Originally posted by NGC2736
reply to post by MrUniverse
How about a little background and citations of these things? What are you basing this on? Where did you get your information?
We always check sources around here, so nothing bad meant for asking.
Physical changes in the intensity of solar radiation conspire with human impacts to stress the world system. Astronomers have noted that since the
1940s, and particularly since 2003, the Sun has become remarkably turbulent, with the exception of the last year or so. Solar activity is predicted to
peak around 2012, creating storms of intensity unprecedented since the 1859 “Carrington event,” when a large solar flare accompanied by a coronal
mass ejection flung billions of tons of solar plasma into the Earth’s magnetosphere.
Solar storms, capable of traveling at speeds up to 5 million miles per hour, could knock-out virtually every major technological infrastructure on the
planet: transportation, security and emergency response systems, electricity grids, finance, telecommunications, including satellite and other
wireless networks, and even household electronic equipment.
The solar storm of 1859 was the most powerful event of its kind in recorded history. On the 1st of September of that year the Sun expelled huge
quantities of high-energy protons in a large flare that traveled directly toward the Earth, taking eighteen hours instead of the usual three or four
days to reach our planet. It disrupted telegraph systems all over Europe and North America. Fires erupted in telegraph stations due to power surges in
the wires; and the northern lights (aurorae borealis) were seen as far south as Florida.
The next solar storm on record, in March of 1989, melted the transformers of the HydroQuebec Power Grid, causing a nine-hour blackout that affected
six million people in Canada. And the solar storms that reached the Earth between October 19th and November 7th 2003 disrupted satellites and global
communications, air travel, navigation systems, and power grids all over the world. It also affected systems on the International Space Station.
The solar maximum forecast for 2012 could do greater harm than any before, since human life has become much more dependent on the global energy grid.
According to “Severe Space Weather Events: Understanding Economic and Societal Impacts,” a National Research Council report issued in the spring
of 2009 by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, another Carrington event would induce ground currents that knock out 300 key transformers within 90
seconds and cut off power for more than 130 million people in the U.S. alone. Its cost could be as high as 2 trillion dollars, and recovery time
would be four to ten years. An even worse impact would be felt in China, where the electrical grid is more vulnerable than in the West.
A major solar storm would cause the failure of electric power in most parts of the world. The above cited report of the National Academy of Science
claims that this would have catastrophic consequences. People in high-rise apartments, where water has to be pumped up, would be cut off immediately.
For most others drinking water would come through the taps for about half a day, but the flow would then cease without electricity to pump it from
reservoirs. Transportation systems directly or indirectly dependent on electric power (which means practically all systems) would come to a
standstill. Back-up generators would operate at some sites until their fuel ran out. For hospitals that would mean about 72 hours of essential care
only services. Without power for heating, cooling and refrigeration, and with a breakdown in the distribution of medicines and pharmaceuticals, urban
population would begin to die back within days.
Scientists forecast yet another disruptive event for the end of 2012: