BY GERARD WEST
Some experts believe that the costliest natural disaster that could affect us will not be a hurricane, tornado, tsunami or any other Earthbound weather events. It will come from space. From our own sun, in fact.
CORONAL MASS EJECTION
You may have heard of Coronal Mass Ejections (CME), and in fact, they happen quite frequently without causing the Earth any problems. That’s because the plasma ejection ends up missing the Earth entirely. But with enough time and enough plasma ejections, one is bound to connect. A few already have.
In 1859, a powerful CME impacted the Earth’s magnetosphere and created one of the largest geomagnetic storms on record. Amateur astronomers Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson independently made the first observations of a solar flare.
The CME took 17.6 hours to make the 93-million-mile trip to Earth. Elias Loomis compiled the worldwide effects of the geomagnetic storm. Auroras were visible around the world, some so bright that they woke up gold miners in the Rocky Mountains who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning.
Telegraph systems failed all over Europe and North America, even giving some telegraph operators electric shocks.
MODERN DAY DAMAGES
Obviously in 1859, people did not rely on electronic devices like we do in the modern day. A Carrington Event sized CME impacting Earth today would wreak havoc upon society.
The doomsday scenario of damages includes transformers, nuclear fuel rods overheating, GPS outages, banking systems, electric pumps used for water and gas, and numerous fires from short circuits.
In 2012, a Carrington Event sized CME missed the Earth in orbit by about two weeks.
The governments of the world are very aware of the potential devastation that a mass coronal ejection could deliver. President Obama issued an Executive Order in 2016 directing the coordination of efforts to prepare the nation for such an event.
“Government warning: Extreme space weather events — those that could significantly degrade critical infrastructure — could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would effect key services such as water supply, healthcare, and transportation. Space weather has the potential to simultaneously effect and disrupt health and safety across entire continents.
Successfully preparing for space weather events is an all-of-nation endeavor that requires partnerships across governments, emergency managers, academia, the media, the insurance industry, non-profits, and the private sector. It is the policy of the United States to prepare for space weather events to minimize the extent of economic loss and human hardship.”
From: YourWeatherWatcher.com — WRITTEN ON JAN 29, 2018