The 2014 solar storm we are now riding out on Earth has some worried the Sun's coronal mass ejection (CME) could be as bad as another Carrington Event that fries electronics just like an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by a nuclear bomb. But should anyone be worried, or is it just another opportunity to watch the pretty Aurora Borealis?
In a related report by The Inquisitr, a Russian spy satellite exploded over the United States, according to the U.S. Strategic Command, but Russia is officially declaring that's all a lie generated by Western media.
Previous reports on the 2014 solar storm from The Inquisitr have already explained what a CME is and why it has the potential to wreak havoc on the Earth.
"A CME is a large burst of solar wind that ejects from the Sun's corona. The event releases super-heated particles travelling at immense speeds, and when those particles hit the Earth, they cause a geomagnetic storm, which is capable of wrecking havoc on electrical systems. A CME from the recent major solar flare would take several days to reach Earth."Scientists have a rating system for geomagnetic storms that goes from G1 to G5, with G5 being the strongest. The solar storm hitting us right about now was only expected to be either a G2 or G3, although scientists could not rule out a solar storm as severe as a G4, particularly in areas where the interactions with the earth's magnetic field are strongest. But, at worst, this particular solar storm is only expected to disrupt radio communications, cause GPS signal degradation, and at most cause voltage issues in the power grid in the northern parts of the United States. Overall, Thomas Berger, director of the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center, says the current solar storm is "expected to be manageable and not cause any major disruptions to power transmission."
The real question is whether a future 2014 solar storm could be as bad as the estimates made for the solar storm of 1859, which is called the Carrington Event after British astronomer Richard Carrington. The electromagnetic solar storm caused telegraph lines to burst into flames, primitive "electronics" to operate without batteries, the earth to literally "boil" in some spots, and the northern lights could be seen so far down south that the Aurora Borealis allowed people to read at night. Some locals really thought the end was nigh.
Scientists are rightfully worried that our current solar cycle might trigger an electronics collapse of anything not electromagnetically shielded. The weakest link is the electric power grid — which we all depend on nowadays — and some of the aging satellite systems that do not have military grade hardware protection. Can you imagine all electronics either fizzling out or bursting into flame? The damage would be in the trillions, and there would be mass starvation since our modern style of living requires refrigeration and transportation in order to function.
The idea of a "black swan" type event isn't theoretical since a solar storm knocked out a power grid in Quebec in 1989, and it's claimed that a devastating CME event has a 12 percent chance of happening by 2024. Earth already dodged the bullet once in recent times. Back in July of 2012, two coronal mass ejections separated by 10 to 15 minutes was enough of a solar superstorm to be a Carrington Event, but fortunately our planet barely missed it.
According to Peter Vincent Pry, who advises Congress on homeland security issues, a large enough geomagnetic solar storm could produce effects similar to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by a nuclear weapon that "could collapse power grids everywhere on the planet and destroy EHV (extra high voltage) transformers and other electronic systems that would require years to repair or replace." While the danger posed by a G5 solar storm gets mentioned occasionally at Congressional hearings, there really hasn't been any major action.
Earlier this year, a Homeland Security adviser said America is not ready for an EMP attack, never mind a G5 solar storm, and it's claimed that the U.S. power grid fails more often than any other in the world. If a large enough solar storm does impact the United States, the damaged electronic systems can cause a cascade of failures throughout the broader infrastructure, including banking systems, energy systems, transportation systems, food production and delivery systems, water systems, emergency services, and even the internet, so people may not even realize at first what has happened. Effectively, the U.S. would be thrown back to the pre-industrial age following a solar superstorm, and yet we are not prepared for the worst.