Hoping Things Won’t Flare Up Again

I sat at my computer this morning, about to write another essay when I found that I could not get on line. A reboot solved the problem but left me thinking about what might happen if a significant part of everyone every where’s internet and electronic communications suddenly failed to work. This is not the stuff of science fiction (although it would make a good story) but a possibility that exists. Much of our electric grids, internet, cell phone technology and all of our GPS technology could be wiped out or severely damaged by a solar flare.

Solar flares are coronal mass ejecting from the surface of the sun. These ejections send waves of magnetised plasma from the sun. If the waves collide with Earth they will cause a great deal of damage to the communications systems upon which we increasingly depend. In 1859 a solar flare known as the Carrington Super Flare after one of the amateur astronomers who recorded it caused telegraphs systems to fail.

It seems in July 2012 we just missed a solar flare of similar magnitude to that which Carrington observed. Today an equivalent flare would wreak much more damage – the insurance industry estimated the cost at $2.6 trillion. Geomagnetic storms are not frequent events, and there seem to be a number of near misses from time to time. We should not become over reliant upon technology. After all, man may propose but does not always dispose.

One Response

  1. Did you know Rob that the government have their own separate internet systems, ours can be turned off and their hard wired version could withstand such an accident. If we all have more alternative skills and not connected to such a life line we cannot be effected as much, solar water panels would be safe from such an attack also, at least you would have an important back up and warmth for free if used wisely.

    Just imagine how much stored energy we could have if all households were connected to the suns energy, houses were designed and built to gather the suns rays instead of heating them by conservational models.

    Same goes for all the hot water that is wasted from our power stations, societies nearer these giants could be warmed and bathed for free, glass houses could be heated all year round like the Icelanders banana houses, then their emissions would be balanced out.

    There are so many natural paths we could be taking, but a hand full of idiots wanting us to pollute and pay for the wasted heat.

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