Projecting the Impact of a Geomagnetic “Superstorm”
Posted: Jan 23, 2009
As the sun begins to rouse from its prolonged quiet period at the bottom of the sunspot cycle, hams around the world are looking forward to the next solar peak and the big band openings on HF and VHF that will accompany it. But a big solar peak can also result in big solar flares, followed by big geomagnetic storms here on Earth. And that has some researchers working for the National Academy of Sciences very worried. Their report, funded by NASA and released in mid-January, looks at the potential impact of a “super solar flare” followed by an extreme geomagnetic storm. According to NASA, the researchers looked at a huge geomagnetic storm that took place in 1921 (estimated to be 10 times stronger than the 1989 storm that left six million people in Quebec without power for nine hours). They then modeled its likely effects on the modern power grid.
Conclusion: the electrical power distribution system is likely to collapse across the eastern one-third of the U.S. as well as the Pacific Northwest, leaving more than 100 million people without power! Projected economic impact is some 20 times greater than that caused by Hurricane Katrina.
So enjoy those sunspots, but just hope the sun doesn’t get carried away with itself!
Source is [here](http://newsvc.cq-amateur-radio.com/) if you go to “View All.”
That’s scary stuff! Let’s hope it doesn’t cause too much harm.