A Catastrophe We’re Not Ready For – Solar Storms
Are we ready to face a global blackout? Try to imagine that if the power supplying millions of people is suddenly interrupted, And it lasts not just a few hours, but months or even years … Caused the world to fall into chaos And it completely collapsed the system from communication to water and food distribution This sounds like a plot that only happens in Doomsday movies But in real life, this situation is very likely to happen It is called the “low probability, high consequence” event Severe solar storms can paralyze power systems And let all the modern technology we have back to the prototype But in the face of this disaster, we were not prepared for anything Because most people do n’t see it as a major threat But in fact, this incident is followable
If you just happened on September 1, 1859, you will have a very weird day When night falls, the dim sky shows a brilliant light show, that is, the aurora Due to the collision of charged particles from the sun with the Earth ’s atmosphere And they are so bright that people in some areas can go outdoors and read newspapers in the middle of the night You can experience the charm of Aurora even in Hawaii This is unheard of locally And at that time we had few electronic appliances They instantly fell into chaos, sparks from the overload of the telegraph line Even ignited the electronic newspaper on the side and caused a fire
This is the solar storm of 1895, also known as the “Carrington Event” If this happens today Then It will send our lives back to the pre-industrial era After all, what is a solar storm? Basically, it means that the sun ejects countless protons and energy into the universe It usually comes from “sunspots” A low-temperature area on the surface of the sun that generates strong magnetic field activity These sunspots are closely related to “Sparkle” and “Corona Projectile-CME for short” Sparkle is an explosion of energy, Can spray huge amounts of energy and particles into the earth Although most of the material is turned by the Earth ’s magnetic field and the atmosphere, Flash flame can still interfere with the communication system and navigation positioning system But in exchange for a large amount of coronal projectiles will cause unprecedented catastrophe in modern technology It is due to the eruption of magnetized plasma on the sun, and the energy is transmitted to the earth by the solar wind Its arrival will
cover the magnetic field on the earth
Every 11 years or so, the activity will peak A series of very bad flashes and CME can affect our power system Cause considerable disasters and turn most of the earth into a “dark continent” In fact, we can foresee what it will do to our technology In 1989, a CME that was much smaller than the “Carrington Incident” attacked Quebec, Canada, Destroy local transformers and leave over 3 million residents without electricity And 2012 really let us pinch the cold sweat A CME with the scale of the Carrington event may attack the earth News content: “Electric energy is wiped out in an instant, Lights, computers, transportation, hospitals, etc. will be completely shut down Scholars have warned that this will be an unprecedented catastrophe. “
As a result, CME finally passed the position of the earth nine days ago But in case we meet, it will take years to rebuild Geomagnetically induced current (GIC for short) will simultaneously destroy hundreds of high-voltage substations, Paralyzes our power grid And it is impossible to restore by the backup transformer We will spend months or years repairing and replacing damaged infrastructure This consequence is far-reaching and very destructive But the problem is, in order to protect electronic equipment from the impact of the CME of the scale of the Carrington incident, We need hundreds of millions of funds At least, we can predict the next occurrence From the solar wind to the solar quake (the internal vibration of the sun), to the change of the solar magnetic field We will receive a warning before the next Carrington-class incident Maybe there will be some time to prepare, something like A few days before the hurricane hit.
We can cut off the power system in advance Even most of the power grid. But this will affect the government and private industry Cause serious losses. But there has been some progress in this part. Many countries in the world are beginning to respond seriously The US Congress allocated a budget to increase the predictive power of solar storms And enhance their coping ability This is not a question of whether or not, but when. 150 years have passed since the Carrington incident, maybe we should relax Perhaps another 150 years before another big storm.