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Heck with 2011. Prepare for 2013.

 
 
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 06:38 pm
The day the Earth stood still. 'Gort. Where's Gort when you need him?'

By Rik Myslewski in San Francisco • Get more from this author

Posted in Science, 16th June 2010 06:02 GMT
In 2013, the earth will be attacked from space, with one possible outcome being mind-bogglingly severe disruption to our tech-centric way of life.

"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years, we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity," says Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division. "At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms."

Fisher's comments came during the run-up to last week's Space Weather Enterprise Forum 2010, at which scientists gathered to discuss how to prepare for the massive solar storms set to strike the earth in 2013.

"We know it is coming but we don’t know how bad it is going to be," Fisher told the Daily Telegraph. "It will disrupt communication devices such as satellites and car navigations, air travel, the banking system, our computers, everything that is electronic. It will cause major problems for the world."

The earth has been battered by solar storms before, but never has civilization been so vulnerable, since it's now so dependent upon both electrical and electronic infrastructure.

In pre-electronic and barely electrical 1859, a "perfect space storm" shorted out telegraph lines in the US and Europe, causing numerous fires. It also made the Northern Lights visible as far south as Rome, Havana and Hawaii, according to NASA — contemporary accounts relate how a group of campers in the Rocky Mountains were awakened by an "auroral light, so bright that one could easily read common print. Some of the party insisted that it was daylight and began the preparation of breakfast."

In 1921, a solar storm induced ground currents that crippled the New York transit system. In 1989, another solar storm brought down the entire Quebec power grid due to those pesky ground currents, and plunged six million people into darkness on a cold, cold Canadian night.

Fischer sees serious trouble ahead from the 2013 peak solar activity attacks. "I think the issue is now that modern society is so dependent on electronics, mobile phones and satellites, much more so than the last time this occurred," he said. "There is a severe economic impact from this. We take it very seriously. The economic impact could be like a large, major hurricane or storm."

That economic impact could be a "space weather Katrina," according to a 2008 report from the US National Academies of Sciences' Space Studies Board entitled Severe Space Weather Events: Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts.

"Strong auroral currents, which wreaked havoc with the telegraph networks during the [1859] event," the report warns, "can disrupt and damage electric power grids and may contribute to the corrosion of oil and gas pipelines.

"Economic and societal costs attributable to impacts of geomagnetic storms could be of unprecedented levels," the report concludes. The cost of hurricane Katrina, estimated to be between $81bn and $125bn, would be piddling when compared to the effect of a "future severe geomagnetic storm scenario," which the report estimates could run as high as $1 trillion to $2 trillion in the first year. Depending on damage, the report contends, full recovery could take 4 to 10 years.

Scary estimates, indeed, but — as with that other scary eventuality, global climate change — preparation could help mitigate the effects of another "perfect space storm".

Fisher told the Telegraph that precautions could include, for example, creating power-grid backup systems so that if transformers or giant load-balancing capacitors are fried by a solar outburst, Plan B could go into effect. "If you know that a hazard is coming ... and you have time enough to prepare and take precautions, then you can avoid trouble," he said.

You can keep tabs on what the sun is throwing at us at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center. But don't worry too much — after all, if the Mayan calendar is correct, we need not fret about 2013. ®
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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 2,721 • Replies: 15
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 06:40 pm
Are ya scared yet?
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 06:42 pm
@edgarblythe,
What's allegedly supposed to happen on 2011?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 06:45 pm
So they were right. There isn't going to be a 2012.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 07:02 pm
Bring it on. Wood stove for the house, an old truck that has none of these new fangled electronic. I'll be sittin' in my snorkel stove hot tub watchin' the NLs.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 07:26 pm
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:

What's allegedly supposed to happen on 2011?
Embarrassed
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 08:13 pm
@edgarblythe,
Im gonna buy me a LAmbo and when the credit card records go up in smoke, she will be mine.

Will Aluminum foil work, or is that only good for a spendi attack?
0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 08:17 pm
@edgarblythe,
Oh, great, yet more problems to worry about! Mad

So, should we pack our bags now and head for the mountains?

Why is this the first time I've ever heard of this? If this is such an important issue, why not more coverage?


And, lastly, what does the following mean?
Quote:
... But don't worry too much — after all, if the Mayan calendar is correct, we need not fret about 2013.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 08:22 pm
@Reyn,
And, lastly, what does the following mean?
Quote:
... But don't worry too much — after all, if the Mayan calendar is correct, we need not fret about 2013.

The Mayan calendar is supposed to predict the end of the world in 2012.
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 08:29 pm
@edgarblythe,
Okay, now I feel much better. Sad


I just had a quick gander at some searches for "solar activity 2013" and while there is some concern, it may not become a problem, especially if electrical grids are shielded, satellites put offline, etc.

So, I've chosen not to worry (for now). Wink
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 08:50 pm
Oh, no. You have got to worry. That's the whole aim of this thread. What good is it to post a disaster topic that no one is frightened by?
0 Replies
 
Briteone
 
  0  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 10:20 am
Don't worry . if the solor flare hits we will all be gone in a blink of an eye
you won't know what hit ya.
any bible go ers out there? (will be gone with a hissing ....)
the rapture happens first
0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jun, 2010 09:35 pm
Hi All,
The impact of the solar flare can and will cause major electronic disruption - This is not the problem - The problem begins when refrigerators and electrical supplies go down... Day 1 fresh food starts to turn, dried cereal and tinned stuffs will last for weeks, maybe months, worry not. Day 2 panic sets in - there is no emergency service in effect... Their communications are down, gangs begin selling foodstuffs, candles, matches, etc, from the backs of vans, for extortionate prices - people outbid one another, rioting begins. Day three - Unless you are part of a large armed group, everything you own is taken from you by force, It'll be like the vikings have invaded. Day 4 - If you survived day 3, you are doing well - All fresh water is commandeered, you are starving, dehydrated, on the outskirts of town or in your attic/basement praying for normality. Day 5 - Dogs are scavengering and attacking people, you are desperate, you exit your hiding place and likely get eaten by a hungry dog or stabbed to death by a crazed gangster. There wont be many left on day 6.
If it's any consolation, I have been planning for 2013 for years and, with my bushcraft skills well developed, I will outlast the storm by far.
So good luck to you all, and fare well.
Mark...
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jun, 2010 09:48 pm
This story sounds similar to the dire forecasts in the years leading up to the dreaded Y2K.

As a result of all the panic and preparations that will be made, maybe we'll have another dot com bubble in the electronics industry (maybe it will be solar energy this time) to pull us out of this recession .
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 07:25 pm
The Weather channel has an interesting article with photos about the awakening sun and all the observation satellites currently focused on the sun.

Here is one to snag your interest:

Be sure to notice the comparison to the size of the earth.

http://i.imwx.com/web/news/2010/june/parker-blog-sdo-earth-scale-061610-325x325.jpg





http://www.weather.com/blog/weather/8_22170.html

0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 07:47 pm
Well, its some beautiful photographs.
0 Replies
 
 

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