Overdue Since 1921, Next Solar Storm Could Disrupt Much of World

Tuesday, March 02, 2010
(photo: Trace Project, NASA)

When the last massive solar storm struck earth, modern civilization was without the electronic- and wireless-based communications that are now so critical to day-to-day living. Researchers recently conducted a simulation to see how countries might fare if the earth was subjected to a huge burst of electromagnetic radiation, and the results were not good.

A solar storm similar in size to those unleashed by the sun in 1921 and 1859 could result in millions of people around the world losing access to electricity, running water and phone service. The tabletop exercise, held in Boulder, Colorado, found that radio signals and GPS devices were vulnerable to a rush of radiation hitting the planet. Also, communications satellites responsible for relaying television signals and other data could get taken out by the next storm, described by scientists as a solar equivalent to Hurricane Katrina.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Solar Storms Could Be Earth's Next Katrina (by Jon Hamilton, National Public Radio)


Dan 10 years ago
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