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The impending solar threat

Recent articles highlight the threats we continue to ignore.

Nadia Drake writes in National Geographic that the sun is getting more stormy. And it will peak after a total solar eclipse in 2024, a prime opportunity to observe solar activity to help unravel the mysteries of the Sun while giving people on Earth a spectacular show. But the storm could also be an existential threat.

As executive editor of National Geographic’s SCIENCE, she cited an estimated 11-year solar cycle expected to reach a maximum in 2025. The total solar eclipse of April 2024 should provide a gorgeous picture close to peak.

More importantly, Drake noted that storms of this magnitude can “Destroy the power grid. destroy the satellite Dangerous for astronauts in orbit Change the planned flight path and render the Earth̵

7;s atmosphere inaccessible to terrestrial communication systems.” Sunspots on the Sun can cause massive explosions. Solar flares that sometimes hurl radiation waves and charged particles into space are known as coronal mass ejections, or CMEs.

Drake noted that intense CME collisions with the Earth could cause geomagnetic storms, such as the 1859 Carrington event that disturbed the telegraph. The controller was shocked to control. and brighten the skies with the aurora visible in the Caribbean Sea. Such a storm today will destroy the power grid. destroy the satellite Dangerous for astronauts in orbit and flight control. and makes the upper atmosphere inaccessible from terrestrial communications.

She also noted that the eruption of Weaker “space weather” is also dangerous. As shown at the CME March 12, 1989, the modest strength of the Carrington incident, it stretched power grids across Quebec and locked people in elevators and tunnels. Many satellites temporarily turned off or had difficulty maintaining altitude. And the sensor tripped on the space shuttle. discovery – which was released earlier that day

There have been more consequential solar storms than before — albeit less so than Carrington’s others. Dana A. Goward wrote on May 14, Nextgov that we’re “racing the sun to save America,” based on lessons we should. You will learn from a huge solar storm a century ago called the “New York Railroad Solar Storm of 1921” because it destroyed New York offices and switching systems.

Telegraph offices and random telephones, etc., suddenly caught fire, blown fuses, damaged equipment. lost connection Undersea cable telegraph service halted, Aurora “Northern Lights” appears in Pasadena. california Boston’s night sky is so bright that newspapers can be read.

Goward also noted that it “almost missed” in 2012 when a powerful CME passed through Earth’s orbit. If it happened days ago, he said, NASA said “we’ll still be collecting these pieces.”

He also quoted Dr. Scott McIntosh, deputy director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. and one of the country’s leading agencies in solar energy activities. which warns that in the next decade or so That will be especially dangerous. And the chances of the Carrington CME level are 4%-12% this decade.

Goward, president of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation, has highlighted the vulnerabilities of Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) systems. “Severe solar storms can recharge the atmosphere and prevent signals from penetrating for days. The strongest can damage or destroy satellites.”

He noted that the loss of GPS services for days could cost billions of dollars and cause enormous damage to America. Transportation, telecommunications, consumer finance systems. And other important functions will be destroyed — the whole economy will be in disarray.

To be sure, the loss of GPS will be very consequential – does anyone still carry a street map in their glovebox during their travels – or even around town? The relevance of this question depends on whether our cars and other essential infrastructure can still function to support our travel interests.

What about timely supplying our food and delivering vital life-saving goods without electricity? What will happen to hospital survival and resuscitation? including critical infrastructure for water and wastewater required or communication needed to support emergency management or other critical operations?

And so on…about critical civil infrastructures that depend on electric power grids, which are vulnerable to major solar storms. that one day will happen. We continue to ignore this threat with our peril.

Moreover, maintaining the GPS is not our only concern. And such a huge solar storm is not our greatest threat. Although we cannot avoid it if nature takes our place. But our leaders are not responsible for allowing this condition to continue. Because we know how to deal with it for a long time.

For example, I recently discussed how the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack is a warning of a failure to protect our critical infrastructure from a wide range of threats. Foremost in my opinion is the failure to deal with the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat that our main adversaries – Russia, China, North Korea and Iran – include in military doctrine as a strategy. The scariest internet attacks

If we deal with existing threats It will take care of the CME threat of solar storms. But the conversation was not true.

Long ago, we should follow the well-known recommendation of the Congressional, nonpartisan and technically qualified EMP Commission. View comprehensive reports It included warnings that today most Americans could die within months of threats of starvation, disease and social collapse.

As discussed in the Newsmax article of April 30, 2021, we should address this issue. “bottom up” at local and state levels Especially given the incompetent Washington leadership that has failed his constitutional duties. “To have mutual protection”

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, writing for The Hill on these issues, reinforced my opinion in his great article on May 21, 2021, “When will America protect itself from EMP cyber attacks? and ransomware.”

He also advocated a bottom-up approach. Following the guidelines of the leaders in York County South Carolina and especially Rock Hill South Carolina is the fourth largest. City and Suburbs Charlotte North Carolina Home of Duke Energy’s headquarters, Duke Engineers has been collaborating with the Lake Wylie Pilot Study since it started five years ago.

This bottom-up approach which was supported by the generals of South Carolina. It can be a small investment in demonstrating and exporting lessons learned across South Carolina and North Carolina and beyond.

The question is, will the “being power” provide the resources to make it happen?

Ambassador Henry F. (Hank) Cooper, President of the High Frontier and recognized expert on strategic national security and space issues. Was President Ronald Reagan’s chief negotiator at the Geneva Defense and Space Talks with the Soviet Union and director of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) during George H.W. Bush’s administration. Read Ambassador Cooper’s report — more here

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