A bigger worry than ‘global warming’ and more damaging – a Carrington class solar event

SolarMaxFrom PhysicsWorld blog: The cover feature of the August issue of Physics World, which is now out in print and digital formats, looks at the Sun – and in particular, at the consequences here on Earth of a “solar super-storm”. As I point out in the video [below], these violent events can disturb the Earth’s magnetic field – potentially inducing damaging electrical currents in power lines, knocking out satellites and disrupting telecommunications.

One particularly strong solar super-storm occured back in 1859 in what is known as the “Carrington event”, so named after the English astronomer who spotted a solar flare that accompanied it. The world in the mid-19th century was technologically a relatively unsophisticated place and the consequences were pretty benign. But should a storm of similiar strength occur today, the impact could be devastating to our way of life.

The feature has been written  by Ashley Dale from the University of Bristol, who last year took part in a gathering of space experts to examine and report on the potential consequences of a solar super-storm here on Earth. I don’t want to cause alarm, but as Dale points out, the Earth is, on average, in the path of Carrington-level events every 150 years – which means we are five years overdue.

Reports:

SolarMAX_Executive summary - application/pdf
SolarMAX_Executive summary

Adobe Acrobat PDF
SolarMAX_Final report.pdf - application/pdf
SolarMAX_Final report.pdf

Adobe Acrobat PDF

 

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215 thoughts on “A bigger worry than ‘global warming’ and more damaging – a Carrington class solar event

  1. This is a subject of great interest to me. I remember asking Leif about the likelihood and consequences of another of these events and it seems certain that one will happen in the relatively near future and it’s consequences are potentially catastrophic.

    In 1859 the only things affected were in effect telegraphs.now, everything in the modern world from petrol in the gas stations to banking to food distribution to water relies on electrics and computers.

    Knock out either category and it would take only days or less for the developed world to unravel

    Recently the uk government has belatedly set up a task force to ascertain damage to infrastructure of such an event and the consequences for the public. This task force is also looking at cyber terrorism.

    I know Brandon has somewhat contrary views to mine so hopefully he will be along to articulate them

    From my viewpoint we are dangerously exposed to either a natural or terrorist attack On our electrical infrstructure and there are few countries set up to cope fully with the consequences.

    Forget climate change, this has the potential to create huge problems in a very short time scale

    Tonyb

  2. I don’t want to cause alarm, but as Dale points out, the Earth is, on average, in the path of Carrington-level events every 150 years – which means we are five years overdue.
    I think that is far too optimistic. Strong storms occur far more frequently, it is just matter of bad luck when they are directed at the Earth.
    Recent ones:
    March 13, 1989 – The Quebec Blackout Storm
    July 15, 2001 – The Bastille Day Storm
    October 29, 2003 – The Halloween Storm

  3. Decentralized power sub-grids powered from decentralized generating sources (Read: Coal, oil, and wood pulp, supplemented by more-vulnerable solar & wind). Also, conservation, affordable home solar hot air (cold regions) and solar hot water heat-supplement systems, plus a little still too costly but helpful solarPV (for those few who can afford them). None of this can be meaningfully subsidized by government because that comes from already-overloaded taxpayers. Stop wasting money on global warming hoax so it may be used for real infrastructure challenges. IMHO, YMMV …

  4. I hope it doesn’t happen. It would likely be a terrific loss of human life as the technology that keeps the modern world going would fail.

  5. Don’t be alarmists! The study isn’t. More worrying than AGW, but not catastrophic. Even with the current state of the US and UK grids, the major vulnerability point, very large transformers that would take a year or more to replace due to long lead times, could be disconnected prior to the arrival of the approaching CME and, thereby, protected from damage. This would mean a temporary power loss over very large areas, but would prevent catastrophic damage that would lead to a much, much longer outage. Unpreventable space asset losses (satellites) from a Carrington-level event would be around $2 billion according to the SolarMAX report.

  6. “these violent events can disturb the Earth’s magnetic field – potentially inducing damaging electrical currents in power lines”

    Would a surge protector do any good in such an event?
    Would electrical devices that are turned off or unplugged still be harmed?
    Would it affect portable devices, such as phones or tablets?

  7. From the paper: should be of particular interest to Dr.Svalgaard
    Figure 2-9: Decade-averaged values of reconstructed solar total irradiance and northern hemisphere temperature anomalies from 1610 to the present (Lean, 2012).
    – In addition to sunspots and solar irradiance, there are other space weather effects that may be related to climate fluctuation
    – UV flux is doubled in solar maximum, increasing temperature in the stratosphere when compared with solar minimum
    – Solar wind, characterized by the global magnetic index, has increased by 130% in the last century. The index used is the AA index, a measure of the disturbance level in the magnetic field of the Earth based on measurements from two stations, as summarized on the INGV website (2013)
    – Formation of low clouds caused by variations in GCR particle flux
    ……..but our current understanding of this magnetic field—and how it interacts with that of the Earth—is inadequate.

  8. Satellites may not survive, people will survive.
    Worse with melanoma with a decrease of ozone.
    Therefore, no activity is worse for people.

  9. Don’t go nuts but being prepared is not just for the Boy Scouts! What is it you need to survive short term if the power goes out? Air, water, food, warmth. Okay if the air is fried everything is toast anyway so it’s been nice knowing you. Water? Keep a couple of sealed containers. Food? A couple of 5 pound containers of whey (love the New Zealand stuff) will last a few months without refrigeration.

    The basic thing is to work it into your lifestyle and not have a huge stash of stuff that goes bad when unused. I eat whey all the time so having 2 containers on the shelf is not unusual. I homebrew so I always have 2 or 3 empty secondaries filled with water and covered That gives me 40-60 litres or about 10-15 gallons. Empty on the grass in spring and fall and refill. Already taking up space so provides some water. 2 outages in 20 years of 1 day each. Everyone was freaking out and running to the store except me. Sat there with a few homebrew and shook my head.

  10. From what I understand, we would normally have 3-4 days of lead time to prepare so much of the grid could be protected.

  11. I mentioned this possibility a couple of days ago about the WUWT article “Capture the Sun & Power” but as J Orendorff said some prevention can be done

  12. Would a surge protector do any good in such an event?
    Would electrical devices that are turned off or unplugged still be harmed?
    Would it affect portable devices, such as phones or tablets?

    Simple rule – just unplug anything connected to outside lines to be safe, same as with lightning precautions. That includes land line phones. Portable devices not connected to power lines will not be negatively affected although I don’t know how prepared cell phone carrier systems are for this sort of thing. The cell towers might be damaged if they aren’t prepared.

    However, if your power company has half a brain, they’ll have already cut off power to your home to protect their large transformers at power stations and substations. The only induced voltage you’d get in that case would be the DC voltage induced in the power line between the step-down transformer closest to you (on that power pole near your home) and your home. If your local, residential power lines are below ground as many are these days at least in the US, no problems at all.

  13. There are conflicting views as to the severity of the danger, so it would be a service to get an objective analysis. The alarmist view is well represented at the Center for Security Policy website, while there have been numerous studies elsewhere tending to minimize the dangers. The cost of protecting large transformers with Faraday cages seems so minor that it’s hard to think of a significant objection coming from a risk/reward analysis.

  14. my imagination may have run away with me on this one – go ahead, straighten me out, but…

    I had the impression that a Carrington Event with the enthusiasm of the one in 1859 might fry Integrated Circuits unprotected by Faraday cages. This could mean no transportation by recent automobiles, no transport by current trucks (computer controlled diesel engines), no standby electricity (computer control diesel, again), problematic communication, possible total breakdown of supply chains of everything from water to food. And it could take a long time to get rolling again.

    Assuming this isn’t nuts, it seemed to me far more reasonable to spend the money to protect critical parts of our transportation and infrastructure at a cost not likely to be insane than squander billions on the climate problem where we do not really have a good handle on the probable effects even after 20 years of alarmist rants on the subject.

  15. With the lead time given, measures could be taken such as partial shutdowns that could be timed so to last only during the worst period

    The danger seems to be mainly in unpreparedness and the fact that our fate is in the hands of the fumbling goofballs of government.

  16. more soylent green! said:
    August 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm
    I hope it doesn’t happen. It would likely be a terrific loss of human life as the technology that keeps the modern world going would fail.
    ————
    The sun is in competition with the warmunists!

  17. It’s not necessarily true that you will get several days of lead time for such an event. Highly energetic CME’s associated with higher level X-class flares or, as in the reported 2012 case, several convergent CME’s traversing a swept-out region of space will have much faster forward propagation speeds. In the case of an extreme event pushing 1500-1600 km/sec, the warning time would be only a day.

  18. - J Orendorff says:
    August 1, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    From what I understand, we would normally have 3-4 days of lead time to prepare so much of the grid could be protected.-

    The one which missed earth in 2012 was going 3000 km/sec.
    Distance Earth to Sun 149,600,000 km at 3000 km/sec is 13.8 hours.
    It was caused by storm 4 days earlier which swept a path which was then followed two storms about 15 mins apart from each other.
    So one could get heads up every time a storm hits earth, that a super storm may follow, so be on alert, but one only get a about 1/2 day of warning of the event itself.

  19. J Orendorff says:
    August 1, 2014 at 1:46 pm
    From what I understand, we would normally have 3-4 days of lead time
    For a very large event the lead time may only be about 12 hours.

  20. No, the grid operators might not take precautions due to insurance coverage, guaranteed returns, and liability concerns from shutting down early. Most would look the other way as in the LA riots and pick up the pieces later with the expectation of compensatory payments and limited liability. That is why early security warning of a company’s credit card system does not lead to shutting down the card and purchasing as a precaution–see Target fiasco.

  21. EMP is directional. Which means that if devices are oriented at random some where between 1/3rd and 2/3rds of all unshielded devices will be damaged.

  22. It’s getting wide press: http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/494438/End-of-world-alert-solar-flares-destroy-earth-scientists-warn

    This caught my eye:

    The warning comes as Britain is experiencing one of the hottest summers on record. Scientists have warned of “highly unusual activity” on the surface of the sun which has already sent smaller solar flares spiralling towards earth.

    Apparently they’re not aware this same solar activity has created the coolest summer in memory in the US. Sentient star?

    O, fickle hyperbole, where off to come the dawn? To the death stars beyond or a last moment o’er doomed Oceana while it lingers pensive above the waves? Willing pocket turn out lest Grim Reaper’s scythe barren make this mortal coil. Feckless skeptic do you not see the ruin all about?

    /sarc, of course. Roosevelt was right – all we have to fear is fear itself – and by extension, fear mongers. I hope this clears moderation before something awful happens to the planet.

  23. Winston says:
    August 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    The same things that protect from nearby lightning strikes/EMP would protect from a Carrington event

    One big problem is transmission lines. They are really nice antennas for this sort of thing.

  24. @j ferguson –
    That’s more of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) scenario. Which could be caused by above surface nuclear explosions. A solar storm creates electricity in long straight lengths of metal and wires as the magnetic field passes over them. Just like electricity is created in a magnetic dynamo, except the solar flare is uncontrolled as to intensity and flow direction. Short wires and circuitry most likely won’t generate enough electricity to cause any damage.

  25. Ok so we would know 12 hours for sure of one of these storms hitting with 100 pct probability ? How could I set up computer program to listen to this warning and then short stock market futures as soon as warning came through ? I’m only interested in massive storm and only if it 100 pct probability of hitting earth. Or 99 pct plus.

    I looked at NASA website and they have alerts but all different types. They list what seem to be non events that hv zero economic effect on earth.

    Program would read from NASA website looking for posting of big event coming towards earth.

  26. The ‘lead time’ counted from the Sun may not be meaningful as there will be too many ‘false positives’. The REAL lead time is only about 20 minutes, from the time the CME hits the ACE spacecraft at L1. Only at that point will we know if the event is the ‘big one’ that can be acted on.

  27. Have only had mumbling replies to question posed our electric utility, B.C. Hydro as to the vulnerability of the $billion worth of “Smart Meters” being struck dumb by a Carrington type event.

  28. Louis says:
    August 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    “these violent events can disturb the Earth’s magnetic field – potentially inducing damaging electrical currents in power lines”

    1.Would a surge protector do any good in such an event?
    2. Would electrical devices that are turned off or unplugged still be harmed?
    3. Would it affect portable devices, such as phones or tablets?

    1. It will help. They can burn out from too much power.
    2. Better. But nothing is perfect. You still get an induced voltage even if no current. If the insulation is good enough….
    3. Possibly.

  29. I’ve just had a thought. I see some strong parallels between the effects of another Carrington event and our Imperial President’s energy policies and of the two it is the latter that is the greatest concern.

  30. Correct me if I’m wrong (and I’m sure someone will) but when lighting hits a substation the ‘interrupter’ is tripped and resets after a few seconds protecting the transformers. Since at worst case a massive CR could hit earth in 8 seconds and trip the ‘interrupter’ would it matter? Wouldn’t we all be dead from that much Gamma Radiation? If a sun storm was known to be on its way if we shut the grid down minutes before it hit would anything be destroyed? I have a transformer sitting in front of me and without any load on it, it is a rock with oil, hitting a rock with oil with a massive EMP will leave a rock with oil as for as I can tell. I think the Carrington class event was at the beginning of our power usage and measures to protect the ‘grid’ back then were non-existent.

  31. So my warmist friends, would it be better to have this event in knock out all power in summer or winter?

  32. I am no expert on these things but I seem to have noticed a deliberate spark gap fitted at the ends of the insulators that hang the cables off the pylons that make up the grid. Do these not protect every wire with a frequent and easy path to ground? Lightning strikes perhaps? I presume this 150 year event is inductive, so would the volts not rise until the spark gap could be bridged. If the gaps can ground lightning strikes without these transformers exploding, why is the Carrington event a problem. Perhaps someone could explain it so us Muggles can understand.

  33. Leif Svalgaard says: August 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm
    The REAL lead time is only about 20 minutes, from the time the CME hits the ACE spacecraft at L1. Only at that point will we know if the event is the ‘big one’ that can be acted on.

    Would the ACE transmission system survive long enough for the data to be passed on?
    Online data is updated once every minute, does CALTEC ( ? ) gets data more frequently.

    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ace/MAG_SWEPAM_2h.html

    Would a powerful CME with leading edge polarised south be ignored, and so risking of getting it wrong rather than issuing a false alarm?

  34. Automatic equipment protection can switch out electrical equipment and lines in a couple of cycles. North south lines affected less than west east lines.

