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Posted: 8/31/2010 6:34:59 PM EDT
http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/6650993-earth-on-alert-as-sun-awakens-solar-storm-damage-could-top-20-katrinas

Earth ‘on alert' as sun awakens; Solar storm damage could top 20 Katrinas

(Video from link) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI7oR1kctBI&feature=player_embedded#!

Scientists predict massive solar storms will affect human life on earth in unprecedented ways as the Sun awakens from its cyclic pattern in 2012 or 2013. The damage to high-tech functioning could top 20 Katrinas!

Earth and space will soon connect in an unprecedented way. The Sun is "waking up from a deep slumber," according to Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division. Massive solar storms will bombard earth, and the ramifications of that space weather could rival any earthly weather humans have experienced.
"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.... I believe we're on the threshold of a new era in which space weather can be as influential in our daily lives as ordinary terrestrial weather. We take this very seriously indeed," said Fisher.

General scientific consensus is that the coming "solar maximum" could arrive in 2012 or 2013. It will be "the most violent in 100 years," says astronomy lecturer and columnist Dave Reneke in Australian Science magazine. Earth will be hit with unprecedented levels of magnetic energy from solar flares.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 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. NAS warned that a century-class solar storm could cause 20 times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.

Preparedness is critical because much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. Putting satellites in ‘safe mode' and disconnecting transformers can protect them from damaging electrical surges.

The National Space Weather Program Council conducted a forum in Washington, DC in June to discuss how solar storms affect today's technological society. Organizers focused on protecting critical infrastructure. The ultimate goal is to improve the nation's ability to prepare for, diminish the impact of and respond to potentially devastating space weather.
Much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. Putting satellites in 'safe mode' and disconnecting transformers can protect these assets from damaging electrical surges. Preventative action, however, requires accurate forecasting-a job that's delegated to NOAA.

"Space weather forecasting is still in its infancy, but we're making rapid progress," said Director of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center Thomas Bogdan.
"We know it is coming but we don't know how bad it is going to be," Fisher told Reneke. "Systems will just not work. The flares change the magnetic field on the Earth and it's rapid, just like a lightning bolt. That's the solar effect."
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 7:33:21 PM EDT
I have always believed that the 2012 thing would involve the Sun going OMG WTF BBQ.
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 7:43:50 PM EDT
20 Katrinas? So... like one MASSIVE oil leak?
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 7:44:31 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Mrmaigo:
20 Katrinas? So... like one MASSIVE oil leak?


Link Posted: 8/31/2010 7:45:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By rotorblade:
I have always believed that the 2012 thing would involve the Sun going OMG WTF BBQ.


Like that movie Knowing with Nick Cage
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 7:46:34 PM EDT
Good.  Maybe the ham radio bands will come back.
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 7:48:35 PM EDT
Doesn't solar storm stuff interfere with radio transmissions?
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 7:52:07 PM EDT
This could be worse than Y2K.
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 7:55:13 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 8:04:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Mrmaigo:
20 Katrinas? So... like one MASSIVE oil leak?


Worse...It could be 911 times a thousand!!!
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 8:14:51 PM EDT

Link Posted: 8/31/2010 8:15:03 PM EDT
repost and its nothing more than scare tactics. as i said in the other post. scientist dont know whats going to happen in the next 5 hours on the sun, much less 2-3 years out.
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 9:08:49 PM EDT
Originally Posted By hilljb:
Doesn't solar storm stuff interfere with radio transmissions?


Storms can cause interference if severe, but a more active sun will cause the earth's atmosphere to be more energetic.  This, in turn, causes it to be more reflective to radio waves.  Therefore, I can bounce signals around the globe and talk to a lot more places.  During times of no sunspot activity ( about the last 2 years) it makes it difficult to bounce that signal.  It either attenuates or flies right off into space where my favorite martian might listen and that's it.
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 9:11:32 PM EDT
Let me know when all this happens...
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 9:12:29 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Observer:
This could be worse than Y2K.





Link Posted: 9/1/2010 12:00:18 AM EDT
the hype. i guess they got to keep food and gas prices up some how.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:12:57 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Aramark:
the hype. i guess they got to keep food and gas prices up some how.


