near certainty that some form of this catastrophe will happen someday, says Ian Cohen, a chief scientist who studies heliophysics at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
To get ahead of this threat, a loose federation of U.S. and international government agencies, and hundreds of scientists affiliated with those bodies, have begun working on how to make predictions about what our Sun might do. And a small but growing cadre of scientists argue that artificial intelligence will be an essential component of efforts to give us advance notice of such a storm.
The most dangerous of these solar storms is known as a coronal mass ejection, when a gargantuan blob of charged particles is catapulted from the Sun’s atmosphere by rapidly shifting magnetic fields, at speeds in excess of 8,000 times that of sound. These happen often, but we’re rarely aware of them because they only affect us when they happen to strike earth.
What makes these huge blasts of particles so dangerous to our power grid and electronics is that, when they collide with Earth, the interaction of the sun’s magnetic field with our own can induce large currents in power lines on Earth. If you’ve ever moved a magnet back and forth across a copper wire to illuminate a lightbulb in science class, this is the same effect–but on a global scale. A solar storm can induce currents in power lines that are strong enough to trip safety mechanisms–or even seriously damage parts of our power-distribution infrastructure.
And while the undersea fiber-optic cables for internet data don’t carry electricity, they do have electrical signal-repeaters within them. These repeaters boost the optical signal as it travels the length of the cable. If they’re disabled, the cable ceases to function.
Action Line: One thing every family needs is water, and with the power shut down from a solar storm or any storm, you’ll have a hard time pumping it from your well. Click here to download my free special report Emergency Water Storage: How Much, Containers, Purification & More.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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