  35. On the subject of solar ejections, I’m more worried about Gammaray Bursts from a nearby supernova than anything our sun might hiccup out.

    On a CME from the sun, we would have about 24-48 hrs after the flare before the charged particle front slammed into the ionosphere.

    On a nearby GRB, we will have zero warning when it hits. Eta Carinae is one such possibility, but there likly others. Fortunately, it appears we are not in one of Eta Carinae’s polar jet cones, but it is hypothesized we still would receive enough gamma rays to strip off the ozone layer. Another possible source of a GRB in the nearby galactic neighborhood is WolfRayet 104. We may be in WR104’s polar cone, but it is a subject of controversy. On the plus, with a GRB, only the unlucky side of the Earth facing the event would get the lethal gamma radiation flux.

  36. If the Eddy minimum is a Maunder type then the probability of a Carrington event will be low for the next 60 years or so.

  37. Leif Svalgaard:

    With only twenty minutes to act, it seems that civilization, as we know it, hangs by a slender thread in case of such an event.

  38. Juggles, a Carrington event would be like a million lightning strikes all at the same time. As a small simulation, one atmospheric ‘Bikini Atoll’ H bomb test managed to black out most of Hawaii for several hours from the distant EMP pulse.

    In Florida, everyone should have a ‘gobag’ for hurricanes. Ours has 4 days of FD food, all other necessities (sterno cooker and mess kit, shelter halves, hand bandsaw, waterproof matches, batteries, flashlight, radio…) and 5 collapsed 5 gal water jugs that can be filled quickly if shelter in place is called for.
    In Wisconsin, we stock a minimum of 1 week non perishables. Water is not a problem even if the power goes down, since have a hand pump backup well. For the milking barn, backup generator for milking machines and cool tanks with enough diesel for a week was required anyway to keep the cows happy. Not problem, since we burn more than during planting and harvesting seasons, somthe storage capacity was mandatory anyway. Protection against blizzards and tornadoes. We get plenty of both.
    It is just that most unprepared people used to their comfy, never challenged suburban/urban ways will get caught out. several days blackout is always possible. The grid could be shut down if a Carrington event was coming. There are now satellites that give warning.

  39. I am amazed and disappointed that this group of skeptics and knowledgeable scientists would react with such alarm to this prophesied “event,” rather than reviewing past experience. Civilization as we know it does NOT hang by a slender thread in case of a Carrington event.

  40. Yep, my answer entirely. Surge protectors protect vital electronics. Cars are Faraday Cages inherently. Lightning bolts REGULARILY STRIKE POWER LINES and are handled by EXISTING LIGHTING ARESTERS… this whole thing is STUFF AND NONSENSE. Promoted by people who have NO IDEA OF MAGNITUDES of physical phenomenon. I think a British neurologist one time put the “60 Hertz power line/biological damage” thing (not directly related, but indirectly related) in perspective by pointing out that the FIELD STRENGTH of electrical impulses in the human nervous system is ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE above that in the fields DIRECTLY BENEATH 345 KV power lines, or YOUR MUSCLES WOULD TWITCH when walking below them. (THEY DON’T.)

    Likewise, non of these solar events have ever been implied in human/nervous system interaction.

    Having arcs jumping across 1860 telegraph keys …because of a solar event..probably NOT IMPOSSIBLE, and as the grossly exaggerated 19th century New Madrid, Midwestern earthquake (Toppled Chimneys for hundreds of miles, made rivers run backwards, caused the confederate army to surrender 10 years after the Civil War, etc.) the overall effect of such a solar discharge has also, on feeble evidence and extrapolation, be greatly exaggerated. My advice, put this one in the DUSTBIN along with AWG causing zits, pits, writs and the shits…

  41. Of concern, but avoidable. We have satellites that will detect it. Disconnect the grid for 72 hours (I was in the area about 10 years ago when most of the northeast US went dark). Plug back in when it is over.
    We may have to redo many satellites or other things, but it will be annoying, not life-threating.

    Far more serious (yet ignored) are:

    Long delay tectonic areas – the New Madrid fault will flatten Memphis. The Cascadia fault will take out Portland and Seattle with a 9.0 not unlike Japan’s most recent quake. Of note – Global warming is supposed to raise sea-level 1-2 feet. Japan dropped 3 feet and the north west coast will too. Then there’s the Tsunami.

    Ice Storms. A prolonged one can collapse power towers and lines breaking the grid. Not to mention the slip-sliding.

    Volcanoes. Active. Remember Mt. St. Helens? Ranier is closer to Seattle and check out Google earth satellite or G. Earth for the path of the lahar. Sunday afternoons major roadways are gridlocked, so unless it gives a warning shot and the big one later, the people in the path aren’t likely to survive. And then there’s the pyroclastic flows, the toxic gasses, and the ash (planes won’t be able to go near, and it is the density of sand, so an inch can collapse roofs). And Ranier isn’t the only one in the range. Fortunately, another Crater Lake eruption isn’t likely.
    Some see no irony in rolling the paradice:

    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2014/07/melt-out-day-in-paradise.html

  42. Most automobile engines already have Faraday cages around them. They are called Cars.

  43. There is a huge difference from a lightning strike and a carrington event, with lightning, current comes from outside and enters, with a carrington event currents build up inside, anything with copper wire will experience current build up, although obviously not as much as when connected to the grid.

  44. This has helped, albeit momentarily, to take my mind off of the imminent deep-frying of the earth due to superfragilisticexpialacatastrophic global warming.

  45. The crazy thing is that the US could prevent almost all damage to its electrical grid by spending just $2 billion (about 4 hours of federal spending) on hardening the grid and implementing an automatic system that would shutdown the grid prior to an EMP hitting Earth….

    But. NoooOOOooo. political hacks would ironically rather flush $trillions down toilet on CO2 rules, regs, alt-en subsidies, alt-en mega-projects, etc., to “prevent” a CAGW crisis that’ll never happen.

    The world has gone insane.

  46. I don’t want to cause alarm, but as Dale points out, the Earth is, on average, in the path of Carrington-level events every 150 years – which means we are five years overdue.

    For independent events, probability doesn’t work that way. If there’s a 150 year cycle in such things, then we’d have to see an immense increase in the numbers of CMEs to get one that manages to find Earth.

    BTW, we’re not due for a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption either, despite what various people say. There could well be several significant eruptions before the Big One….

  47. Louis says:
    August 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    “these violent events can disturb the Earth’s magnetic field – potentially inducing damaging electrical currents in power lines”

    My take on things:

    > Would a surge protector do any good in such an event?

    Home equipment should be unaffected, the length of the wires from device to your transformer on the pole is too short to have much current impressed on it by the magnetic storm.

    > Would electrical devices that are turned off or unplugged still be harmed?

    Ditto

    > Would it affect portable devices, such as phones or tablets?

    No. Cell phones would do okay until their backup generators run out of fuel.

    The things to worry about are long transmission lines, especially those with ground loops. I haven’t read a good description of just how things go wrong, there are either high DC currents that saturate the iron core and it cease to behave like a transformer or counter wound windings that cancel out the magnetic field but let the DC current through. Either way, the high current fries the windings and you need a new, probably custom built transformer that may only be made in China.

    See http://science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2010/10/26/transformerdamage.jpg from http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/26oct_solarshield/

  48. Altogether too many people:

    > EMP

    We’re talking geomagnetic storm with magnetic “field lines” (think bar magnet and iron filings) sweeping across long wires (transmission lines). EMP is “ElectroMagnetic Pulse.” Those from atomic bombs and whatnot come from gamma rays from the explosion radiating outward and colliding with electrons in air molecules. Those get pushed forward from their nucleus and you wind up with a very narrow, very strong electric field radiating out at the speed of light. That can fry handheld electronics just fine and also much larger things.

    Smaller EMPs come from lightning, motors with brushes, spark plugs, etc. and you can hear them on AM radios. Broadband impulsive signals, that’s not what a CME brings.

  49. I dont know if I believe the hype around Carrington solar storms. Predictions of disasters usually are gravely exaggerated, remember the year 2000 computer crash, ozon death, silent spring, death from algea, death from asteroids, death from global warming etc etc.
    I dont think it will be a huge problem, annoying yes, devastating no.

  50. Beats an imprecision IPCC-guided crap bomb for damage.

    One destroys civilization and the other just annoys the hell out of it.

  51. If you are really worried about it, there should be some bunkers for sale from the Mayan calendar doomsday peppers. ;-)
    and everybody is not buying guns anymore… Ruger & Smith & Wesson stock is tanking.

  52. To those who feel this is overblown and no real problem as we can just unplug (in theory), I just wanted to point out that 90 to 95% of people won’t.

    It’s going to be an issue.

  53. j ferguson says:
    August 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm
    my imagination may have run away with me on this one – go ahead, straighten me out, but…
    I had the impression that a Carrington Event with the enthusiasm of the one in 1859 might fry Integrated Circuits unprotected by Faraday cages. This could mean no transportation by recent automobiles, no transport by current trucks (computer controlled diesel engines), no standby electricity (computer control diesel, again), problematic communication, possible total breakdown of supply chains of everything from water to food. And it could take a long time to get rolling again.

    It’s valid to take a pessimistic jaunt regarding such a possibility, in my view j. The following pdf link report covers the numerous major vulnerabilites and primary and secondary (not to mention unforeseen) implications of such events (but from a WMD EMP perspective, for the most part) and in sobering (OK, horrific) detail.

    It provides a good shake out of complacency, and if it turns out to be overblown, good. But no one claiming it’s been overblown actually knows that it’s overstated, and we have some pretty good indications that it isn’t.

    http://www.empcommission.org/docs/A2473-EMP_Commission-7MB.pdf

  54. Maybe we’re just disaster scenario overloaded this century. WMD wasn’t there, 2012 end of the world didn’t happen, we’re not in FEMA camps and SpaghettiO didn’t take our guns away, etc…

  55. GuarionexSandoval says:
    August 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks for that – a very interesting paper.

  56. GregL says:
    August 1, 2014 at 2:08 pm
    In the case of an extreme event pushing 1500-1600 km/sec, the warning time would be only a day.

    Less in practice in that case, Greg, as most regular people including ‘decision makers’ spend half the day incommunicado, asleep, on the potty, it traffic and other fun stuff.

    Then when they do find it out from the Box or the hyper-chatter networks they’ll spend the next 6 hours (if they’re even interested, and most won’t be) trying to assess the info-noise being rapid-fire flung at them.

    I’m guessing but most will go ho-hum and make a cup of coffee and take the dog out for a poop. Human habit and character being what it is (anthropocentric uniformitarianism).

  57. Ric Werme says:
    August 1, 2014 at 7:14 pm
    Altogether too many people:
    Smaller EMPs come from lightning, motors with brushes, spark plugs, etc. and you can hear them on AM radios. Broadband impulsive signals, that’s not what a CME brings.

    You’re oversimpifying Ric, there are three major categories of EMP, E1, E2, E3 events, and they are all different in their mechanism.

    In the case of a global severe storm envelopment this would equate to a major E3 “heave” event, but global, not just regional as with the case of a point-sourced nuclear E3 heave. And that most certainly could be globally crippling. For instance an E3 created in a 1962 Russian test of the concept as a weapon caused an underground high tension power line, buried 1,200 mm deep and situated around 1,500 km geographically from the E3 point-source, to scorch and melt and its juction boxes to explode and burst into flames.

    See the pdf I’ve linked above regarding long-duration E3s. A CME will bring EMP effects, just not the prompt E1 and E2 effect, but a strong sustained global E3 would probably be worse anyway as time of exposure matters a lot with induced resistance heating. That’s what will do the damage, the duration of exposure to a strong E3 and the ability to dissipate the heat in metallic conductors.

  58. M Simon says:
    August 1, 2014 at 2:23 pm
    EMP is directional. Which means that if devices are oriented at random some where between 1/3rd and 2/3rds of all unshielded devices will be damaged.

    It’s effect also varies with latitude – mid latitudes get hit hardest.

  59. C’mon, DO YOU THINK, you will be typing here after such an event?

    Perspective is important……..

    Just sayin, who would know until after your network dependent digital and satellite based stuff doesn’t work?

    Think about it. …..

  60. There’s lots of foolishness surrounding CMEs. While the induced fields can cause harmful currents in power and telecom lines, anything without a huge antenna will see little effect. Automotive control systems and cellphones, in particular, are designed with thousands of volts of surge protection because they have to tolerate static discharges in everyday operation.

  61. Someone quoted the Daily Express: “The warning comes as Britain is experiencing one of the hottest summers on record.” Hype as usual, but it’s certainly been very pleasant, being the 6th hottest June+July (using CET max) in the last 40 years, beaten by 2006, 2003, 1989, 1983, 1976.

    July (23.0) has been much hotter than June (19.9), but only the 8th hottest July in the last 40 years, and not as hot as last year’s!

    Statisticians don’t usually get excited until something is less than a 1 in 20 event, so 6th or 8th in 40 doesn’t cut it. And the daily CET hasn’t touched 30 degrees since 2006 (27.8 max so far this year).

    Still, I’ve really enjoyed the warm weather, and next week I’m heading south to France to find some more!

    Rich.

  62. – Björn from Sweden says:
    August 1, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    I dont know if I believe the hype around Carrington solar storms. Predictions of disasters usually are gravely exaggerated, remember the year 2000 computer crash, ozon death, silent spring, death from algea, death from asteroids, death from global warming etc etc.
    I dont think it will be a huge problem, annoying yes, devastating no.–

    It’s estimated that it could cause 2 trillion dollars [globally] in damage.
    So it is more annoying rather than an existential threat. Or 2 trillion dollars of
    damage per century is less than hurricane damage per century.
    Or roughly one talking about something which is as disruptive as the 911 event.
    And panics might be more of a problem than anything else. Or getting the news out
    minutes before the event, so people have idea of what is happening, could lessen the effect.
    And couple this alert message, with emergency training which includes what to specifically do after such an event, could another part of what can be done.

  63. Lab for Solar and Space Physics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center:
    There is strong evidence of electromagnetic processes responsible for earthquake triggering.
    It may be just a coincidence but there was above average geomagnetic storm on the eve of the Japan’s devastating quake (March 2011)
    Here you can see what that EMP looked like, I suspect Carrington type event would be an order of magnitude more powerful.