"Fear is the mind-killer."
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:30:15 AM EDT
Originally Posted By mylt1:
repost and its nothing more than scare tactics. as i said in the other post. scientist dont know whats going to happen in the next 5 hours on the sun, much less 2-3 years out.


That's not entirely true.  The 11-year solar cycle is a fact, that we are now on the upward curve approaching the maximum is a fact, and solar storms are increasing in frequency and severity - fact.  While there are certainly going to be a lot of people trying to capitalize on it and make the connection to the whole 2012 thing, it'd be a mistake to get so wrapped up calling "Hogwash!" that we ignore what is actually a credible threat.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:24:47 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By Mrmaigo:
20 Katrinas? So... like one MASSIVE oil leak?


Worse...It could be 911 times a thousand!!!


you mean, 911,000????

dear God!
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 3:28:37 AM EDT
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By Observer:
This could be worse than Y2K.







By God he's right. At least instead of my wife laughing at my preping I can say "I told you so" I'll be right for once in my marriage.

Link Posted: 9/1/2010 3:51:29 AM EDT
Maybe my debt will get wiped clean.  Reset button pushed.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 3:59:10 AM EDT
Originally Posted By mojo7:
Maybe my debt will get wiped clean.  Reset button pushed.


THIS    

I can only imagine
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 4:05:46 AM EDT
Oh noooezz, you be in mah atmosphere, eatin' all my radios!!!
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 4:30:42 AM EDT
Bah!





Global warming is a scientific impossibility that has been programmed into us by liberal scientists.





Yellowstone will NOT blow its top and bury Chicago under two feet of ash.





There are no such things as mega-tsunamis that would cause a 300 foot
tall wave to impact the eastern seaboard.  Never have been.  Again -
liberal scientist nonsense.





Asteroid took out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago?  Prove it - I want to see the YouTube video.





The Earth is totally protected against solar activity.  We'll have
pretty lights in the sky...nothing more.  There have been CME's
throughout history, and I never heard the Mayans complain.





All this 'science' crap is really messing up my football season.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 4:58:13 AM EDT
Originally Posted By eracer:
Bah!

Global warming is a scientific impossibility that has been programmed into us by liberal scientists.

Yellowstone will NOT blow its top and bury Chicago under two feet of ash.

There are no such things as mega-tsunamis that would cause a 300 foot tall wave to impact the eastern seaboard.  Never have been.  Again - liberal scientist nonsense.

Asteroid took out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago?  Prove it - I want to see the YouTube video.

The Earth is totally protected against solar activity.  We'll have pretty lights in the sky...nothing more.  There have been CME's throughout history, and I never heard the Mayans complain.

All this 'science' crap is really messing up my football season.


You forgot:
"... and in the unlikely event any of these catastrophes SHOULD come to pass, our government is qualified and prepared to quickly set things right"  
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:12:56 AM EDT
Originally Posted By eracer:
Bah!

Global warming is a scientific impossibility that has been programmed into us by liberal scientists.

Yellowstone will NOT blow its top and bury Chicago under two feet of ash.

There are no such things as mega-tsunamis that would cause a 300 foot tall wave to impact the eastern seaboard.  Never have been.  Again - liberal scientist nonsense.

Asteroid took out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago?  Prove it - I want to see the YouTube video.

The Earth is totally protected against solar activity.  We'll have pretty lights in the sky...nothing more.  There have been CME's throughout history, and I never heard the Mayans complain.

All this 'science' crap is really messing up my football season.

Obviously people love to blow things out of proportion to get a rise out of the masses, but....

I'm one of the government egg-heads who war games this stuff.  We are taking this one seriously.
This is what you call a Low Frequency / High Consequence event.  The chances of it occuring are pretty low.

There have been massive CME's prior to society going high tech.  The last really big one was in 1859.  The only electrical infrastructure we had at that time was a telegraph system (15 years old).  It shut down the telegraph system and started fires at the offices.

Fast forward to 1989.  Ontario suffered a complete black out due to a much smaller CME.  Only one transformer blew (NJ).  If we experienced one on the scale of the 1859 CME, it could damage/destroy hundreds of transformers.  Depending on the specifications, transformers can take up to 3 years to build.  Parts of the grid would be down for a very long time.  Even one on the scale of the 1921 CME could zap 350 transformers in North America.

