A massive solar storm today could plunge Earth into ‘darkness’
The strongest solar storm to date is from 1859. What if Earth were hit by something similar? Experts revealed.
From homes, offices, hospitals, to all the major communication systems in the world, the grid that connects everything, including our daily activities, can be halted for only a few minutes. in a snap! This horrifying scenario could become a reality if Earth were to be hit by a large enough solar storm. Just such an event happened in real life! Known as the Carrington Incident of 1859, a solar storm caused terror around the world when the telegraph system suddenly began electrocuting operators, burning power lines and offices. , etc. Similarly, there is another storm, which is said to be 3 times weaker than the Carrington Event that made landfall on Earth and it still managed to damage power transformers and grids. This is in Quebec, Canada, in March 1989, in which the Hydro-Quebec power grid collapsed. A similar storm in New Jersey blew up transformers and tripped circuit breakers. These areas were without electricity for many hours. It was an invisible calamity with very real destruction.
How do solar storms affect the Earth?
The reason behind the appearance of solar storms, which wreak havoc on the Earth, is due to activity on the Sun. The Sun’s highly volatile nature causes it to spew huge amounts of energy into space, and if Earth gets in the way, it will be affected by these solar storms. And when a solar storm hits the Earth, it creates a disturbance in the Earth’s magnetosphere and causes a powerful geomagnetic storm.
There are parameters to measure the intensity of these geomagnetic storms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration measures the strength of these storms on the G Scale, whose ratings starting from G1 to G5 are extremely natural. And sure enough, the Carrington Event will rank as G5.
Impact of geomagnetic storms on the power grid
The number of solar storms these days has increased. And the impact is obvious. From reports of minor radio blackouts to bright auroras at the North and South poles, it’s all caused by relatively small geomagnetic storms. But what if Earth ever saw a hurricane like the Carrington Event today?
Its impact will be more catastrophic than what we saw in 1859, says David Wallace, Clinical Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Mississippi State University. “Geomagnetic storms generate induced currents , flowing through the grid Geomagnetic induced current, which can exceed 100 amps, flows into electrical components connected to the grid, such as transformers, relays and sensors. equivalent to electrical service supplying many households.A current of this size can cause damage inside Wallace explained.
With a growing reliance on electricity and technology, any disruption could lead to trillions of dollars in financial loss and, worse, put millions of lives at risk. Since even hospitals need electricity, any long-term disruption will mean people needing urgent help will not be able to get it. Also, if there’s no electricity, even cell phones won’t work.