  64. I am astonished at the complacency shown by many commentators here.This from the UK Govt in 2012 which looked at Carrington and terrorist Electro magnetic disturbances

    “Responsibility in Government

    15. We are very concerned that there appears to be no one Government Department identified to take immediate lead responsibility should there be a severe space weather event. It is not good enough to say that that will depend on where the greatest impact fell. We support and reiterate the recommendation of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee that the Government must urgently identify the Lead Government Department for space weather events as a matter of priority. We expect the National Security Council to play a major role in this. (Paragraph 92)

    Conclusion

    16. The consequences of EMP events must be addressed specifically: generic civil contingency plans which address blackouts and temporary loss of electronic infrastructure caused by a range of events are not sufficient. Space weather is a global threat and may affect many regions and countries simultaneously. This means that there is scope for mutual assistance, but also that there is no safe place from which it can be assumed that help will come. It is time that the Government began to approach this matter with the seriousness it deserves. (Paragraph 97) ”

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmdfence/1925/192504.htm

    As a result the UK Govt set up an integrated Govt committee with funding. The Met office has been tasked with examining the forecasting of electro magnetic space events. Out of curiosity a couple of years ago I contacted several infrastructure related companies-electric, fuel and banking and they either knew nothing of these events or just relied on the ‘robustness’ of their equipment without knowing if they could cope.

    This from the Royal Academy of Engineering in February 2013

    http://www.raeng.org.uk/publications/reports/space-weather-full-report

    It highlights the likely vulnerabilities and expresses confidence that much of the UK’s cellular network would mostly function, but expressed concerns over the US cellular system which has evolved differently

    This is not something that MAY build up over decades like AGW. IF an EMP event occurred there would be very little warning and it would severely impact on the electronic infrastructure which basically means everything, what with the pervasive nature of the internet. There is no cause to become alarmists but to me this type of sudden event-whether man made or natural-is of a far greater concern than AGW.

    tonyb

  65. Earth super storms are more frequent, more devastating and more deadly. Last year Typhoon Haiyan killed over 6,000 people in the Philippines and completely destroyed Tacloban City (population 220,000). The country is hit by 20 storms on average every year. Solar super storm once every 150 years. Yes we should prepare for that too.

  66. “Björn from Sweden says:
    August 1, 2014 at 8:31 pm
    I dont know if I believe the hype around Carrington solar storms. Predictions of disasters usually are gravely exaggerated, remember the year 2000 computer crash, ozon death, silent spring, death from algea, death from asteroids, death from global warming etc etc.
    I dont think it will be a huge problem, annoying yes, devastating no.”

    One of the issues is that we suffer from “Wolf” syndrome…”Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!”, and our political leaders are basically lawyers, so there is NO leadership in that regard. So when something significant DOES happen…the result is that the common Jack/Jill figure out as best they can how to get by, and the politicians look for something they can point to in order to mollyfy their base and avoid any responsibility.

    So yes, there have been many false claims/crisis over the years/decades that have numbed us all. But look what happened when Sandy hit the Northeast US. I love weather, I monitor weather on several websites all the time…drives my wife nuts, but you could see Sandy coming, and more importantly, the scale of Sandy, 4-5 days out. By and large, so-called leaders did nothing. No emergency generators deployed, no water, no first aid stations established…the list goes on. After it passed, there were tractor trailer-sized generators that had been placed in downtown as standby sources for the NY Marathon, along with tractor trailers filled with thousands of cases of drinking water. The Marathon was finally cancelled, days later than it should have been, and the big discussion was whether or not anyone had the authority to take control of those assets and move them to areas that needed them.

    So the issues are two-fold. 1) Being able to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, and 2) Being smart enough to take the proper actions to help prepare for an event. We are severely lacking in both of those areas.

    I’m not a smart guy, but I buy insurance. Part of my disaster kit will include a Ham radio, along with standard shortwave/AM/FM radios. For areas that incur severe damage such as earthquakes, where power/communications, etc are severely impacted, Ham radio is usually one of the only means of communication into/out of the affected area. It’s old-fashioned, but I’m an old guy, so I’m comfortable with that. My Go Kit will also have 2-3 army surplus metal ammo cans to store cell/radios etc, and that addition is due to articles like this.

    Will that be a total waste of time and money?

    I really hope so.

    Jim

  67. Winston says:
    August 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Don’t be alarmists! The study isn’t. More worrying than AGW, but not catastrophic. Even with the current state of the US and UK grids, the major vulnerability point, very large transformers that would take a year or more to replace due to long lead times, could be disconnected prior to the arrival of the approaching CME and, thereby, protected from damage.

    =====

    Fine, so we may still have some power available at wall sockets but the whole food, communications and feul distribution systems would be virtually non existant.

    Under developed countries like in Africa will probably fair much better than Europe and US which be in total anachy.

  68. Dr. Strangelove says:
    August 2, 2014 at 2:13 am
    The country is hit by 20 storms on average every year.

    I’ve seen this repeated numerous times by people and it’s not the case, people seem to be confusing the number of typhoons that form east of the Philippines with the number that are hitting the Philippines – which is something else entirely. I’m guessing here for sake of argument but the number that crosses the Philippines each year ranges between 1 to 3. But if someone can show the tracks of roughly 20 typhoons crossing the country, each year, on average, I’d like to see it.

    I’m also not too convinced or comforted by economic loss guesstimates in dollar terms being a sufficient measure of the level of hazards, suffering the losses a CME could produce. Frankly, that may be the least of our concerns, the loses may be literally incalculable. All we know is it will come, it remains to be seen what that means, but assumptions of it being ineffectual, or else calamitous are clearly COMPLETELY BASELESS OPINIONS either way.

    2c

  69. tonyb : “As a result the UK Govt set up an integrated Govt committee with funding. The Met office has been tasked with examining the forecasting of electro magnetic space events. ”

    Why does that fill me with a sinking feeling?

    Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

  70. Unmentionable

    Take it from the Philippine weather bureau:

    “At least 19 to 20 tropical cyclones enter the country every year, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).”

    http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/05/09/1321044/same-number-typhoons-seen-hit-phl-year

    I’m not guessing. I visited Tacloban City before Typhoon Haiyan. I met people there whose homes were destroyed. Over a million houses were destroyed in several cities and towns.

  71. A Carrington event is INEVITABLE. CMEs occur relatively regularly, so it is a cosmic sized Russian roulette. At some stage of the game, the Earth will be there at the same time as the CME. We cannot swerve. There will be about 15 minutes warning-if authorities choose to act. Satellites will be burned out, so there will be problems for several years with getting GPS satellites back in to orbit anyway. Long electrical wires will act as conductors and burn out transformers if not taken off line. The wires themselves may melt from the excess current. Either way, it will take at least 6 months to get back on stream. Meanwhile, how are we to support so many humans??? Transport of food from the countryside will be severely compromised. Food riots are inevitable.

    I have calculated a Carrington event approximately every 150 years, which means we are slightly overdue. For someone with a few million spare dollars, a good investment could be a couple of such large transformers. WHEN the crunch comes, 1 billion is actually a bargain for such a transformer- in a decent sized city , the lost daily production is around 500 million per day, 2 days of the transformer cost. Thus, a billion for the $5 million transformer is actually a bargain. 200x return on investment! And a bargain to boot!

    Anyone want to go in the investment pool? Have to be from Australia. Mind you, it could be interesting having international bidding on your transformers.

  72. Greg

    It filled me with a sinking feeling as well and I wrote it!

    IF this became as big a thing as AGW in this country I feel reasonably certain that appropriate measures would be taken. As it is still very much a side show at present I doubt that the actions taken by the UK govt to date will be remotely effective.

    tonyb

  73. Your link says:

    “At least 19 to 20 tropical cyclones ENTER THE COUNTRY every year, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).”

    I say:

    Define ENTER
    Define COUNTRY

    You’ll find they mean this:

    I said: “… but the number that CROSSES the Philippines each year ranges between 1 to 3. But if someone can show the TRACKS of roughly 20 typhoons crossing the country, EACH YEAR, on AVERAGE, I’d like to see it.

    (sorry for the caps Dr, just emphasising)

    I don’t doubt what you saw last year, but that’s beside the point, 19 to 20 cyclones may touch on parts of the Philippines extended territory but that is a very different thing to the implied insinuation that 19 to 10 Typhoons are making land fall or crossing the Philippines each year.

    I would posit that no more than 5 of those storms that ENTER the COUNTRY are actually imparting actual typhoon effects to almost any of its inhabitants.

    In other words, the 19 to 20 number is myth making and hype, although it may be technically or strictly a fact in the sense of the definitions and wording used (but I’m not convinced that’s the case either).

    Be sceptical, these numbers are being pumped for a reason and that reason is to concoct baloney. If it is true, then as I said, I’d love to see the track maps for say the past 20 years, demonstrating it beyond dispute.

    I’ll be surprised if I’m far from the truth in suggesting its between 1 and 3 actually making landfall or crossing the country with typoon effects. Mostly it will be near misses while transiting the EEZ.

    Right?

  74. Number of people mentioned transformers. As a young student I remember seeing one of these monsters (it was made by Rade Koncar from Zagreb Yu, at the time one of the European largest trafo makers), if my memory serves me correctly:(x2x2) about 150 tones, 300kV, 600MVA . These things are not made overnight, and not exactly transported by your SUV.

  75. Fear mongering, it would likely not even bother most of the earth, compare it to a meteor hit, why not start worrying about that??

  76. Folks, it’s just not going to be the end of life as we know it. Just isn’t.

    For those who think they will starve, store some food:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/food-storage-systems/

    get a generator (a stupid one without electronics) and an old car with a large gas tank to hold the fuel (since usually your CCRs or insurance forbid more than 2 gallons in cans…)

    Yes, I’ve got an old pre-electronics Diesel car and an older ‘points only’ gasoline car. Mostly because I like old cars, but also as I’m one of the folks who expect to rebuild things ‘after the fall’. (My ‘day job’ is in computer infrastructure / support and fixing what’s broken. My current contract is as Disaster Recovery Coordinator for a very large company… so ‘this is what I do’… ) But the reality is that it’s overkill.

    As pointed out already, cars are natural Faraday cages. Lightning is way stronger. It’s mostly long wires that gets it ( on the order of 100’s of miles long…)

    ONE example:

    A major data center at a major company went down. Why? They had added a flag pole out front of the building. Turns out it was about 3 feet from the water main, and in sandy soil. Lightning hit the pole, flashed over to the pipe, whole building ground plane raised to lightning level of volts….

    Well, this building is about a city block long, with separate power feeds at each end from different grid segments. ALL power went down. Despite redundant UPS / power conditioning equipment. Turns out that reverse volting large UPS gear with lighting in the ground plane Is A Very Bad Idea. About 4 hours later the building was back up and most computers were coming back on line. They just bypassed the UPS / entry point conditioning gear and ran on raw line power until the UPS (un interruptable power supply) company could ship spares. Almost NO computer damage.

    Now this is way more power / volts / amps / everything than you will get with a Carrington event.

    So what happened? The UPS sacrificed itself (involuntarily – i.e. not by design) and the computer gear in this entire building was without power, but NOT damaged. All the room power feeds through the UPS, and so both ground and power were at constant (low) volts to each other. Even as the ground plane went ‘way high’, so did the power feeds – so relative to each other their was little across the computer gear. The UPS had main ground / main power connections, so got fried.

    IMHO, something very much like that will happen all over the planet. The entry point power conditioning equipment will get fried, and everything else will be fine. Even the Diesel generators.

    There are a LOT of standby generators all over the planet. Most of them not plugged into anything or running at any given time. All hospitals in the USA, for example. They are NOT plugged into the power grid, but switch in when needed. Being isolated, they will survive. Might need to jumper past the cut in switch if it is electronic, but not a hard problem.

    Similar things will be going on all over the place. A bunch of little PITAs for folks like me, but not the end of life as we know it. Your laptop will still work, as will your cell phone; and in about 4 hours the cell towers and phone company will be back up. Some long distance lines will be out and transformers fried, so interconnects will be lousy. Not efficient, and some regions / times may need to leave the AC off or run minimal loads for a while; but not too long. Most cars and trucks will be fine, and we can get fuel flowing again pretty quickly. The corn will still grow and cows will still give milk…

    Prepare for it a little bit (like you would for an earthquake, hurricane, flood, whatever) but this is just not a special ‘end of life as we know it’ thing. Due to lightning preparations, most of the world is already able to handle this. Airplanes survive direct lighting strikes by design, for example. So put some food on the shelf, get a small generator and a fuel siphon, keep the car gassed up, and don’t worry about it.

  77. Holy cow, there are cars on the road and I might get hit by a car, people often get killed by cars, better hide under my bed and not go out….
    Lightning too…..
    What a pile of crap

  78. Is this the next Global Warming type money raising scheme? As most realize that the whole Global Warming scam is a scam, maybe there is some money to be raised on a Carrington event?

    I find it hard to believe that it could get the traction, but it is likely only one of many things being tried. I cant imagine more than a few hundred million being spent on this, chicken feed compared to the billions wasted on GW.

  79. The 150 years is an average, not a cycle. That means it may come at practically any time, including never.

  80. Oh, and I probably ought to add that a Carrington Event IS far more a worry than AGW, that being due to AGW being a complete fantasy…

    FWIW, for about $40 you can get a nice inverter that plugs into the car to make “wall power”. I usually travel with a 100 W unit for the laptop / phone charging and with a 300 W unit “in case of disaster”. That is plenty for lights and communications in case of earthquake / hurricane and such. All up, about a $80 ‘investment’ that means wherever I am, my car is a mobile ‘generator’ and I’m never without power. (Since I often work at sites without power and expect to be called in when power is out, this is a great convenience to me ;-) Put one in a tin cookie pan (eat the cookies first ;-) and it is EMP proof.

    That’s just one small example of why we will not be without all power. Oh, and I also have a half dozen old computers in the garage at any one time (and a backup disk not plugged into my laptop) so if anything fried ALL my plugged in computers, I’d be running again in about 30 minutes on a slightly older box. There’s a lot of folks like me; so ‘after the fall’, a large core of folks will have power, communications (HAM packet radio if nothing else) and computes up and running. The rest is just a long series of repair / remediation steps. Oh, and I have a large can of coffee in ‘stores’ for the 18 hour days…

    @A C Osborn:

    That Ebola outbreak is a huge worry. It isn’t being controlled. They sent folks over to ‘help’, and their containment systems didn’t prevent them from getting sick, so now they are going to be bringing the virus to the USA and say “trust us, we can keep it contained”? How? By using the same protective clothing and measures that failed to keep them from getting sick in the first place? Speaking of madness….