The 3rd world would hardly notice.  Our society would grind to a halt.

Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:15:55 AM EDT
Will it help if we all drive Prius's ?
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:18:14 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Observer:
This could be worse than Y2K.


I'm adding zeros to all my data now.

Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:23:26 AM EDT
Make sure when you take it out of the box to pull it smoothly this way you will have no wrinkles...if you double or tripple the sheets it will be stornger but not as plyable. Make sure to fold and crease well...a triangluar one fits better then a round one...make it larger then your normal head size so it will make you look more important....and there you have it....

THE TIN FOIL HAT
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:25:08 AM EDT
Originally Posted By fluwoebers:
Originally Posted By eracer:
Bah!

Global warming is a scientific impossibility that has been programmed into us by liberal scientists.

Yellowstone will NOT blow its top and bury Chicago under two feet of ash.

There are no such things as mega-tsunamis that would cause a 300 foot tall wave to impact the eastern seaboard.  Never have been.  Again - liberal scientist nonsense.

Asteroid took out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago?  Prove it - I want to see the YouTube video.

The Earth is totally protected against solar activity.  We'll have pretty lights in the sky...nothing more.  There have been CME's throughout history, and I never heard the Mayans complain.

All this 'science' crap is really messing up my football season.

Obviously people love to blow things out of proportion to get a rise out of the masses, but....

I'm one of the government egg-heads who war games this stuff.  We are taking this one seriously.
This is what you call a Low Frequency / High Consequence event.  The chances of it occuring are pretty low.

There have been massive CME's prior to society going high tech.  The last really big one was in 1859.  The only electrical infrastructure we had at that time was a telegraph system (15 years old).  It shut down the telegraph system and started fires at the offices.

Fast forward to 1989.  Ontario suffered a complete black out due to a much smaller CME.  Only one transformer blew (NJ).  If we experienced one on the scale of the 1859 CME, it could damage/destroy hundreds of transformers.  Depending on the specifications, transformers can take up to 3 years to build.  Parts of the grid would be down for a very long time.  Even one on the scale of the 1921 CME could zap 350 transformers in North America.

The 3rd world would hardly notice.  Our society would grind to a halt.



If a CME is on the way and we have time to prepare (well, perhaps a day or two) would shutting down the grid limit the damage?  

Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:40:46 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Cheesebeast:
Originally Posted By fluwoebers:
Originally Posted By eracer:
Bah!

Global warming is a scientific impossibility that has been programmed into us by liberal scientists.

Yellowstone will NOT blow its top and bury Chicago under two feet of ash.

There are no such things as mega-tsunamis that would cause a 300 foot tall wave to impact the eastern seaboard.  Never have been.  Again - liberal scientist nonsense.

Asteroid took out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago?  Prove it - I want to see the YouTube video.

The Earth is totally protected against solar activity.  We'll have pretty lights in the sky...nothing more.  There have been CME's throughout history, and I never heard the Mayans complain.

All this 'science' crap is really messing up my football season.

Obviously people love to blow things out of proportion to get a rise out of the masses, but....

I'm one of the government egg-heads who war games this stuff.  We are taking this one seriously.
This is what you call a Low Frequency / High Consequence event.  The chances of it occuring are pretty low.

There have been massive CME's prior to society going high tech.  The last really big one was in 1859.  The only electrical infrastructure we had at that time was a telegraph system (15 years old).  It shut down the telegraph system and started fires at the offices.

Fast forward to 1989.  Ontario suffered a complete black out due to a much smaller CME.  Only one transformer blew (NJ).  If we experienced one on the scale of the 1859 CME, it could damage/destroy hundreds of transformers.  Depending on the specifications, transformers can take up to 3 years to build.  Parts of the grid would be down for a very long time.  Even one on the scale of the 1921 CME could zap 350 transformers in North America.

The 3rd world would hardly notice.  Our society would grind to a halt.



If a CME is on the way and we have time to prepare (well, perhaps a day or two) would shutting down the grid limit the damage?  



My (totally unqualified) guess would be "not much".
The big problem with a CME/EMP is induced current in the powerlines, device circuits, etc.  So even if everything was pretty much shut down - assuming that can even be done, which is questionable - you'd still have megavolts of electricity getting pumped through the lines and frying things as it went.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:40:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2010 5:41:09 AM EDT by Keigan]
From what I have read, no.  Anything with a length of metal that could work as an antenna would be fried.

