Massive Solar Storms of the Future Could Reap Katrina-Scale Devastation

Monday, March 1, 2010 - 13:56 in Astronomy & Space

If storms as strong as the biggest recorded in the last few two centuries, our electronics-dependent world of today could be in trouble No electricity, no running water, and no phone service for millions of people. That scenario could easily become reality if a solar storm as intense as those found throughout the history of our planet were to strike Earth today. NPR reported on FEMA's recent simulation of such a storm, and the grim conditions it uncovered. Solar storms take place when the sun's surface erupts and spews radiation or electrically charged particles toward Earth. The more frequent minor storms may cause some radio interference and create the Northern Lights spectacle known as the aurora borealis. But every few decades can see a huge solar storm that releases the energy of 1 billion hydrogen bombs. Events of that magnitude took place in both 1921 and 1859, before the world had become...

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