Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The National Academy of Sciences has just released the results of a study entitled Severe Space Weather Events--Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts. The 132-page document examines what might happen to our high-tech modern society in the event of a super solar flare followed by an extreme geomagnetic storm. Such a storm did occur in the year 1859. It electrified telegraph lines, shocking technicians and setting telegraph papers on fire; Northern Lights as far south as Cuba were so bright, you could read a newspaper by their eerie glow.

According to the report, "a contemporary repetition of that event would cause significantly more extensive (and possibly catastrophic) social and economic disruptions." The report warns of widespread failures in telecommunications, electric power, banking and finance, and transportation; even water supplies could be disrupted. The total economic impact in the first year alone could reach $2 trillion--about 15 times greater than the costs of Hurricane Katrina. Depending on damage, full recovery from the solar storm could take 4 to 6 years.

No one knows how often super solar storms occur. We've only seen one like it in the past 200 years. The next one could be another 200 years away--or just 200 days. All the more reason to study space weather!

NASA studies solar flare dangers to Earth-based technology
TG Daily - 7 hours ago
Solar flares not only emit a continuous stream of plasma, called a "solar wind," but also release literally billions of tons of mass. ...

Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 05 Jan 2009
Space Ref (press release) - 16 hours ago
Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 04/2100Z to 05/2100Z: Solar activity was very low. No flare activity occurred. ...

US still probing security satellite failure
Reuters - 3 hours ago
Defense officials say possible causes for the failure range from defective parts or software problems, a natural phenomenon like a solar flare, or possibly, ...NOC

Solar flare mystery
Brantford Expositor, Canada - Dec 27, 2008
Solar flares are the most powerful events that happen in our neighbourhood of the universe. Certainly there are more powerful events that happen elsewhere ...
Mystery of Venus’s vanishing water may be solved soon Entertainment and Showbiz!
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