IMO - this is no joke, NASA seems to be scrambling to understand what they have found.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:52:24 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Cheesebeast:
Originally Posted By fluwoebers:
Originally Posted By eracer:
Bah!

Global warming is a scientific impossibility that has been programmed into us by liberal scientists.

Yellowstone will NOT blow its top and bury Chicago under two feet of ash.

There are no such things as mega-tsunamis that would cause a 300 foot tall wave to impact the eastern seaboard.  Never have been.  Again - liberal scientist nonsense.

Asteroid took out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago?  Prove it - I want to see the YouTube video.

The Earth is totally protected against solar activity.  We'll have pretty lights in the sky...nothing more.  There have been CME's throughout history, and I never heard the Mayans complain.

All this 'science' crap is really messing up my football season.

Obviously people love to blow things out of proportion to get a rise out of the masses, but....

I'm one of the government egg-heads who war games this stuff.  We are taking this one seriously.
This is what you call a Low Frequency / High Consequence event.  The chances of it occuring are pretty low.

There have been massive CME's prior to society going high tech.  The last really big one was in 1859.  The only electrical infrastructure we had at that time was a telegraph system (15 years old).  It shut down the telegraph system and started fires at the offices.

Fast forward to 1989.  Ontario suffered a complete black out due to a much smaller CME.  Only one transformer blew (NJ).  If we experienced one on the scale of the 1859 CME, it could damage/destroy hundreds of transformers.  Depending on the specifications, transformers can take up to 3 years to build.  Parts of the grid would be down for a very long time.  Even one on the scale of the 1921 CME could zap 350 transformers in North America.

The 3rd world would hardly notice.  Our society would grind to a halt.



If a CME is on the way and we have time to prepare (well, perhaps a day or two) would shutting down the grid limit the damage?  


You would have to physically disconnect the components.  There is no way to prevent the induced current from traveling down the lines.

The extent of the damage would depend on a lot of factors, one of which is the load on the system at the time.
Intuitively, you would think that the closer to capacity we are running, the worse it would be.  That is not actually true though.
When our systems are running near peak capacity, there is very little sharing or transferring accross long distances to other areas.  It is during times of low use (spring/fall, middle of the night) when the most power sharing takes place.  It is when the power is transferred over long distances that the system is most vulnerable.

The interconnectedness of the power grid has increased many fold of the the last few decades.  What would have been a relatively isolated failure in 1989 could have cascading effects that would be very far reaching (think of the Northeast blackout of 2003).
While the interconnectedness vastly improves efficiency of transmission, it also vastly increases our vulnerability.

Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:11:27 AM EDT
the mayans were right.

Sherrick13 IS right.  There will be no meltdown.

But because the mayans were right

This is the end


TXL
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:12:12 AM EDT
Originally Posted By midmo:
Originally Posted By mylt1:
repost and its nothing more than scare tactics. as i said in the other post. scientist dont know whats going to happen in the next 5 hours on the sun, much less 2-3 years out.


That's not entirely true.  The 11-year solar cycle is a fact, that we are now on the upward curve approaching the maximum is a fact, and solar storms are increasing in frequency and severity - fact.  While there are certainly going to be a lot of people trying to capitalize on it and make the connection to the whole 2012 thing, it'd be a mistake to get so wrapped up calling "Hogwash!" that we ignore what is actually a credible threat.


the problem with that is we are approaching the bottom of the cycle, we are not yet on the upswing according the the "11 year cycle". there is NO WAY they can predict solar activity 2 years in advance.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:23:12 AM EDT
Originally Posted By fluwoebers:
Originally Posted By Cheesebeast:
Originally Posted By fluwoebers:
Originally Posted By eracer:
Bah!

Global warming is a scientific impossibility that has been programmed into us by liberal scientists.

Yellowstone will NOT blow its top and bury Chicago under two feet of ash.

There are no such things as mega-tsunamis that would cause a 300 foot tall wave to impact the eastern seaboard.  Never have been.  Again - liberal scientist nonsense.

Asteroid took out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago?  Prove it - I want to see the YouTube video.