    The first rule of quarantine is to prevent exit from the quarantine area…

  81. Hi E.M.
    It’s good to have my apprehensions about the effect on IC’s shown to be uninformed., and wrong. Interestingly we took a lightning hit on our C-210 in flight. it made a very round 1/8 inch diameter hole in the wing, did some damage to the newer of the two navcoms but otherwise no problems that we were ever able to find. Newer navcom was a king KX-170 which had IC’s. Older one was solid state but with discrete components. I doubt if anything useful can be concluded from that.

  82. personally, being an old fashioned rural sort..I keep no less than a 2 mth drygoods+cans on hand rainwater tanks give us rural folks a huge edge, and enough dry food etc for pets for a min of a month whats frozen can stay icy for some days and then be cooked over outdoor fires till its near dry if push comes to shove.always have large size antiseptic /bandages and whatever meds you require stockpiled. power goes out so do petrol bowsers, modern petrol doesnt store for very long but a 44gal drum is better than none..assuming anything with electronic ignit etc isnt fried.
    I miss my 1964 car. basic and solid and no crappy hi tech stuff you cant fix.

  83. Scott says:
    August 2, 2014 at 4:55 am
    Fear mongering, it would likely not even bother most of the earth, compare it to a meteor hit, why not start worrying about that??

    One went into Russia last year and the locals made a fortune from it!
    /footage Boris Yeltsin chicken-dancing

  84. All been discussed on this forum before.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/14/homeland-security-takes-on-the-carrington-event/

    Spend a lazy hour or so and read this

    http://www.breadandbutterscience.com/SSTA.pdf

    All been investigated by the U.S. military years ago and recommendations made however possibly never followed up on or ongoing technology is outpacing the safeguards.

    With this latest British report maybe the U.K. is far behind on appreciating the possible consequences.

    E.M. Smith……….Large modern cities can only function on massive amounts of electrical power. The logistics of keeping the remnants of the city populations fed and calm plus quelling any possible civil uprising plus securing the borders from the anticipated onslaught of third world hordes will negate getting civilisation as we know it up and functioning in a matter of months.

    An event such as a Carrington flare event will be a black swan to the worlds economies. The worldwide economic debacle alone will ensure T.E.OT.W.A.W.K.I

  85. beng says:
    August 2, 2014 at 5:40 am

    From your very interesting link:
    “… First, X-rays and ultraviolet radiation from the solar flare would have produced radio blackouts. …”

    Nice! … I didn’t explicitly realize that was part of the package … but it feeds into the pdf report I linked above, which points out that a lot of our grid-switching apparatus is performed in the form of enormous numbers of remote-controlled SCADA devices (see page 15) and their particular vulnerabilities (besides this one) are also well worth reading about within that report. The catch is that many SCADA’s are secure radio-controlled or dial-up accessed, so if the human controllers suddenly enter a radio blackout, they then can’t switch the grid SCADAs to isolate the grid from its own induction, to escape the long-conductor length issue.

    The report goes on to point-out that the technicians that used to go out and manually manipulate the SCADAs longer exist because the proliferation and deployment of cheap remote-control network access meant those workers became redundant.

    So not only has the skill and knowledge base atrophied and shrunk, the technical manpower and vehicles to access them quickly no longer exists, to either go out and disconnect them, or else to repair or more likely replace them.

    The report discusses SCADAs early simply because they are the cornerstone of virtually every utility that we use today, and E1, E2 or E3 events will fry most of them, and the grid with it. Much of their vulnerability stems from their RS232 ports, so it was always considered they were more vulnerable to an E1 and E2 pulse, and not so much the E3. But if a global radio blackout precedes the E3’s arrival the grid transmission infrastructure is a goner … like I said … nice.

    This is the type of unintended-consequence that no one understands how it will all play out.

    There will be many others, like the effects on electricity turbines and electronic valves, which are both another whole horror-story which a global radio comms black out will affect destructively as well.

    (and I don’t know why everyone keeps talking-up faraday cages to the rescue when we’re not talking about E1 and E2 transient pulse events here)

  86. OK. Questions: There was a Carrington event in the 19th Century. When was the last one before that and what is your proof that it occurred.?

    If we don’t know the answer to the above question: How do we know whether we will see another similar event?
    If, as some have claimed here, there have been other recent events, who measured them and what was their impact.?

    Have satelites been tested against a C event if not why not? Is it because satelites don’t last very long and any infrequent event becomes irrelevent?

    And, NASA are paid to predict and detect such events so that transformers can be taken off line. Are we saying that like climate science NASA can predict nothing but are good at manipulating past data to fit nothing.?

  87. High Treason says:
    August 2, 2014 at 3:45 am

    > Only if it’s a cyclic event.

    I have calculated a Carrington event approximately every 150 years, which means we are slightly overdue.

    “Overdue” means nothing to independent events. The probability remains 1 in 150 per year. In fact, one could argue that “overdue” implies the risk may be going down.

    NASA has been hyping the next Carrington event just fine – they don’t need our help.

  88. Thank you Rick (7.28) for bringing sense to the “overdue by five years” rubbish.

    The average repeat time for a random event is completely meaningless for any practical purposes. Furthermore, the calculated average is probably based on no more than three or four recorded “Carrington” events anyway as there appears to be little or no explanation yet of the cause of such events than can be used to calculate the frequency as a function of the rotation of the sun.

    This is as bad as saying that because we had two “hundred year storms” in a 25 year period then they must be getting more frequent because of global warming.

    Carrington events happen, same as meteor strikes. All we can do is to increase our level of warning so that defensive measures can be taken. Completely de-centralising our energy economy is as bad as de-carbonising because of a possible global warming – the (definite) costs massively outweigh the (speculative) benefits.

  89. WASHINGTON POST PROPOSES EARTH SHIELDING!!!
    “Extreme solar storms spark a need for innovation”.
    As NASA just announced, a massive solar storm similar to the one in 2012 could wipe out GPS, satellite communication, the power grid, the Internet – just about anything that would be affected by a sufficiently large direct electromagnetic blast from the sun [including nuclear plants]. One thing that could be done now is to launch a competition to attract the best ideas from the scientific community, similar to what NASA does with its Innovative Advanced Concepts program. It’s been noticed that, in the event of extreme solar activity, the Earth’s magnetosphere adjusts in response to the CMEs from the sun. Maybe that system could be exploited or augmented by man-made means to create a shield that powers up or powers down anytime NASA’s early-warning system detects unusual activity.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/07/31/extreme-solar-storms-spark-a-need-for-innovation/
    *http://www.global-providence.info/
    It’s feasible, because both the easy crater shields and the big equatorial one can start immediately, while the big shield will use gravity balance AND celestial electricity to need less energy!

  90. Ruger and Smith & Wesson gun stocks are entering way oversold territory. But they may go down some more. All it takes is Hillary Clinton to get elected and start her UN global gun control bullshyt and they’ll take off again.

    Probably wouldn’t hurt to have a place in a remote spot like I’ve got. Keep your generator going, know your neighborhood and friendly locals. Be able to defend yourselves from crime wave freaks pouring out from the big cities.

  91. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t the Carrington event preceded by a very large x-class flare and with that wouldn’t a CME be seen coming off the surface. Also we have no idea how many Carrington events have happened since the last one when most of the time CME and Flares are not pointed at the Earth and our observations by Satellite only go back 30 years or so.

  92. There is no cause to become alarmists but to me this type of sudden event-whether man made or natural-is of a far greater concern than AGW.
    ============
    often ignored in the hype when looking at global events. a sudden change is difficult to deal with because many areas will be affected all at the same time. a gradual change is much easier to deal with, as the problem areas will be limited in scope and spread out over a longer period of time.

    thus the alarmist hype that we “need to act now”. if we wait it will become obvious that there is no need to panic, that gradual problems can be dealt with gradually. for example, sea level rise – only a few areas are at immediate risk – so deal with those rather than disrupt the economy of the entire planet.

  93. Rob says:
    August 2, 2014 at 7:56 am

    The average repeat time for a random event is completely meaningless for any practical purposes. Furthermore, the calculated average is probably based on no more than three or four recorded “Carrington” events anyway….

    I have no solid idea how that 1 in 150 was derived, but the Carrington event was pretty well described from direct solar observation, at least the second CME of the event was. I assume the risk is derived from seeing events happen on our side of the sun, determining how much of our orbit is affected by them. If the average year affects 1/150th of Earth’s orbit, then that’s the annual risk.

  94. The sun is quiet. However, in fact the sun is mad. It is brighter than ever. We have a saying here in South Africa: Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the sun at midday. [I experienced this today when I just had to go out in the sun at midday]
    It is going to get madder still. It is in fact globally cooling:

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/files/2013/02/henryspooltableNEWc.pdf

    I threw the dice three times
    and every time it shows it IS getting cooler
    How do you figure this? A hotter sun, means a cooler earth….

  95. “I don’t want to cause alarm, but…”
    _________________
    Once I got past the Harmonica Virgins Harmonic Convergence, I never even batted an eye at Global Warming, Y2K or the Mayan calendar 2012 end of the world. (Anyone heard the latest on Bigfoot?)

  96. Read both Summary and Final Report: cute and thin.

    Interesting points: GCR “may” have low-cloud development impact, last report cited 1975. Clearly staying politically correct BUT on the skeptical side if you read between the lines.

    States that 1/3 of all global heating since 1970 is solar forced, citing Lean 2012. Not so much a surprise of stretch, but a quantification that is NOT in the warmists’ benefit because it is falsifiable AND nails an upper limit to CO2 forcing. Oops.

    Over all, a Fun for the Whole Family! and Can I Get a Discovery Program Out of This My Graphics are Done!

    A Carrington Event would be significant. With all the brainpower involved, a solid assessment of at least the continental U.S. of A., would have been useful, not just an entertainment to read after watching Sharknado 2.

  97. No doubt a Carrington Event would damage some electrical systems and might well have severe effects in localized areas. But I wonder if anyone can predict uniform global catastrophe. During the 1859 event, telegraphy was apparently globally disrupted. But telegraphing resumed the next day. Some systems were damaged, but there was no global collapse. Modern electronics are certainly more fragile than the old telegraph systems, but it is a question of degree.

    As I understand it, the 1859 event was also double the strength of any in the previous 500 years and was in fact two flares, the first of which cleared the path for the second. So the odds of a single large solar flare are not the only issue. It seems to me that the question is whether there will be (1) two flares, (2) of similar intensity, (3) directed at Earth.

    No question industry should take the risk into account in producing electronic equipment. And planning for response by utilities also makes sense. But color me skeptical as soon as someone starts demanding massive governmental action.

    Part of me is reminded of the reported fears that turning on the Large Hadron Collider might destroy the universe, or at least the Earth. Or Y2K.

  98. “the Earth is, on average, in the path of Carrington-level events every 150 years – which means we are five years overdue.”
    That’s as far as I have read so far and I laughed. We do not know the real odds. We just know it’s been 155 years since the Carrington. These things are random. The is no “overdue.” Such things do not happen like clockwork.
    I expect I am the 30th one to point out this error. Fact is it COULD happen, but is not especially likely in this solar cycle, because it is a relatively quiet one. It IS a good thing to talk about because we are unprepared. This would knock out the US power grid and it would be months to years to repair it–if we could do so at all with no electricity, etc.
    Right now, such an event would kill 90% of Americans–but that is only because we haven’t much thought about it. With some talk, we could lay in some food everywhere, decide on alternate methods of handling the grid so that large parts of it could be brought back up quickly, figure out safe emergency sewage handling, etc. etc. It can all be mitigated. There are ways to prepare so completely that there would be almost no casualties.
    We do have enemies in this–those who believe that the world is so dangerously overpopulated that we have to kill 10% to 90% of the world’s human population as soon as possible to avert even worse catastrophe. Such people want that kill rate.
    As individuals, you should be “prepping” for such a disaster, just in case. Every individual or family who can feed himself would be one less to contribute to the riots and trouble. No need to panic about it, just store foods that you like and eat regularly, have water, etc. If you do it right, you’ll also be prepared for unemployment or blizzards or local sewage line repairs, etc. It’s just prudence and wisdom to be prepared.

  99. Actually, it’s more likely to happen with a solar cycle like this according to Leif. There is also the collapsing filaments thing. Maybe he will pop in and give us a reminder.

  100. Roy says:
    August 2, 2014 at 1:38 am

    Nowadays lots of computer data is stored in “the Cloud.” Would that be safe?

    It’s not safe now: Google/Apple/Microsoft has your data. :)

  101. There is a fictional account, One Second After, which describes an EMP event over the continental US. Although this was caused by foreign nasties launching a few missiles from cargo ships in the Gulf of Mexico, the results are somewhat similar to the post by Unmentionable, but on a regional, not global scale. Well worth reading and preparing for (or not…).
    You can always say I told you so and then take the pill…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Second_After

  102. A few thoughts. While some people have pointed out that this event is unlikely in the near future they have missed the point that if it happened once it can happen again. So preparation is just common sense. Speaking about preparation those of you talking about storing food consider this. At most you might have food stored for 3 months though for most people it would be closer to a week. This food would have to be non-perishable and you’d need either enough fuel to cook it or stock only food that doesn’t need cooking. Even if you have food what about fuel for heating and cooking. Most of seem to think this would clear up in a few months. Suppose that they managed to repair the power grid from a complete collapse in 3 months (unlikely) do you think everything just going to fall back into place after power is restored. Also some of you have talked like this would be a local event, if something like this happened it would be a global event. There would be few if any unaffected areas from which to enact repairs. While I don’t think this is an immediate issue ignoring or downplaying it would be a mistake.

  103. Rud Istvan says:
    August 1, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    As a small simulation, one atmospheric ‘Bikini Atoll’ H bomb test managed to black out most of Hawaii for several hours from the distant EMP pulse.

    An Electromagnetic Pulse pulse? Is that like an ATM Machine?

  104. .…………From what I understand, we would normally have 3-4 days of lead time to prepare so much of the grid could be protected……

    as little as ten hours.

  105. Ed Martin says:
    August 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm
    Actually, it’s more likely to happen with a solar cycle like this according to Leif. There is also the collapsing filaments thing. Maybe he will pop in and give us a reminder.
    Yes, indeed, there are indications that extreme events tend to happen in cycles of moderate strength, but, essentially those events are unpredictable. Took me a bit to ‘pop in’ as I have been on my way home from Sapporo [Japan] the last couple of days.

