Solar Storms Could Cause Earth Blackout in 2013

'Sun Awakens': Scientists Warn of Solar Storms to Come

Severe Solar Storm Could Cause 20 Times More Economic Damage Than Hurrican Katrina, Scientist Says

The sun is getting ready to ramp up its activity, and when it does we could be in for some real trouble, scientists say.

The sun's activity, which follows 11-year cycles, will experience its next peak in 2013. A solar storm of the strongest variety could cause 20 times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina , said a 2008 National Academy of Sciences report on space weather.

Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division, explains what it's all about:
"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we're getting together to discuss."

The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report entitled "Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts." It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.

Solar storm a serious threat around 2012

New Solar Cycle Prediction

Above: This plot of sunspot numbers shows the measured peak of the last solar cycle in blue and the predicted peak of the next solar cycle in red. Credit: NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center. [more]

The latest forecast revises an earlier prediction issued in 2007. At that time, a sharply divided panel believed solar minimum would come in March 2008 followed by either a strong solar maximum in 2011 or a weak solar maximum in 2012. Competing models gave different answers, and researchers were eager for the sun to reveal which was correct.

A Massive Solar Storm Could Cause Damages 20 Times The Cost Of Hurricane Katrina

'Sun Awakens': Scientists Warn of Solar Storms to Come - ABC News
As the Sun Awakens, NASA Keeps a Wary Eye on Space Weather - NASA Science
YouTube - Solar storm a serious threat around 2012
New Solar Cycle Prediction - NASA Science
YouTube - A Massive Solar Storm Could Cause Damages 20 Times The Cost Of Hurricane Katrina

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