The Earth is totally protected against solar activity.  We'll have pretty lights in the sky...nothing more.  There have been CME's throughout history, and I never heard the Mayans complain.

All this 'science' crap is really messing up my football season.

Obviously people love to blow things out of proportion to get a rise out of the masses, but....

I'm one of the government egg-heads who war games this stuff.  We are taking this one seriously.
This is what you call a Low Frequency / High Consequence event.  The chances of it occuring are pretty low.

There have been massive CME's prior to society going high tech.  The last really big one was in 1859.  The only electrical infrastructure we had at that time was a telegraph system (15 years old).  It shut down the telegraph system and started fires at the offices.

Fast forward to 1989.  Ontario suffered a complete black out due to a much smaller CME.  Only one transformer blew (NJ).  If we experienced one on the scale of the 1859 CME, it could damage/destroy hundreds of transformers.  Depending on the specifications, transformers can take up to 3 years to build.  Parts of the grid would be down for a very long time.  Even one on the scale of the 1921 CME could zap 350 transformers in North America.

The 3rd world would hardly notice.  Our society would grind to a halt.



If a CME is on the way and we have time to prepare (well, perhaps a day or two) would shutting down the grid limit the damage?  


You would have to physically disconnect the components.  There is no way to prevent the induced current from traveling down the lines.

The extent of the damage would depend on a lot of factors, one of which is the load on the system at the time.
Intuitively, you would think that the closer to capacity we are running, the worse it would be.  That is not actually true though.
When our systems are running near peak capacity, there is very little sharing or transferring accross long distances to other areas.  It is during times of low use (spring/fall, middle of the night) when the most power sharing takes place.  It is when the power is transferred over long distances that the system is most vulnerable.

The interconnectedness of the power grid has increased many fold of the the last few decades.  What would have been a relatively isolated failure in 1989 could have cascading effects that would be very far reaching (think of the Northeast blackout of 2003).
While the interconnectedness vastly improves efficiency of transmission, it also vastly increases our vulnerability.



i dont pretend to be the sharpest tool in the shed but with that type of surge wouldnt the breaker(cant think of the actual name for some reason) on the transformer blow and prevent power from traveling all the way down the system?
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:24:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:27:28 AM EDT
Crap ....I got to get ready



 I got to get my new dipole up to take advantage of the band openings .
Oh is nasa planning on a budget cut?
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:31:55 AM EDT



Originally Posted By fluwoebers:



Originally Posted By eracer:

Bah!



Global warming is a scientific impossibility that has been programmed into us by liberal scientists.



Yellowstone will NOT blow its top and bury Chicago under two feet of ash.



There are no such things as mega-tsunamis that would cause a 300 foot tall wave to impact the eastern seaboard.  Never have been.  Again - liberal scientist nonsense.



Asteroid took out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago?  Prove it - I want to see the YouTube video.



The Earth is totally protected against solar activity.  We'll have pretty lights in the sky...nothing more.  There have been CME's throughout history, and I never heard the Mayans complain.



All this 'science' crap is really messing up my football season.


Obviously people love to blow things out of proportion to get a rise out of the masses, but....



I'm one of the government egg-heads who war games this stuff.  We are taking this one seriously.

This is what you call a Low Frequency / High Consequence event.  The chances of it occuring are pretty low.



There have been massive CME's prior to society going high tech.  The last really big one was in 1859.  The only electrical infrastructure we had at that time was a telegraph system (15 years old).  It shut down the telegraph system and started fires at the offices.



Fast forward to 1989.  Ontario suffered a complete black out due to a much smaller CME.  Only one transformer blew (NJ).  If we experienced one on the scale of the 1859 CME, it could damage/destroy hundreds of transformers.  Depending on the specifications, transformers can take up to 3 years to build.  Parts of the grid would be down for a very long time.  Even one on the scale of the 1921 CME could zap 350 transformers in North America.



The 3rd world would hardly notice.  Our society would grind to a halt.





For the record, I believe all the things I listed are a reality.  There have been mega-tsunamis. Yellowstone has blown its top and caused massive population destruction.  It was an asteroid or comet that wiped out the dinosaurs.  A direct hit from a massive CME could potentially damage or destroy our infrastructure.  And yes, man's CO2 production does impact the atmosphere's ability to retain heat.