  106. Alan Robertson says:
    August 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

    “I don’t want to cause alarm, but…”
    _________________
    Once I got past the Harmonica Virgins Harmonic Convergence, I never even batted an eye at Global Warming, Y2K or the Mayan calendar 2012 end of the world. (Anyone heard the latest on Bigfoot?)
    =======================================================
    Latest on Bigfoot? Traded to the Ravens for an offensive tackle and a second round draft pick.
    (Rimshot)

    On topic… as little as 50 years ago a large percentage of Americans still ran family farms. They would have been inconvenienced by a Carrington-type event, but they, and their neighbors would not starve and would make it though OK. Now, everyone is highly specialized and interdependent and there would be serious problems if the US lost the grid for even a week or two. Imagine what would happen to the current record number of people on public assistance. These generally are not the people who are prepping. People will do what is necessary to survive and America will be looking at a lot of hungry people with nothing to lose. Not pretty.

  107. From http://www.tjugofyra7.se/msb/Arkiv/Avdelningar/Nyheter/Svar-solstorm-drabbade-Karlstad-1921/2012-04-20

    Severe solar storm hit Karlstad 1921

    One of the most severe effects of solar storms in Sweden hit the telephone station in Karlstad the night before Whitsunday in 1921. The station, then one of the first in Sweden, caught fire and the damages were made worse by the destruction of the system in place to alert the fire department.

    During Pentcost 1921 the Northern Hemisphere was hit by a severe solar storm. Already the night before Whitsunday the telephone station in Karlstad had suffered disturbances when fuses and circuit breakers had burned out and tripped.

    Around 2 am at Whitsunday night the 15th May [1921] a neighbor watched the wires and cables leading to the telephone station begin to glow, soon causing the station to catch fire. A policeman on patrol tried to activate a fire alarm installation, but since that did not had any reaction, a cyclist was sent to alert the fire station.

    The fire in the telephone station caused all fire alarm installations to malfunction causing confusion at the fire station. The message from the cyclist brought clarity and action, but still with 20 minutes delay. The destruction was great and the next day the director of the Telephone Line Technical Service, F.R.Fredericksson from Goteborg arrived with the news that the disturbances were felt everywhere in the Swedish Telephone Net, especially in Svealand, but nowhere as severe as in Karlstad.

    The Telegraph Company [who was in charge of the Telephone Network] assured everybody that no resources would be spared. Additional personnel from Goteborg and Orebro were called in to work 24/7 in three shifts. A temporary telephone station was set up within a few days, but initially only the most important customers were connected.

    The newspapers in Karlstad followed the repair work from day to day and reported that businesses were paralyzed. The fire led to severe problems for banks and the Chamber of Commerce was talking about ‘Force Majeure’. Every day, businesses and banks would announce on the newspapers’ front page that their phone number was again ready for use.

    The fire and the damages due to the solar storm became an expensive event for the Telegraph Company. The cost was computed to reach 200,000 kronor and, according to the Nya Wermland paper, the station was insured for 177,000 kronor, but when the insurance was up for renewal on April 1st it had been allowed to lapse as a cost-cutting measure.

    ————————-

    The telephone station burned down, but it was run by the telegraph company. Many countries have a PTT [Post, Telegraph, and Telephone service] system with central management of all three services.

  108. When I lived on the Southern Oregon Coast, I learned for under $500, you can purchase an LPG generator, that runs off of 5 gallon white BBQ tanks. Each of which can give you around 10 hours of runtime at half load. The fuel won’t go bad and you can have a couple of full ones stored away either in the garage or out in a storage shed.

    At 3500 watts with max burst to 5000 watts, its a good solution to a back up plan. Its stored in the garage with a pull starter, an old laptop, and some replacement tech like routers and switches and what not. The home grid will return, even if the rest of the world is dark. I need to add deep cycle recharge circuit to allow silent running for the fridge/freezer.

  109. Somewhere deep in the human psyche there appears to be a sweet longing for the end of the world. The best explanation for the persistence of this myth seems to be that, unwilling to confront the reality of our own personal extinction, we prefer to project ‘the end’ onto the external world.
    Back in the day of course, we had to just accept the Christian end times myth…now we’re lucky enough to be able to chose the type of extinction event which best suits our personality.
    The Greenie Warmists clearly are very attached to their scenario, and the commenters above seem to be quite titillated by the Carrington Event route, but of course with Ebola in the news there’s always the delightful prospect of a nasty plague but let us not forget those two old favourites Caldera Eruption and the Nuclear Holocaust. Personally I’m dreading the return of the Rainbow Serpent.

  110. The Carrington Event was a “double play.” (two events back to back)
    Now triple play .. that would be really special.

    Earth’s magnetic field recovery time comes into play. Second or third event would be unimpeded or very little magnetic field shielding.

  111. Carla says:
    August 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm
    The Carrington Event was a “double play.” (two events back to back)
    Now triple play .. that would be really special.

    Actually not. What is important is the initial rapid change of the magnetic field, not that there is another event a couple of days later.

  112. And over the period of the last century as sunspot cycle increased the likelihood of events occurring during magnetic field recovery.. and there must be some global warming potential in the upper atmosphere just due to that..
    Probably better at triggering an earthquake also during recovery periods.

    magnetic field recovery times, better ask the Dr. S., after he recovers from his journey.

  113. Carla says:
    August 2, 2014 at 8:53 pm
    Magnetic field recovery time can be longer than 72 hours depending on the event(s)?
    It is not the recovery time that is important [actually the longer, the better], but the initial impact. To be precise: the rate of change of the magnetic field.

  114. See there… geez + ugh… this is just what I need to go along with my (PVSD) Polar Vortex Stress Disorder, now add in (CESD) Carrington Event Stress Disorder…. this century is nothing but stress disorder. Just getting over 9-11 stress disorder… At least (MCSD) Mayan Calendar Stress Disorder was too ridiculous to really stress about… Geeeez, just want to go back to the old mild (GWSD) Global Warming Stress Disorder that I didn’t really believe in.

  115. Leif Svalgaard says:

    August 2, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Carla says:
    August 2, 2014 at 8:53 pm
    Magnetic field recovery time can be longer than 72 hours depending on the event(s)?
    It is not the recovery time that is important [actually the longer, the better], but the initial impact. To be precise: the rate of change of the magnetic field
    ——————————————————————–

    Rice edu used to have a model at their website depicting one the modern major storms, showing Earth’s magnetic pause, pushed halfway across the planet. The “rate of change” in the magnetic field location in that case was an extreme.. But you are referring to another change, I think.

    thank you
    good night

  116. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 2, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Is it not also important the suns hemisphere of origin for the event and the flip cycle (meaning the 22 year cycle of changing magnetic field of the sun, north to south and back)?

  117. Leif,

    Thoughts about the new Nano-flairs found in the sounding rocket mission?

    …”Several theories have been offered for how the magnetic energy coursing through the corona is converted into the heat that raises the temperature. Different theories make different predictions about what kind of – and what temperature – material might be observable, but few observations have high enough resolution over a large enough area to distinguish between these predictions.

    The EUNIS rocket, however, was equipped with a very sensitive version of an instrument called a spectrograph. …”

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-08/nsfc-bey080114.php

  118. I am waiting for the warmies to claim that man-made CO2 increases the risk of a Carrington event.We will have to prepare for the Carrington event by not being reliant on electricity from fossil fuel. Wind power will be claimed by the warmies to be Carrington neutral. Solar power according to the warmies would be enhanced by the Carrington event.

  119. Russ Steele says:

    “Reblogged this on Sierra Foothill Commentary and commented:
    The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch is available from Amazon. We have taken precautions, with some metal container for our portable electronic devices.”

    Metal containers will work for electronics but it must be grounded.

    There are circuit breakers protecting those big transformers which should do the trick.

  120. Seems Large Seismic Events (+M-8.0) are (nearly) shown to be Correlated with Solar Polar Magnetic Field activity.

    IMHO, we’ll see the Sun’s primary hand, in terms of “weather”, and “climate”, long and short cycle, as this science step-by-step evolves into the new paradigm.
    Best,
    David Sharkey (Tiburon)
    Canada

  121. Carla says:
    August 2, 2014 at 9:19 pm
    The “rate of change” in the magnetic field location in that case was an extreme.. But you are referring to another change, I think.
    It is not the change of location that is important but the change at the surface of the Earth of the magnetic field per unit of time, i.e. how rapid the field changes. This controal the amount of current induced in power lines and other linear conductors.

    Jim Arndt says:
    August 2, 2014 at 9:27 pm
    Is it not also important the suns hemisphere of origin for the event and the flip cycle (meaning the 22 year cycle of changing magnetic field of the sun, north to south and back)?
    No, not really, as each individual CME has an almost random magnetic field orientation.

    Jack H Barnes says:
    August 2, 2014 at 11:56 pm
    Thoughts about the new Nano-flairs found in the sounding rocket mission?
    The ‘nanoflare’ idea has been around for many years and is one of the many proposed mechanisms, and does now seem to have found some observational support.

    Tiburon says:
    August 3, 2014 at 8:50 am
    Seems Large Seismic Events (+M-8.0) are (nearly) shown to be Correlated with Solar Polar Magnetic Field activity.
    I don’t think this has been established or is even plausible.

  122. Hi Leif, No, as I clearly said (“nearly”), so no, not yet “established” – as you said.
    But the null hypothesis is certainly in deep jeopardy, also clearly.
    As to it being “plausible”…well…neither was a non-geocentric universe, not all so long ago.
    I’m called to mind the words of the Bard….
    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

  123. Paul Singer, founder of hedge fund Elliot Management, warned in a private letter to investors that “the greatest danger facing the world is a freak solar electromagnetic pulse which would have a far more devastating effect than nuclear war, by laying waste to the electrical grid.”

    Perhaps a tad OTT. He did not mention any investment trends linked to his concerns.

  124. Tiburon says:
    August 3, 2014 at 9:34 am
    I’m called to mind the words of the Bard….
    The Bard had no idea about the science involved, so his words can hardly carry any weight.
    And the ‘null-hypothesis’ is not in any jeopardy.

  125. Warning: Might be some sarcasm here.

    The single greatest danger we face from a Carrington event is the prolonged loss of Twitter and Facebook. Suddenly, without recourse, millions of people will realize they have been leading meaningless tweet-centric, Facebook-contrived sound bite lives with faux popularity and having no outlet to share that epiphany there will be a global societal collapse. To compound the tragedy the police don’t care!!! http://www.wfsb.com/story/26174225/police-do-not-call-us-if-facebook-is-down

    Millions of people with no skills in face to face human interaction and too much idle time thrust upon them. Think of the mischief. Just maybe this is why the IRS and other non-enforcement agencies have been depleting the public armory by purchasing millions of rounds of ammunition.

  126. Long wires (hundreds of miles) will experience induction currents, everything else not so much.

    Magnetic induction depends on the number of wires cutting a magnetic field, either the wires move or the magnetic field moves. If you have many wires in a coil you increase the voltage but not the current, fewer wires will produce more current. How many magnet lines of force are cut depends on its “gradient” or density.

    Aircraft transformers operate at 400 Hz and the higher frequency means effective coupling with smaller transformers, also it avoids core saturation.

    United States utility power is 60 Hz and consequently requires larger transformers, even for the same power ratings, simply to avoid core saturation.

    The “frequency” of a solar flare magnetic field change is probably less than 1 Hz, consequently it would require an enormous transformer to couple any energy from it. That just happens to be long transmission lines. The wavelength of this change is thousands of miles long.

    But what it looks like at the ENDS is DC, direct current. That much current will magnetize the core (assuming it doesn’t simply melt) and once magnetized (saturated) it can no longer do the alternating current thing. It becomes effectively a short circuit on both sides. This will pull down the grid on both sides of the transformer.

    But there’s another problem. Circuit breakers aren’t designed to break Direct Current. They actually watch for the moment in time when the current changes direction (which it does 120 times a second) and open the switch when current is zero. Trying to open a high voltage switch that happens to be carrying thousands of amps will produce an enormous arc whose magnetism might prevent the switch from opening, to say nothing of just failing to open once the arc has ionized the air (big circuit breakers often operate in oil to prevent this problem or use compressed air to blow out the arc).

    What that means for your household electronics is that while they might conceivably notice the change in magnetism, it will be gradual and uniform and thus it won’t “couple” into your household electronics whose wires are mere inches or millimeters long. Both ends of the short wire will have essentially exactly the same response, close to zero but more importantly there would be no differential. A typical integrated circuit has gate protection diodes for ESD (electro-static discharge).

    The wavelength of the electromagnetic energy would also have to be just inches or millimeters (ie, your microwave oven) in order for your device to absorb the energy. That’s why higher frequency walkie-talkies have shorter antennas — they are tuned to the wavelength of the electromagnetic energy (typically 1/4 of it anyway with the walkie-talkie itself the other 1/4).

    Summary. It isn’t a “pulse”. It is like a tsunami, a big slow wave. Out at sea a small boat rides the tsunami barely noticing it because to the boat the sea slowly rises, then slowly settles. The wavelength is so much longer than the boat that the boat simply “rides” it. The same with your household electronics. They will simply “ride” the slow change in magnetism. But a thousand mile long transmission line is too big to ride it, one end will experience different magnetism than the other and this will induce a very large direct current into equipment not expecting ANY direct current.

    As to high voltage DC transmission lines such as in northeastern Canada (Nelson River project), those systems are already DC with completely different consequences. Conceivably you could actually harness the power of the magnetic storm with such a transmission line.

  127. Michael 2 says:
    August 3, 2014 at 10:53 am
    Long wires (hundreds of miles) will experience induction currents, everything else not so much. […] The “frequency” of a solar flare magnetic field change is probably less than 1 Hz, …
    The important parameter is the rate of change of the magnetic field dB/dT which for an extreme event can reach 10-100 nT/sec [not really a ‘frequency’ as such]. This kind of change will induce an electric field up to 10 Volt/km. This is what has to be detected and dealt with.

  128. Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see any mention in the report of the strength of the electromagnetic fields that might be expected with such an event. A lot of equipment is currently being tested to withstand either 30 volts/meter or 100 volts/meter (see ISO 13776 and ISO 13309) external fields. Until we know the parameters of the potential problem it is difficult to develop a proper cost effective preventative.

