Discover the World News Forecast . . . FIRST in Foresight Journalism

EARTH **30 Dec 2012 Solar storms loom as potential threats to Planet Earth

NASA says the Sun, 93 million miles away, is awakening from a long sleep and will be in the mood for violence at the end of

December 30, 2012 - NULL

EARTH **30 Dec 2012 Solar storms loom as potential threats to Planet Earth

NASA says the Sun, 93 million miles away, is awakening from a long sleep and will be in the mood for violence at the end of Dec 2012, or thereabouts. A single major solar storm could knock out power grids, destroy satellites, ground airlines and disrupt global banking. Such chaos could leave governments powerless and millions without water or food, so experts are mindful of the date. So are moviemakers -- particularly as Dec 2012 will also see Doomsday, according to some prognosticators.

Government officials, disaster response managers

EARTH **30 Dec 2012 Solar storms loom as potential threats to Planet Earth

NASA says the Sun, 93 million miles away, is awakening from a long sleep and will be in the mood for violence at the end of Dec 2012, or thereabouts. A single major solar storm could knock out power grids, destroy satellites, ground airlines and disrupt global banking. Such chaos could leave governments powerless and millions without water or food, so experts are mindful of the date. So are moviemakers -- particularly as Dec 2012 will also see Doomsday, according to some prognosticators.

Government officials, disaster response managers, power company chiefs and others met in June in Washington DC at a space weather forum to consider the impact of the possible solar storm. They heard Chris St Cyr, a senior astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, predict the low probably of a major storm but "very high impact" if it does occur. St. Cyr pointed out that the technological society of the 21st Century means an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. Global power grids are interconnected, he said, and "would act as one giant antenna in a big geomagnetic storm. . . . This is a natural hazard that we didn't have to worry about in the 1970s."

Much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. Putting satellites in 'safe mode' and disconnecting transformers can protect these assets from damaging electrical surges. Preventative action requires accurate forecasting, and that job that has been assigned to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA.)

Several space weather satellites will play a role in keeping a watchful eye on the Sun: STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) is a pair of spacecraft stationed on opposite sides of the sun with a combined view of 90 percent of its surface; SDO (the Solar Dynamics Observatory); and the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), which monitors solar winds.

The Scotsman, one of several newspapers reporting on the Washington DC conference noted that the biggest solar storm on record, in Sep 1859, was so powerful that it short-circuited telegraph wires across the United States and Europe, shocking operators and causing fires. The Northern Lights, usually seen only close to the North Pole, were visible in Rome. A geomagnetic storm in Mar 1989 hit Canada and knocked Quebec's entire power system offline. A 1994 storm caused communications satellites to malfunction and disrupted television and radio broadcasts. (Written Jun 2010)

**Approximate date

RELATED READING:

And the forecast is (Scotsman 9 Jun 2010)
http://www.scotsman.com/news/And-the-forecast-is-.6349086.jp

As the Sun Awakens, NASA Keeps a Wary Eye on Space Weather (Physorg 9 Jun 2010)
http://www.physorg.com/news195297437.html

Back to Articles
Print | RSS

Log In | Subscribe | Learn More | Advertise | Media Services | About/Contact | News Links | ARCHIVE | RESOURCE

Copyright© NewsAhead International, Powered by dbCanvas

Page 1

Page 1

Authored by
Affiliate Links
jQuery Menu by Apycom

Date written/update: 2012-12-30