 



I also believe that the chances for severe damage to our society from any one of those events is Low Probability / High Consequence.  We can, and should, do something about the things we can control.






Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:45:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2010 6:53:13 AM EDT by fluwoebers]
Originally Posted By mylt1:

i dont pretend to be the sharpest tool in the shed but with that type of surge wouldnt the breaker(cant think of the actual name for some reason) on the transformer blow and prevent power from traveling all the way down the system?


I'm probably not the right person to ask about that.  My role is only in response to disasters, not mitigation.

I would also think that it would be easy to build a surge protector into the system to protect the transformers.  Right now, they remain vulnerable.  There is probably some reason for it.
The idustry experts tell us the threat is very difficult to mitigate.  I don't know why.

I honestly don't know much about the technical reasons why all this happens.  We take what the experts say and stick it in our planning scenarios.

(This year we are focussed on the New Madrid fault.)

ETA:  For a good read about Space Weather and its potential impact, download the PDF from this site.
http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12507
Specifically, look at: Summary, Ch 1, 2, 7, Apdx C
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:47:21 AM EDT
Originally Posted By mylt1:
Originally Posted By midmo:
Originally Posted By mylt1:
repost and its nothing more than scare tactics. as i said in the other post. scientist dont know whats going to happen in the next 5 hours on the sun, much less 2-3 years out.


That's not entirely true.  The 11-year solar cycle is a fact, that we are now on the upward curve approaching the maximum is a fact, and solar storms are increasing in frequency and severity - fact.  While there are certainly going to be a lot of people trying to capitalize on it and make the connection to the whole 2012 thing, it'd be a mistake to get so wrapped up calling "Hogwash!" that we ignore what is actually a credible threat.


the problem with that is we are approaching the bottom of the cycle, we are not yet on the upswing according the the "11 year cycle". there is NO WAY they can predict solar activity 2 years in advance.


Nope, on the way back up, at least according to NOAA:



I'd agree that they can't predict specific events, and the link in the OP apparently "enhances" what the NASA rep actually says (NASA's reporting of the story is much less dramatic), but the fact that solar storms exist, will continue to increase, and have the potential to interrupt power and communications networks is undeniable.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 7:06:36 AM EDT
Originally Posted By fluwoebers:
Obviously people love to blow things out of proportion to get a rise out of the masses, but....

I'm one of the government egg-heads who war games this stuff.  We are taking this one seriously.
This is what you call a Low Frequency / High Consequence event.  The chances of it occuring are pretty low.

There have been massive CME's prior to society going high tech.  The last really big one was in 1859.  The only electrical infrastructure we had at that time was a telegraph system (15 years old).  It shut down the telegraph system and started fires at the offices.

Fast forward to 1989.  Ontario suffered a complete black out due to a much smaller CME.  Only one transformer blew (NJ).  If we experienced one on the scale of the 1859 CME, it could damage/destroy hundreds of transformers.  Depending on the specifications, transformers can take up to 3 years to build.  Parts of the grid would be down for a very long time.  Even one on the scale of the 1921 CME could zap 350 transformers in North America.

The 3rd world would hardly notice.  Our society would grind to a halt.



Perhaps it isn't such a bad time for me to prioritize a very small and modest Solar, battery, inverter system for critical gear.

Man, I work on computers all day and every day and if the Internet was down for a week to a month and we could not communicate with clients or pass documents via FTP/E-mail, etc I would be out of a job!
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 7:22:59 AM EDT
Originally Posted By fluwoebers:
 Depending on the specifications, transformers can take up to 3 years to build.


Can you explain this sentence, please?

Why would a transformer take 3 years to build?
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 7:40:04 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Horseman:
Originally Posted By fluwoebers:
 Depending on the specifications, transformers can take up to 3 years to build.


Can you explain this sentence, please?

Why would a transformer take 3 years to build?


Why?  I have no idea.  The time varies from 1 year to 3 years depending on which expert you ask and what kind of transformer you're talking about.