  129. @J. Ferguson:

    Hi! Sounds like an interesting ride ;-)

    IC Gear is least sturdy. Tubes best. Discrete in the middle. I have a Sony SWR IC type that is my major ‘user’. An older discrete that is in ‘stores’… and a ‘valve’ (tube) radio kit I’ve not built yet in my deep storage. I expect that they all will be fine.

    @Les Francis:

    Yes, there ‘will be issues’. But folks have been dealing with ‘issues’ for generations. Yes, cities need a lot of power to be normal, so they won’t be normal for a while. Doesn’t mean they will become Zombie Land, though.

    I’ve been through a couple of ‘disasters’, including a 7ish quake that had power out for a few days. Life went on. It’s a mess for a week, you find ways to ‘make do’, and recovery builds out from a core (and in from the perimeter). During a Carrington Event, the perimeter build-in will be missing… so it will take longer to recover and it will come from build-outs from the core spots.

    I fully expect, for example, to power the surrounding couple of houses from my ‘kit’. No, not their AC, but some lights and such.

    During times of extreme disaster, folks are more at liberty to do things that work, but are not ‘approved’. So, for example, I’d expect anywhere down-wires from a hydro facility to be up pretty quick. Any blown links can be patched around (even if not with ideal electronic gear) and power can flow to a selected area. Then you start the build outward… (Frankly, IMHO, the biggest PITA will be all the ‘smart meters’ that will be dead. Each house will need an individual patch past the meter to function…) In large cities, most major buildings have a load of backup generation, so those will be the ‘core spots’ from which the build-back starts. It’s the residential areas that are least prepared.

    Oh, and FWIW, the notion that everyone goes crazy and uncivilized after a disaster is just more fantasy novel fodder. In the Quebec / N.E. power failure, folks did fine. In the Loma Prieta quake, it was more peaceful and with better cooperation than during normal times. Folks ‘pull together’ rather than blow up in revolt. My favorite memory was driving home post quake. Power was out everywhere and the normal ‘going home’ commute was gridlock – so what would this be? I was thinking 24 hours instead of my usual 1 hour as ‘possible’. Planned to walk in with my backpack emergency kit if the overpasses were down. So what did I find? At the first major intersection, a lady in a business suit was directing traffic. At the second, a guy in spandex (bike leaning against the dead light pole) was doing it. They looked like they always wanted to try directing traffic, and somebody needed to, so… In all, it took me about 2 1/2 hours to get home.

    We had a wine and cheese party with friends over (they were without power…) and watched satellite TV news reports (local TV was out). Nice time had by all.

    That’s what really happens. Folks “work it out” by working together. Civilized folks stay civilized because that is what they are.

    Yes, it would be a mess. But no, it will not be The End Of Civilization. Civilization existed before the electric grid, and continues to exist when it is down ( I’ve seen it. ) If it takes more than a couple of weeks to get minimal services back up, it will start getting a bit rough, but IMHO it would take at least a month for things to ‘go pear shaped’… and by then the ‘working cores’ will be building outward and fixes will be well along for many areas. Might we lose New York City or Washington D.C.? Well, we can only hope… ;-)

    Oh, and FWIW, pretty much every RV and boat ought to be intact and fine. A few million islands of power and comfort all over the place. Full utilities too. (My old 27 foot sailboat was my liveaboard for a couple of years. 40 gallons of Diesel on it would run the motor for a year of normal use. In a ‘disaster’ it would keep power on for weeks to months. Boat is too small to couple to a Carrington pulse. Many RVs are metal skinned, those that are not are too short to couple anyway. Even if the grid is down, the RV parks and Marinas will be having a party…

  130. Review:

    “To date the most severe power system disturbance resulting from a geomagnetic storm occurred on March 13, 1989, at a storm level of K-9. The geomagnetic storm on that date produced GICs that caused widespread electric power system problems, the most severe being a power-system-wide blackout on the Hydro-Quebec power system. The blackout of the Hydro-Quebec system (of Quebec, Canada) resulted from the saturation of transformers by GICs and the ensuing operation of protection equipment because of the injection of harmonics from the transformers. Restoration of 83 % (of 2 1,500 MW) of the Hydro-Quebec system generation took over nine hours .”

    http://web.ornl.gov/~webworks/cpr/v823/rpt/51089.pdf Page 16

    What happens is that transformers do not like DC, direct current. It magnetizes the core and stays magnetized. Alternating Current, which is what they are designed to handle, reverses the magnetism 50 or 60 times per second (depending on nation) and prevents permanent magnetization or “saturation”. As the core starts to become saturated the smooth sine-wave of alternating current starts to develop spikes, called harmonics, and these spikes are very bad for a variety of reasons. Circuit breakers automatically opened to prevent these harmonics (spikes) from damaging the grid and customer equipment and that shunted the load onto fewer and fewer generating stations until they all had no choice but to shut down the entire grid. Of course it was all automatic.

    Then you have a problem getting started again. Without a load, generators will overspeed and self destruct so they have mechanisms for automatic shutdown in that case. So most of the generating stations will shut down even though the cause of the problem has long since passed.

    Generating stations require power to operate the generator itself so there’s a “catch-22″ or bootstrap problem called “black start” where you borrow power from a neighbor to get started. But with the grid open you cannot do that. A few stations have a small battery-started generator and once those stations are online you re-attach the grid through an inter-tie to your neighbors to get them started.

    ————–

    If you have your own kilometer of wire you’d get ten volts out of it, not very threatening, and with typical household wire lengths you’d have to make careful measurements to get *anything* even during a powerful geomagnetic storm.

  131. E.M.Smith says “Oh, and FWIW, the notion that everyone goes crazy and uncivilized after a disaster is just more fantasy novel fodder. In the Quebec / N.E. power failure, folks did fine. In the Loma Prieta quake, it was more peaceful and with better cooperation than during normal times. Folks ‘pull together’ rather than blow up in revolt.”

    It depends on where you are and the underlying culture of civilization (or not). Haiti was indeed zombiland after their earthquake, but Japan remained civilized after their big quake. I’ll admit to some surprise at the civilized response in California after the Loma Prieta quake (buddy of mine, ham radio operator, was an emergency responder in that one).

    A few miles can make a big difference, too. In the early 1990’s when I lived in Maryland and worked in Washington DC, 500 murders took place inside the beltway — but in Virginia in the same geographic area about a dozen (and in all of North Dakota, four!).

    Latitude makes attitude.

  132. Oh, and I probably ought to put these links up for anyone looking to ‘prepare’. There is more to preparation than food…

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/minimalist-emergency-power/

    About $50 worth of ‘kit’ ( $30 if you shop well ) can get you ‘enough’ power. This is my ‘travel kit’. It goes in the car with me at all times. Enough to keep the laptop, cell phone, et. al. charged and keep a light on (included) along with the laptop running. No, not enough to cook dinner. For that, you use fuel in a stove. I usually travel with a minimal camping kitchen (backpack stove / pots) too. Unfortunately, due to a tendency to Aspe Like obsession with a topic… I own about a dozen different camp stoves. In a Real Disaster ™ I’ll be handing them out to the dozen families most in need near me… FWIW, the gas in my car, used to recharge the battery, ought to keep this minimal power kit running for about a week, minimum. More if I’m at all careful.

    For household cooking, I’m fond of this stove. Pretty much bullet proof (i.e. no fancy parts), and since the government has been screwing around with the chemistry of gasoline and Diesel, they don’t store as well as in the past (though Diesel is still much better than gasoline); while Kerosene is still the long duration storage champ. (It is also used in jet turbines, so will be widely available wherever emergency flights / military show up…)

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/butterfly-2487-16-wick-stove/

    That and a five gallon can of kerosene will have you set for a LOT of cooking. (While it is possible to just soak rice and beans in water and eat them without cooking, it’s a lot tastier to cook them… and kidney beans MUST be cooked as they have a mild toxin otherwise.)

    The brickwork it is sitting on is my ersatz DIY stove made from what is likely to be left laying around after the earthquake or hurricane. The “pile of bricks” stove. So ‘after the fall’, you can make a stove out of junk Very Easily.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/pob-grill-layout/

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/g70-brick-stove-first-fire/

    Since there is a lot of burnable trash in the world, getting fuel in a disaster isn’t much of a problem. Maybe in the second month, but not for a while.

    For folks who just want to throw money at an interesting bit of technical kit, this is a small camping stove that runs on a few bits of small sticks / twigs and also charges your cell phone:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/usb-wood-fired-stove-iphone/

    So you can see, it’s not hard to find ways to cook food and sterilize water in a disaster. All it takes is a few bricks and sticks. It also isn’t hard to store food for a month. (One ‘dry pound’ per person per day. So a 20 lb bag of rice and 20 lbs of beans is 40 person days and costs about $30. Put it in sealed glass jars and it keeps for years. (Yes, I’ve tested it… came through that 7ish quake just fine, and it is bug and water proof.)

    So all up, for about $100, you can be prepared with water, stove, food, and power. For $300 or so you can go high tech ;-) I was prepared for a 2 month outage figuring the quake was ‘due’. I used my ‘kit’ for all of 3 days since recovery was faster than I expected.

    In a Real Disaster ™, I plan to set up Smith’s Kitchen and care for those less prepared. So will a lot of other folks…

  133. Leif Svalgaard says: “The important parameter is the rate of change of the magnetic field dB/dT which for an extreme event can reach 10-100 nT/sec”

    That is correct but as many here think it is a sharp pulse, like your engine’s ignition coil operating a spark plug or the flyback transformer back in the days of cathode ray tube televisions, describing it as “slow” helps understand its real impact on transformers: core saturation rather than high voltage differential causing sparks from your fingertips and that sort of thing.

    Anyway, 100 nanoteslas per second is minuscule, important only on wires measured in miles or kilometers.

    To put things in perspective, a Tesla is more magnetism than most people will ever experience. “The strongest fields encountered from permanent magnets are from Halbach spheres which can be over 4.5 T”

    “1 Tesla = 10,000 G (gauss)” That’s an incredibly powerful magnet.

    “31.869 micro Tesla – strength of Earth’s magnetic field at 0° latitude, 0° longitude”

    You are speaking of NANO Tesla, where Earth’s field is 31,869 nano-teslas. it is doubtful you’d see 100 nanotesla move a magnetic compass needle.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_%28unit%29

  134. Ah so, I see why Wikipedia includes the power-of-ten thing. Different readers around the world will see the comma as a decimal point. 32 micro-tesla (3.2 x 10^-5 Tesla) for Earth’s magnetic field strength at N/S 0 E/W 0.

  135. Michael 2 says:
    August 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm
    You are speaking of NANO Tesla, where Earth’s field is 31,869 nano-teslas. it is doubtful you’d see 100 nanotesla move a magnetic compass needle.
    100 nT is considered a good-sized magnetic storm and will move the compass needle a good amount [depending on where on the Earth you are].
    But the issue is dB/dt, and there 100 nT/sec is serious.

  136. Here’s a prediction: If there ever is a nation-wide blackout that lasts for more than a few days, martial law will follow along with the constitution being suspended.

    Wonder if there are ways to see if a sun burst induced blackout was really caused by the sun or an EMP bomb being detonated high in the atmosphere?

  137. kramer says:
    August 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm
    Wonder if there are ways to see if a sun burst induced blackout was really caused by the sun or an EMP bomb being detonated high in the atmosphere?
    Looking at the Sun would help settling that :-)

  138. vukcevic says:
    August 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm
    geomagnetic storm on the eve of Japan’s (Fukushima) Mega Quake, for Bz and Bh registered about 600-700nT p/p
    Tromsoe is not representative for geomagnetic storms as the station registers substorms that can reach several thousand nT, and any ‘correlation’ is just coincidence. It has been shown many times that geomagnetic activity is not correlated with earthquakes, e.g. http://www.leif.org/research/Earthquake-Activity-Trigger.png

    • I’ve been reading Leif Svalgaard’s paper on revisiting sunspot numbers particularly with regard to solar flux impact on ordinary magnetic compasses.

      Is there a time-lapse video of a compass responding to this flux?

      As a ham radio operator I am operationally familiar with the various ionosphere layers.

      I had no idea that a compass will respond to changes in magnetism caused by the sun. I suspect it doesn’t change very much and it clearly depends on where you are. I wish I had known this when I lived in Iceland directly under the aurora borealis — a million amperes of current overhead suggests stronger magnetic influences on the ground.

      http://www.leif.org/research/Revisiting-the-Sunspot-Number.pdf

      “Wolf considered another way to estimate the strength of past solar cycles: magnetic needle
      readings. Far ultraviolet (FUV) radiation from the Sun, enhanced by solar activity, creates and maintains the E-layer of the ionosphere, where dynamo action from moving air causes an electric current to flow above the dayside of the Earth at about 100 km altitude (Cf. Svalgaard 2014b, this volume). The magnetic effect of this current is readily measured by magnetometers on the ground and is best seen in the East Component of the geomagnetic field [cites pruned]. The current stays fixed with respect to the direction to the Sun and its magnetic effect, deflecting the “magnetic needle” at a right angle to the current, increases to a maximum at about 8h local time, then disappears when the current is overhead, and finally increases again, but in the opposite direction, to a maximum at about 2h. The range, rY, from the morning deflection to the afternoon deflection, depends essentially on the solar zenith angle and the FUV flux.”

