Report: Chance of a Catastrophic Solar Storm Is 1 in 8

Would Take Down Power Grid, Food Transportation, Water Utilities, Financial Systems

Mac Slavo
Thursday, March 8, 2012

According to a recent study published by Space Weather: The International Journal of Research and Applications,  we have roughly a 12% chance of getting hit with a solar storm so powerful that it could take down the national power grid and yield catastrophic consequences for the general population. Pete Riley, a senior scientist at Predictive Science in San Diego, is the author of the study which looks at the probability of the occurrence of extreme weather events:

Via: On the probability of occurrence of extreme space weather events

Key Points

  • Probability of a Carrington event occurring over next decade is ~12%
  • Space physics datasets often display a power-law distribution
  • Power-law distribution can be exploited to predict extreme events

By virtue of their rarity, extreme space weather events, such as the Carrington event of 1859, are difficult to study, their rates of occurrence are difficult to estimate, and prediction of a specific future event is virtually impossible. Additionally, events may be extreme relative to one parameter but normal relative to others. In this study, we analyze several measures of the severity of space weather events (flare intensity, coronal mass ejection speeds)…

By showing that the frequency of occurrence scales as an inverse power of the severity of the event, and assuming that this relationship holds at higher magnitudes, we are able to estimate the probability that an event larger than some criteria will occur within a certain interval of time in the future. For example, the probability of another Carrington event occurring within the next decade is ∼12%.

The 1859 Carrington Event, as described by Wired Science, may have been a marvel to observers and caused some setbacks in the developing telegraph infrastructure at the time, but a similar occurrence today could be a global game changer:

At the time of the Carrington Event, telegraph stations caught on fire, their networks experienced major outages and magnetic observatories recorded disturbances in the Earth’s field that were literally off the scale.

In today’s electrically dependent modern world, a similar scale solar storm could have catastrophic consequences. Auroras damage electrical power grids and may contribute to the erosion of oil and gas pipelines. They can disrupt GPS satellites and disturb or even completely black out radio communication on Earth.

During a geomagnetic storm in 1989, for instance, Canada’s Hydro-Quebec power grid collapsed within 90 seconds, leaving millions without power for up to nine hours.

The potential collateral damage in the U.S. of a Carrington-type solar storm might be between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in the first year alone, with full recovery taking an estimated four to 10 years, according to a 2008 report from the National Research Council.

The post-storm effects of such an event are underestimated by the majority of the world’s population, including our political leadership. Like an electro magentic pulse attack, according to the National Research Council a massive enough solar storm could have long term effects that ”would likely include, for example, disruption of the transportation, communication, banking, and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water owing to pump failure; and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of lack of refrigeration.

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8 Responses to Report: Chance of a Catastrophic Solar Storm Is 1 in 8

  1. Pingback: A Global Disaster From The Perfect Solar Storm | Articles

  2. Pingback: Solar Risks: Hype Or Truth? - Advanced Forecasting Corporation » Advanced Forecasting Corporation

  3. Everything is falling into the up coming energy shift and our Sun is in a flux where it’s magnetic fields are changing ; to get ready for the new photon energy’s will be running all our new power needs sometime after 2012 and on. There is nothing to Fear as when the collapse of the planet’s electrical and magnetic fields occurs , it will also allow all atoms on Earth to be changed, The atoms in your body will be modified to form a new body–a body that is semietheric –and the veil of consciousness around you will be removed .

    We will no longer be living in the limited 3rd -dimensional reality ,remember in the 1950’s and 1960’s where one would Look up at our Sun and we saw the colour as being yellow ??!! ; not so today it’s more of a bright White look it is taking on , and it’s getting brighter by the day as things are truly accelerating in and on our Sun and on Earth and in our Universe ;and the Cosmic culture and science information since childhood over the last 60 years has changed ten fold ; and human identity is in the flux of changing as well. WOWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE our History will not be the same in less then 30 or so years into the future as the Human race is helping with the needed evolution is still necessary in 2012 and on.

  4. Ethaos says:

    Strong language warning= This comment contains attitude and language that some may find more offensive than Janet Jackson’s Nipple!

    The biggest threat of the worst case scenario in this realm is to the power grid. The 1859 event fried telegraph lines because as conductors they induced and then transmitted the currents from the magnetosphere. To quote the Wiki-

    Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases even shocking telegraph operators.[5] Telegraph pylons threw sparks and telegraph paper spontaneously caught fire.[6] Some telegraph systems appeared to continue to send and receive messages despite having been disconnected from their power supplies.[7]

    Please remember this was in 1859 and there was NO GRID… Nowadays people are hooked up into a network that is addicted to the electron flow. So we lose GPS whoopdy do. Cell phones are all fried, OMGoddess you actually have to talk to physical people!!! Transmission lines burn out and your brand new SUV’s electronic ignition is fried… Lines are easy to fix, they do it all the time after terrestrial storms. If you can’t get off of your lazy fat ass and walk to the corner store for groceries for a week tough shit.

    Now the kicker… Transformers also get fried. Those funny looking boxes on the ground, the round cans on poles, and those amalgamations of stuff behind the fence with the signs that say “DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE”!!!!!!! Transmission line are a bitch to fix but would not have to be replaced completely because they would burn thru in small areas of overload and essentially remain intact over long distances. Transformers are wires coiled tightly together and when fried need to be replaced. Tie that together with repairing vehicular electronics to deliver food to major cities or fuel for backup power at nuke plants and things get scary.

    My point in typing this is not to scare but rather inform. The danger is from long term power loss due to replacement of essential components. Folks who live in big cities are in danger. Those of us who are on the outskirts could fend for ourselves, but if the wack jobs who run things continue to be pushers of depleted uranium we could all be Fukishima’d!!!

    I personally believe this aint gunno happen!

    Goddess I pray enough karma is behind that thought to prevent it!

  5. ExtrovertedOne says:

    You know, I have learned from long experiencing my “psychic sense” as I call it that when I listen to it, it’s usually correct. It also seems that mainly, the only times that I make a mistake is when I give in to my fear. In this case, my psychic sense is saying that this might not be such a big deal. I may be wrong, and time will tell if I am or not, but I believe that is what my psychic sense is telling me. I’d be very interested in what others think about this.

    • Jean says:

      My sense of this is that it will be as bad as we make it: we are going to create the reality – and I think so far we are doing a great jog of keeping things positive.


      • Suzy says:

        You got it Jean, being possitive is the key and we are trying our best but at the same time we are trying to gather all our info to try and see the bigger picture. I find loads of info on here that gives us somewhere to gather and exchange views and ideas. It’s all good.
        Best wishes as always,

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