Here is an exerpt from the document I linked to above:

The least understood aspect of this threat is the permanent damage to power grid assets and how that will
impede the restoration process. Transformer damage is the most likely outcome, although other key assets on the
grid are also at risk. In particular, transformers experience excessive levels of internal heating brought on by stray
flux when GICs cause a transformer’s magnetic core to saturate and to spill flux outside the normal core steel
magnetic circuit. Kappenman stated that previous well-documented cases have involved heating failures that caused
melting and burn-through of large-amperage copper windings and leads in these transformers. These multi-ton
apparatus generally cannot be repaired in the field, and if damaged in this manner, they need to be replaced with
new units, which have manufacture lead times of 12 months or more. In addition, each transformer design can
contain numerous subtle design variations that complicate the calculation of how and at what density the stray
flux can impinge on internal structures in the transformer. Therefore the ability to assess existing transformer
vulnerability or even to design new transformers that can tolerate saturated operation is not readily achievable.


Hopefully, if the survival of our society is at stake, they could figure out a way to speed that up.  
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 7:43:11 AM EDT
Ahhh, lead times...

I could definitely see those taking a year, if you don't have a ready supply of bits & parts laying about.  If somesuch type of transformer hasn't been made in a while, you'd have to restart all the supplying firms just to make subcomponents.  

Good info, thanks!

Link Posted: 9/1/2010 7:51:23 AM EDT
We actually had a massive solar storm hit us just last month (I posted on it here), and no one on earth noticed anything.

This falls in the "theoretically possible but very unlikely to be of consequence" category. Ahead of manmade EMP in my book, but something I'm not worried about to the extent that I make any special preparations (no Faraday cages of anything). If it does happen the food, water, and other preps I've got for more likely scenarios will get me a long way through it anyway...
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 7:56:01 AM EDT


First thing I thought when I read the title.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 8:19:07 AM EDT
Originally Posted By fisterkev:
We actually had a massive solar storm hit us just last month (I posted on it here), and no one on earth noticed anything.

This falls in the "theoretically possible but very unlikely to be of consequence" category. Ahead of manmade EMP in my book, but something I'm not worried about to the extent that I make any special preparations (no Faraday cages of anything). If it does happen the food, water, and other preps I've got for more likely scenarios will get me a long way through it anyway...


Based upon what I have read, I would not classifiy that solar storm as "massive", a "strong breeze" with no substance.  NASA fears the the newly discovered "magnetic ribbon" will have the capabilities to carry and amplify the energy of a CME by an expodential factor, thus a "strong breeze" could become "massive" as the "magnetic ribbon" helps to carry the enrgy to earth without significant loss as it travels from the sun to earth.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 8:25:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2010 11:16:43 AM EDT by fluwoebers]
Originally Posted By fisterkev:
We actually had a massive solar storm hit us just last month (I posted on it here), and no one on earth noticed anything.

This falls in the "theoretically possible but very unlikely to be of consequence" category. Ahead of manmade EMP in my book, but something I'm not worried about to the extent that I make any special preparations (no Faraday cages of anything). If it does happen the food, water, and other preps I've got for more likely scenarios will get me a long way through it anyway...


It was big enough for a good light show if you live up north.

Edit:  
The August 2010 storm measured geomagnetic flux of magnitude 120-200 nT/min (nano-Teslas)(I can't find the exact number)
         The 1989 storm was measured at peak fluctuation of 548 nT (it destroyed one transformer and caused a black out in Canada)
         The 1859 storm is estimated to have reached a peak fluctuation of 1760 nT
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 8:41:41 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Horseman:
Originally Posted By fluwoebers:
 Depending on the specifications, transformers can take up to 3 years to build.


Can you explain this sentence, please?

Why would a transformer take 3 years to build?


Nowadays, some large transformers are only manufactured overseas (i.e., Germany, Japan). During normal times, there isn't much worldwide demand for them, so they're mostly built on an as-needed basis - and there isn't any huge excess manufacturing capacity to suddenly start building hundreds of them. Some of them are built to specifications unique to the intended application, so they're essentially built from scratch.

If we suddenly had hundreds of large transformers damaged by CME, it could take a LONG time to build, ship and install suitable replacements. And, there's other big substation equipment (i.e., switches, circuit breakers, capacitors, monitoring equipment, etc.) which could also be hard to replace in large quantities.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 11:29:22 AM EDT
so i see the stock market is covered. what happens when a solar flare kills all the airplanes in the sky at any given moment?
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