  139. Goddard Space Flight Center:
    “There is strong evidence of electromagnetic processes responsible for earthquake triggering, that we study extensively. We will focus here on one correlation between power in solar wind compressional fluctuations and power in magnetospheric pulsations and ground H component fluctuations. The variation of the horizontal component H of the geomagnetic field is the crucial parameter in the Magneto-Seismic Effect MSE to be discussed in a companion paper. The connection of earthquake activity to possible solar or solar wind drivers is not well understood; many authors have attempted correlations in the past with mixed results. ”
    Geophysical Research Abstracts,Vol.8,01705, 2006;Lab for Solar and Space Physics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,Greenbelt, MD

    http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU06/01705/EGU06-J-01705.pdf

    • Thank you, vukcevic – As I ‘lurk about’ here oft times, I’m continually impressed by the degree you seem to be able to view with equanimity all caliber of responses to your enlightening and informative comments. Kudos.
      From my link/Youtube above, a passage from the ‘press release’ regarding the soon to be submitted for publication paper on correlation between solar polar fields and major seismic events on Earth: –
      “…In this retrospective analysis, the null hypothesis was that there was no relationship between the solar polar fields and M8+ earthquakes. Under this hypothesis, the fraction of days identified as residing in windows with increased likelihood of seismicity, as a percentage of the total days over the 35 years, would include a similar percentage of the large earthquakes over that same period. The analysis showed 41.6% of the days residing in these windows captured just under 78.8% of the M8+ earthquakes. “We cannot formally invalidate the null hypothesis, but the performance of the developed model is extremely encouraging. We believe it is likely to be validated by future data.”
      I’m no statistician, of course, not remotely – barely passed the requisites in college and would certainly fail today – but aren’t there one of those ‘popular analogies’ available to illustrate how far beyond ‘chance’ are these numbers? Like how many coin tosses at a given rate, or some such? Anyone?
      The “days residing in these windows” are very narrow, btw, out of the time span covered (35 yrs),
      “based on things like peaks and troughs in solar cycles or the absolute strength of one of the poles at a particular time”. Fully covered/described in background videos on the S0 sites.
      Ben Davidson, whom I’ve had privilege to meet, is a very open guy – you might have some stuff to share with each other, vukcevic – perhaps on his nightly FOTW audio discussions – which he maintains from the Mobile Observatory as he’s touring the country meeting his ‘fans’ (188,000 subscribed, and counting)
      Also excellent Sun Watching instructional videos posted – to guide folks to do their own observations through the established channels, and understand what they’re looking at…conceivably one might get ‘early warning’, if not 100% confirmation, of something troubling on its’ way, be it CME or Coronal Hole Stream, from whatever event on Our Sun.
      I find it very refreshing that some folks who make this their full-time occupation, are still able to take the time to explain the Basics to the laypeople, and arm them, should they be so motivated, to further research, observe, and make their own decisions as to what is really going on….
      Best,
      David S

  140. vukcevic says:
    August 3, 2014 at 2:56 pm
    The connection of earthquake activity to possible solar or solar wind drivers is not well understood; many authors have attempted correlations in the past with mixed results. ”
    As I said, pure coincidence, with attendant set of believers

  141. vukcevic says:
    August 3, 2014 at 2:56 pm
    The connection of earthquake activity to possible solar or solar wind drivers is not well understood; many authors have attempted correlations in the past with mixed results. ”
    Careful analysis of more than 2000 storms over more than a century shows no correlation at all. But for the gullible, anything is possible.

  142. Leif Svalgaard says:

    August 3, 2014 at 3:37 pm
    —————————————-
    Boy I am having a hard time understanding this new “solar Polar”? field theory on earthquake triggers.
    whew.
    Do these guys know that the solar polar field has been diddly squat since about the year 2000 and possibly still weakening?

    It is ok. no need to respond.

    good night

    • Hi Carla – Actually, yes – they are very aware of the ‘weakening’ sun, and also of the accelerating decrease in the strength of the earth’s magnetosphere, as well as the acceleration of movement of the earth’s pole(s). As I understand it, btw, Ben Davidson is a great admirer of the work of Dr Svalgaard and has repeatedly referenced his (Leif’s) and other solar scientists’ recent conference speaking to the subject of this “weakening”. (Excuse me if I choose not to stumble over the exact and proper terminology). That there may be some divergence of opinion, I’ve also no doubt. YMMV.
      It certainly appears that simultaneously, there are great “weather” changes occurring on many of the planets in our solar system, perhaps “coincidentally” enough.
      I’ve no idea what it all means, (though have my ‘suspicions’), and take a little comfort in a fair certainty that neither does anyone else, really. I don’t dismiss anything ‘out of hand’, and believe in the end it will be “all about evidence”.

      But as to the “interstellar medium” – – wasn’t there recently a lot of consternation among the cognescenti, with mucho handwringing as to the need for “a new theory”, when Voyager hit the ‘Heliopause’ and what was supposed to be there…well…it was found to be Very Different?

      No worries, it’s late here, and I’m sure “the science is settled” on all these matters, just as it is that comets are just ‘dirty snowballs’ as surely we’ll see in a few days when Rosetta, with a Langmuir probe on board, joins company with 67/P, which is busy sublimating water at 1/2 litre/sec, just like the billion-year-old ice moons of Jupiter!
      Oh…right…never mind.

  143. Carla says:
    August 3, 2014 at 6:54 pm
    Boy I am having a hard time understanding this new “solar Polar”? field theory on earthquake triggers.
    Don’t worry, it is nonsensical pseudy-science anyway. As bad as the interstellar magnetic field controlling solar activity and rheumatic fever.

  144. Unmentionable

    Talk to PAGASA meteorologists. I’ve done that. Yup 19 to 20 storms every year. I cannot do anything about your disbelief. Philippines has 7,100 islands. Many are inhabited. If a storm hits one of those islands. That’s a landfall.

  145. I was most amused by dp”s post, most enlightened by michael 2 and vukcevik?
    At first I thought the 600-700 nT p-p response mentioned in connection with Fukishima might have been related to the motion of the earth itself. {One of the labs I experienced as an undergraduate was of the voltage produced by quickly rotating a large coil (in the earth’s magnetic field). Later, at Stanford U. I became aware of Dr. Tony Fraser-Smith’s work trying to correlate earthquakes with VLF and magnetometer measurements in the hopes of being able to predict earthquakes. I’m not sure how these turned out. I do remember that he complained about BART’s effect on his measurements. For those of you not near SF, BART is Bay Area Rapid Transit, a rail system operating on DC.

  146. BTW even without landfall if a storm passes near an island, it will experience strong winds, torrential rains and storm surge. All of that are devastating.

  147. I’m a bit skeptical of the catastrophic 2015 Carrington event scenario. Let me paint an alternative scenario. The worst solar storm in the “electric age” is the Quebec event. (The Carrington event happened before Edison and Tesla invented electric generation and distribution)

    The Quebec event caused power outage to 6 million people in Canada and US. That’s 1.8% of the population. 98 out of 100 people in the two countries had electric power. Electric power was restored in 9 hours.

    Suppose the 2015 Carrington event will be twice worse than the Quebec event. We expect twice more transformers will be damaged. (I suspect it’s just the circuit breakers not the transformers) It will take twice more time to fix the damage. 4 out of 100 people will be out of power for 18 hours. They will miss their favorite TV show.

  148. Almost everyone posting on this is in total denial.

    A few million people dead? A few days, weeks, months, of disruption? It will take a while to get back to normal? Oh, and government will have enough time to prepare? How many decades have they had? Now they’re going to spring into action and magically fend off the threat on half a day’s warning?

    We’re talking about an event that would likely destroy a totally overextended civilization through a social breakdown unprecedented in the historical or archeological record. Within less than a week, millions could starve or freeze to death in our major urban areas, followed soon after by mass murder, cannibalism, and the loss of all social order.

    And those who manage to survive without losing their sanity can then look forward to dealing with rampant pollution and disease without the high-tech tools and information network we’ve become dependent on. I don’t think they’ll last very long.

    Religious demagogues would likely finish the job of destroying whatever technology is still available, together with those who might be skilled in its use, following the example of the Khmer Rouge. This would not be a return to 19th or 18th century lifestyle, but to a solitary nightmare world filled with undetectable toxins in the water, air, and soil, the threat of violent death around every corner, and probably a resurgence of human sacrifice to “appease the gods” and fill the stomach.

    • otropogo pontificated, saying “Almost everyone posting on this is in total denial.”

      If everyone seems to be going the wrong way, perhaps you are in the wrong lane ;-)

      “We’re talking about an event that would likely destroy a totally overextended civilization through a social breakdown unprecedented in the historical or archeological record.”

      That would be an asteroid collision with earth except that it *is* precedented, or global warming, or ebola, or world war 3, or any of several other disaster scenarios — oh yes, don’t forget neutrinos liquifying the mantle and moving China a few thousand miles in a couple of hours (from the movie “2012”) so that a huge Antonov aircraft can land on it when it runs out of fuel. Talk about a “deus ex machina” plot twist of global proportions. Oh, just remembered whats-his-name in “Knowing”. Solar CME wiping out Earth and children saved by whirling things.

      Exactly how are YOU prepared for Earth destroying disasters?

      “Religious demagogues would likely finish the job of destroying whatever technology is still available”

      On the contrary. Religious demagogues such as myself will likely be the ones to reinstitute technology probably starting with vacuum tubes since it doesn’t require silicon fabrication facilities. My personal favorite is the 12AX7 twin triode – extremely versatile! If by that description you mean “Mormons” they will not only re-institute technology but government itself, believing the Constitution of the United States was divinely appointed in the first place and believing they will be the torchbearers of reconstitution after whatever disaster is appointed to remove most of humanity. You are right about one thing — what actually removes most of humanity will be other humanity.

      “probably a resurgence of human sacrifice to “appease the gods” and fill the stomach.”

      Combine Mad Max with The Postman with Book of Eli. Yep, got the picture and its sequels.

  149. Victor Frank says:
    August 3, 2014 at 7:25 pm
    Later, at Stanford U. I became aware of Dr. Tony Fraser-Smith’s work trying to correlate earthquakes with VLF and magnetometer measurements in the hopes of being able to predict earthquakes. I’m not sure how these turned out.
    They didn’t give the result Fraser-Smith was hoping for and are generally considered a failure:

    http://www.leif.org/EOS/Fraser-Smith-Earthquake.pdf

  150. @E.M.Smith

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/08/01/a-bigger-worry-than-global-warming-and-more-damaging-a-carrington-class-solar-event/#comment-1700634

    =========================================================================
    Your experience with a civilized response to a week’s disruption from a (relatively) local event in a warm locale was well before we had 50%+ living off the gum’mint teat. If there is an event that affects the entire USA for more than a week or so in the winter months, things could get… difficult.

  151. Michael 2 says:
    ……
    Ordinary compass might have a difficulty of registering anything. If you are above 50N latitude you can make your own magnetometer. Super-glue vertically a tiny mirror as close as possible to the spindle, shine a laser LED onto it, enclose it in a small box with a slit on the side. Position it on your desk so light from the mirror is reflected on a nearby wall (the further the better. Since the signal is strongest during the night turn of the light for the best view. Keep an eye on this webpage http://flux.phys.uit.no/cgi-bin/plotgeodata.cgi?Last24&site=tro2a& and
    you might pick up the declination signal. (red line)

  152. Michael 2 says:
    August 4, 2014 at 10:16 am
    Well, maybe not visible on a compass. I have a large marine compass that might be able to see a 70 nanoTesla magnetic variation but I have a doubt that such small force could overcome needle bearing friction
    It depends on where you are. Up near the magnetic pole [e.g. in Thule Greenland] the compass needle can swing many degrees and the compass is essentially useless. At lower latitudes the swings are less, but still visible, see e.g. the image on slide 2 of http://www.leif.org/research/HMF-1835-2014-Sapporo.pdf which shows a large magnetic used in Helsinki [Finland] to show the variations. The observer looked at the end of the magnet with a small telescope. The effect was discovered by George Graham in London in 1722. Here is his report http://www.leif.org/EOS/Graham-Variation-1722.pdf

  153. Period between 22nd February and 11th March of 2011 was notable for serious of strong geomagnetic storms and coincidently a number of strong earthquakes, in particular two that attracted most of the media coverage, the New Zeland’s and the Japan’s mega quake.
    Here are some of the magntograms and eq’s timings .

    • As suggested above, vukcevic – you might find a receptive audience over at the S0’s – and some ‘synergy’ for your research and ideas – much of which is “Greek” to me (I CAN say hello, and order certain prepared dishes, though ;-)).
      Rather than “geomagnetic storms”, the folks over at the SCS at Ohio State, are looking (and have built an algorithm) at the Solar Polar Fields – peaks, troughs, cross-overs…and with these, the correlation with geo-seismic events, is looking…somewhat…robust.

      Here’s some ‘new terminology’ that’s been coined to deal with the data: –

      Polar Maximum – the years of most extreme polarity on the sun, correlating to what is commonly referred to as ‘solar minimum’ for the low number of sunspots. We see an indirect relationship between sunspots and polarity.
      Polar Minimum – the years of polarity reversal on the sun, correlating to what is commonly referred to as ‘solar maximum for the high number of sunspots.
      Polar Recovery – the first 3 mini cycles of each solar pole, or ~18 months following Polar Minimum, where the build-back to Polar Maximum is weakest and in the beginning process of ‘getting going’ for that cycle.
      –Minicycles are the up and downs that happen about once a year during the solar cycle. You could consider them to be from peak to peak or trough to trough – it really does not matter.
      And here’s the raw, largely ‘unprocessed’ data page over at the Wilcox: –

      http://wso.stanford.edu/Polar.html

      I can’t help but surmise that all the ‘heated exchanges’ are akin to that (lengthy) aphorism about the blind men and the elephant. Or as in science history, the existence, or lack thereof, of Phlogiston.
      Me…I figure that when the whole Heliospheric story finally begins to emerge, the wonder of it all will surpass even our wildest imaginings…
      Here’s a link to the “Press Release” (from Saturday): – http://www.suspicious0bservers.org/sun-trigger-large-earthquakes/
      There’s a neat chart of the pattern they’ve discovered in the Solar Polar data over at the “Quakes” page at the S0’s, but it’s behind a paywall ($20/year – worth it just for the nightly audio conferences!) You could also find it shown in Ben Davidson’s talk at the (it-that-shall-not-be-named) Conference from this year…
      DON’T miss Dr. Kongpop U-Yen’s info on the Blog! (if you go at all) – there’s something WAY bigger a-foot than “Earthquakes”….still VERY early though – Ben D is doing his best to apply the concepts to daily global weather data. Not paywalled – check it out!

      Best,
      David Sharkey (Tiburon) in the GreatWhiteNorth – (and no, NO affiliation, beyond being a minion among the very very many!… ;-))

  154. vukcevic says:
    August 4, 2014 at 11:54 am
    Period between 22nd February and 11th March of 2011 was notable for serious of strong geomagnetic storms and coincidently a number of strong earthquakes
    This is pseudo-science. There is no causal relationship between strong geomagnetic storms and strong earthquakes. Careful analysis of over 2000 storms the last 100 years shows no response whatsoever.

  155. vukcevic says:
    August 4, 2014 at 11:54 am
    Period between 22nd February and 11th March of 2011 was notable for serious of strong geomagnetic storms and coincidently a number of strong earthquakes
    Furthermore, you have no idea what you are talking about. What you call ‘strong geomagnetic storms’ at Tromsoe are not storms at all, but simply the regular signature of the auroral oval sweeping over Tromsoe every night http://www.leif.org/research/Tromsoe-2011-03.png

  156. kramer says:
    August 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Wonder if there are ways to see if a sun burst induced blackout was really caused by the sun or an EMP bomb being detonated high in the atmosphere?

