Monday, May 21, 2012

Super Solar Storms

Assuming we all survive the end of the Mayan calender, 2013 is going to bring some excitement of it's own. Recently solar storms have gotten a lot of attention and the grand finally is expected in 2013. What does this mean for our little civilization on earth? The forecast is for,  "...solar storms, with a chance of catastrophic blackouts on Earth," according to National Geographic latest edition. The largest super solar storm was in 1859, before the world was on a sophisticated electric grid, like we are today. But in 1989 there was a solar storm that was a third less powerful than the storm in 1859 and it, "knocked out the power grid serving more than six million customers in less than two minutes’ time."

So what would happen if a storm as powerful as the one in 1859 occurred? It is estimated that ...storm could fry more transformers than the power companies keep stockpiled, leaving millions without light, potable water, sewage treatment, heating, air-conditioning, fuel, telephone service, or perishable food and medications during the months it would take to manufacture and install new transformers. A recent National Academy of Sciences report estimates that such a storm could wreak the economic disruption of 20 Katrina-class hurricanes, costing one to two trillion dollars in the first year alone and taking a decade to recover from."

John Kappenman of the Storm Analysis Consultants, a solar storm could, "turn out the lights over half of North America." He continues,  "One on the order of the 1859 event could take out the entire grid, sending hundreds of millions of people back to a preelectric way of life for weeks or perhaps months on end."

"Because the impact of a storm depends in part on how its magnetic field aligns with that of the Earth, scientists cannot be sure of the storm’s intensity until it reaches the ACE satellite—sometimes a mere 20 minutes before it slams into Earth."

To be ready for something like this takes some preparation. I don't think my preparations will make it onto the Doomsday Preppers show, but nevertheless, this week I will post a few of my ideas of preparing for such an event.

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