Friday, July 31, 2015

Earth could get just 12 hour warning to prepare for damaging solar storm

MASS power outages, satellite disruptions and failure of transport networks are just some of threats humans would face if there was an explosion of the sun.

What makes this even worse is we would only have 12 hours warning to prepare for such an event.
This is according to the British Government’s Space Weather Preparedness Strategy report— a plan developed to outline what needs to be done to cope with a massive solar storm.
The report states the worst case scenario of severe space weather would be a coronal mass ejection.
In the case of such an event, the aura of plasma surrounding the Earth would detach, hurling high-energy particles and X-rays toward our planet.



To develop the preparedness strategy, researchers examined the Carrington event of 1859 — the last major coronal mass ejection to hit Earth.

“Generally speaking, the faster the ejection, the greater the potential impacts,” the report reads.
“The Carrington event, for example, travelled to Earth in as little as 18 hours.
“It is therefore likely that our reasonable worst case scenario would only allow us 12 hours from observation to impact.”

The report predicts that the modern day equivalent of such an event would result in major blackouts and a disruption to satellite communications.

Researchers suggest this would cause GPS systems and high frequency radio communication to be affected, which would leave trains, ships and aircraft all disrupted.
The authors believe in order to deal with the phenomenon, countries should design safeguards in infrastructure, develop an ample alert system to warn of space weather and have emergency procedure in place.

“Much more needs to be done to encourage potentially vulnerable sectors to adopt measures to mitigate the likely impacts,” the report reads.

“Communication with the public is an important component in preparing for and responding to an event … not all impacts may happen during every space weather event but pre-agreed messaging is important to allow rapid and effective communication from government, if and when they do happen.


“Preparation is needed to the national level, with the support of local capabilities to deal with the consequences. This all requires international co-ordination.”

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