Today’s Predicted Solar Storm Could Cause Blackouts
A solar storm has been predicted for today as scientists discovered a burst of cosmic radiation headed right towards the Earth. The predicted solar winds have the power to affect satellites, knock out GPS navigation, mobile phone signals, and satellite TV such as Sky.
Geomagnetic storms are likely today, December 5, 2018, in response to the arrival of the coronal mass ejection (CME) which occurred back on November 30 according to a three-day forecast by Space Weather Live. For the most part, the Earth’s magnetic field protects human beings and other life from the barrage of radiation. However, it certainly looks as if Earth is in the line of the stream of cosmic particles, and scientists say we should see evidence of it today.
According to Express UK, a surge of particles can lead to high currents in the magnetosphere, which can lead to higher than normal electricity in power lines, resulting in electrical transformers and power station blowouts along with a loss of power. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says there is a 45 percent chance that a solar storm could hit Earth. The website Space Weather says: “NOAA forecasters say there is a 45% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms on December 5 when a coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field. CMEs are rare during solar minimum because their usual launching pads – that is, sunspots – are absent.”
“This one [CME] was produced not by a sunspot, but rather by a filament of magnetism erupting from the sun’s southern hemisphere,” the website further stated. This CME is likely to create the aurora borealis or Northern lights if the storm strikes the northern hemisphere. Southern lights or aurora australis will occur if the storm hits the southern hemisphere. “CMEs are very good at producing auroras, so even a glancing blow could light up the Arctic Circle this Wednesday night.”
While this storm is not expected to be overly powerful, the Met Office has warned that the United Kingdom will face a monumental solar storm in the future, which could knock out Britain’s technology and cost the UK almost £16billion in damages. The weather forecaster believes the UK does not have sufficient infrastructure to prepare ourselves for such an event. The country could be plunged into a blackout because it is not prepared enough for powerful solar storms, the Met Office told ministers.
A researcher from the Met Office said: “We find that for a one-in-100-year event, with no space weather forecasting capability, the gross domestic product loss to the United Kingdom could be as high as £15.9bn. With existing satellites nearing the end of their life, forecasting capability will decrease in coming years, so if no further investment takes place, critical infrastructure will become more vulnerable to space weather.”