Saturday, August 6, 2011

Strong geomagnetic solar storm hits earth

Last night's geomagnetic storm was classified as "strong" on the NOAA Space Weather scale, threatening to cause some disruptions in satellite communications, and possibly in power systems. At one point, the Kp index (a measure of the amount of geomagnetic disturbance - see my guide to solar weather)  hit "8" which is pretty impressive (see picture). As it happens, there don't seem to have been any really significant disruptive effects from this storm, but we should take this as a wake-up call. As we approach the 2013 solar sunspot maximum, NASA is predicting around four "extreme" events, and many severe events. As I discussed previously, such events could cause a widespread, long-lived power outage. Even a widespread outage of a few days could cause some big problems for nuclear power plants. Such a long term power outage really needs to be on our preparedness radar - both for individuals (e.g. by keeping a rolling food store) and for emergency managers.

1 comment:

  1. Can't something be done in order to protect the earth from the strong geo magnetic storms? Maybe build some sort of a shield.