    Yes it would be very easy for the folks with access to the technology to tell the difference. The solar storm/CME would be well known in the sun watching community before it arrived at earth. It would also probably get mentioned on the nightly news the day before just like current solar storms and high visibility northern lights are news items now.

    Likewise a high altitude nuclear detonation would be immediately recognizable to governments and military and be detected by multiple systems. A high altitude burst has a characteristic very short pulse in the visible spectrum simultaneous with an xray/gama ray pulse (source of the E1 EMP pulse) followed by a nearly instantaneous very fast rise time pulse extending to the visible horizon of the event. There would also be a long duration localize aurora near the burst point after the event which would be easily visible 600-1000 miles distant depending on altitude and yield.

    The wave form of the surges generated on power lines would be much different between the two events, with the fast rise time EMP E1 pulse from a high altitude burst coupling to high frequency systems and getting by protective systems which would block low frequency surges induced by a solar storm. Damage from the solar event would be confined to long power lines and the custom one off power transformers which are designed to operate on the edge of magnetic saturation to get maximum efficiency. These solar induced surges would be much like the E3 effects of a HEMP alone without the E1 and E2 impacts.

    Third the only practical way to get a nuclear weapon to high altitude 60 – 400 miles, being a rocket or de-orbit from an orbital payload, would make this attack generally easy to spot by the military and astronomical community, being seen by other systems that monitor using infrared and electronic systems (warning radar systems, test ban treaty monitoring and missile launch detection systems).

    The average person on the street won’t have ready access to this info, but the national authority folks will easily be able to tell the difference.

    The mechanism of action, location distribution and the nature of the systems impacted will also paint a picture that would strongly imply which cause was at fault.

    A competently executed EMP attack in my view is a significantly more serious issue for a single country, where a solar storm could have large scale global impacts over large areas.

  157. vukcevic says:
    August 4, 2014 at 1:41 pm
    No, solar impact, no geomagnetic disturbances, I presume no aurorae, all quiet on the Tromso’s front
    You can always find three hours of calm somewhere [and no visible aurora during the day – it must be dark to see one, and you don’t show the 8 magnitude 5 earthquakes that took place just after the calm]. Your attempt to mislead the readers falls flat. Perhaps over at Tallbloke’s you will find a more gullible audience. Here is the data for July 2014 http://flux.phys.uit.no/cgi-bin/plotgeodata.cgi?Comps=dhz&tint=1mnt&block=2&day=1&mnt=07&year=2014&site=tro2a
    Note the passage under the auroral oval every day near midnight
    Tromsoe is particular unsuited for monitoring geomagnetic storms.

    • So….it is then, as I understood? Spikes in particle flow from the SUN, (can) cause, through a cascade of electromagnetic events, Aurorae. Hmmm. So then….
      OH NEVER MIND.

  158. vukcevic says:
    August 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm
    But let us take a look at NASA’s (Goddard Space Flight Center) animation, the cause of the magnetospheric sub-storms and how aurorae are formed
    I basically told them long ago how that works…

  159. ” Michael 2 says:
    August 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

    otropogo pontificated, saying “Almost everyone posting on this is in total denial.”

    ….

    Exactly how are YOU prepared for Earth destroying disasters? ”

    Nowhere in my post did I refer to any ‘…Earth destroying disasters…’.

    I lamented the lack of appropriate concern over our society’s lack of defense against an event with a high degree of probability that would likely drive humanity into a hellish existence that would make the life of the Neanderthals seem a walk in the park by comparison, and could very well end in extinguishing our species, perhaps mercifully.

    As for what I’m doing about it – well, I’m trying to waken those who are not yet neurotic beyond all recovery to the threat, since, as even a somewhat intellectually challenged ‘skeptic’ will surely understand, the steps required to protect our civilization from this particular threat are far beyond the means of any single individual, no matter how rich or powerful.

    But I do believe that our society has the means, given enough time to prepare, to protect itself against the worst effects of a solar EMP disaster.The question is whether it has the will.

    Hopefully there are still some developed nations that have enough courage and grit to face this threat realistically. But I see no sign of that here in North America.

  160. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 4, 2014 at 3:57 pm
    I basically told them long ago how that works

    Yes, but I am a very slow learners.
    Some time ago I quoted:
    “CMEs in the even-numbered solar cycles tend to hit Earth with a leading edge that is magnetized north. Such CMEs open a breach and load the magnetosphere with plasma starting a geomagnetic storm “
    In this video from NASA’s (Goddard Space Flight Center)

    at 6.52 min in, there is a very clear reference to it.
    This would mean that within the Earth’s geomagnetic environment there is a difference in the solar input between the even and the odd cycles. In some of my ‘research’ I found very clear evidence of this.

  161. vukcevic says:
    August 5, 2014 at 12:55 am
    “CMEs in the even-numbered solar cycles tend to hit Earth with a leading edge that is magnetized north. Such CMEs open a breach and load the magnetosphere with plasma starting a geomagnetic storm “
    They may say so, but it is not correct. There is a 22-yr cycle in geomagnetic activity, but it is not tied to even-odd cycles. The real effect goes from maximum to maximum as explained in section 9 of http://www.leif.org/research/suipr699.pdf [and in section 5 of http://www.leif.org/research/Semiannual-Comment.pdf ].
    Activity is higher for the eleven years from maximum [actually polar field reversal] of even cycles to the next maximum [polar field reversal] of the following odd cycle, and lower for the eleven years from maximum of odd cycles to the next maximum of the following even cycle.

  162. Dr.Svalgaard
    I am genuinely interested in this particular aspect. I have looked at your links, what is suggested there makes perfect sense.
    However, if you listen carefully you will hear that the authors are very surprised by what came out from the satellite observation data and it is clearly stated that finding contradicts previous understanding (presumably including your paper from 1977).
    There is no need to quote Richard Feynman.
    This is not just simple theoretical debate, but it is of vital importance for space technology, satellite communications not to mention many billions of $US invested in it.
    I hope that you would (before rejecting it outright) in your Stanford capacity appeal to NASA for more information. Your university surely has the capacity to process their data files, do a thorough examination, find out if it contradicts basic laws of physics, rather than just previous theoretical understanding of how a particular event may or may not develop.
    I’ve listened to the second half (from 2’20’’ in ) 3 times (some sections more than 4 times) sentence at the time, and would be surprised if they would commit a huge blunder, unless they were certain about the interpretation. It also has gone into print on the NASA and the Science webpages. I have not come across another refutation of their findings.

  163. vukcevic says:
    August 5, 2014 at 10:10 am
    I am genuinely interested in this particular aspect. I have looked at your links, what is suggested there makes perfect sense.
    However, if you listen carefully you will hear that the authors are very surprised by what came out from the satellite observation data and it is clearly stated that finding contradicts previous understanding (presumably including your paper from 1977).

    The data since 1977 still shows the same effect, see e.g. Figure 17 of http://www.leif.org/research/2007JA012437.pdf
    Furthermore, the effect has a physical reason and it MUST be as observed. This has nothing to do with ‘satellite’ data, so either you or they have misunderstood something. It would not be the first time that NASA screws up.

  164. vukcevic says:
    August 5, 2014 at 10:10 am
    they would commit a huge blunder, unless they were certain about the interpretation.
    There are many things wrong with the video:
    1) the is no ‘giant breach’. The magnetosphere is always open to the solar wind. When the solar wind magnetic field is southwards, reconnection is enhanced and more energy is fed into the magneto tail where it can be released later.
    2) the particles in the tail come actually mostly from the Earth, not from the solar wind [the video actually admits that]. The notion that ‘the solar wind pours in’ is nonsense.
    3) nothing is overturned. We can calculate very precisely how much geomagnetic activity we get for a given solar wind, see Figure 6 of http://www.leif.org/research/IAGA2008LS-final.pdf from our understanding of the physics.
    4) the video is NASA nonsense of the worst kind.

  165. An example of how ridiculous the NASA releases are:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2149806/posts

    “The opening was huge—four times wider than Earth itself,” says Wenhui Li, a space physicist at the University of New Hampshire who has been analyzing the data. Li’s colleague Jimmy Raeder, also of New Hampshire, says “10^27 particles per second were flowing into the magnetosphere—that’s a 1 followed by 27 zeros.”
    Since each particle [proton] has a mass of 1.7*10^(-27) kg [that is 26 zeroes after the decimal point], the influx amounts to a stupendous grand total of 1.7 kg per second, or, as I have often said, about the size of a very small turkey.

  166. Expanding on the ‘turkey index’
    Say this ‘imaginary’ breach last 2 h, i.e. 7,200sec x1.7kg makes about 12 metric tones, at a velocity of 3-400km/sec; i.e. size of a very large meteorite at Mach 1000, some turkey!
    Energy e=mv^2/2 = a million billions (10^15) Joules = perhaps one M6 earthquake (oooh no, no …. that isn’t allowed)
    It is all in the eye of a beholder !

    • OMG! Vukcevic! You’ve surpassed all bounds, how very droll! “Some Turkey!, Some Neck!” to paraphrase (badly of course) Winston Churchill. ROTFLMAO!
      :-) DS Ottawa

  167. vukcevic says:
    August 6, 2014 at 10:13 am
    Say this ‘imaginary’ breach last 2 h, i.e. 7,200sec x1.7kg makes about 12 metric tones, at a velocity of 3-400km/sec; i.e. size of a very large meteorite at Mach 1000, some turkey!
    200 tons of meteoric dust hits the earth every day. Neither they nor you have any sense of proportion. And only a small fraction [2%] of that turkey reaches the Earth, the rest is swept down the magnetotail.

  168. Aaah…, Nordic lack of positivism (Ibsen, Sibelius and all that).
    Meteoric dust is slowed down and burned in the atmosphere, energy converted into heat is by some climate scientists mistakenly attribute to the CO2 re-radiation.
    Correct on the proton showers, they exert pressure on ionosphere, which propagates down all the way to the arctic region, and woooomph!
    The Arctic atmospheric pressure and tectonics react synchronously.
    As I said: it is all in the eye of beholder, or put it another way
    Science works on the border between knowledge and ignorance.
    smuggling contraband across that border is a lot of fun.

  169. vukcevic says:
    August 6, 2014 at 11:36 am
    Correct on the proton showers, they exert pressure on ionosphere, which propagates down all the way to the arctic region, and woooomph! The Arctic atmospheric pressure and tectonics react synchronously.
    Nonsense.
    smuggling contraband across that border is a lot of fun
    It may have entertainment value, but no scientific value.

  170. My question would be, if we’re talking about ‘magnetotails’ – Do ALL planets have them? And with all this “magnetic reconnection” going on, and I’d assume some measurable level of “charge” (electrical) on the particles flowing around everywhere, might there be some concurrent, albeit still not formally measured and quantified, ‘effect’, on measured events here on Our Fair Planet and our formerly godlike neighbours?

    Way that I see it, and it’s certainly ‘polar opposite’ of a scientific approach, is that we’re all swimming around in a sea of electrical charge (and the attendant magnetisms without presence of which of the former, the latter wouldn’t exist), from the bumblebee hovering over a flower up to the (now recently, hmmm? ‘disappeared’) Red Spot on Jupiter, and including our casual ‘hate-thy-noisy-neighbour thoughts up to the sublime meditations of Yogic Masters in Tibet….
    …and that if a Bell Rings somewhere in Saturn’s Rings, we’ll be hearing it here, had we but ears to do so.
    So there! :-D

  171. Tiburon says:
    August 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm
    My question would be, if we’re talking about ‘magnetotails’ – Do ALL planets have them?
    Basically yes, and comets too.

    we’re all swimming around in a sea of electrical charge
    We are not. The solar wind is electrically neutral, there are as many positive charged particles as there are negative charged particles. Once the moving solar wind which is a conductor] meets a [practically] stationary magnetic field like the the Earth’s, an electric field is induced near the Earth and electric currents flow.

  172. Tiburon says:
    August 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm
    OMG! Vukcevic! You’ve surpassed all bounds
    All bounds of reason. Vuk is totally off the rail here [and so many other times], but as you point out [‘ROTFLMAO’] he can be entertaining as long as it is recognized that there is not a single grain of science in his missives.

  173. “All bounds…of reason!” LOL! Well I’m totally there on the ‘entertaining’ part in terms of Vukcevic’s positions, Leif, as I would be, if queried, for the consistent rigour you demand of your interlocutors –

    But I’m not so easily persuaded his positions are without merit. I’ve learned of late, that the Big G – the Gravitational Constant, isn’t all quite so, in all situations, and spent time trying to puzzle out Dr. Pierre-Marie Robittaille’s reported observations and commentary, and his pretty comprehensive invalidation of Kirchhoff’s Law of Thermal Emission – and given he’s pretty well the “Father” of the MRI I gotta sort of listen up, {as I try to do when YOU give complete explanations of your understandings} – so, of late, I’m being a little more careful about ‘assumptions’, be they in Basic and Established Physics, or anything else handed down from my Betters, from far Above my Station….
    More on point – I’m at a lost, conceptually, trying to reconcile, without resort to arcane mathematics of which I don’t have a snowball’s chance in parsing, the existence of ‘electrojets’ crossing 10’s of lightyears, with your insistence on the ‘neutrality’ of the interplanetary (and I’d therefore assume, interstellar) mediums.

    I’m also quite bemused (puzzled, encouraged) about your description of Comets as having ‘magnetotails’….I thought the ‘traditional understanding’ was that they were ‘dirty snowballs’, and that any such tails were simply ice sublimated to gaseous water, “heated by the Sun”….
    Doesn’t them having ANY magnetic aspects imply that they are of different ‘charge’ than the environment they enter as they approach Old Sol? And that such ‘outgassing’ is much (MUCH) more likely a process of electrical ‘machining’ as they (the comets) attempt charge equalization?

    I guess it’s obvious to you that for whatever bad juju I’ve been subjected to from your standpoint, ‘a little knowledge being a dangerous thing’, that 1) I enjoy the adrenalin rush of ‘intellectual danger’ and 2) I don’t quite accept that Space is “electrically neutral”, nor that magnetism can exist in absence of Current.
    Hate to be a bother, but there you have it. Maybe I’m just a wannabe ‘smuggler’, in Vukcevic’s sense… ;-)

  174. This is not all quite without ‘practical purpose’, at least from my standpoint – arriving at the Truth of our situation in the Cosmos. Remember the old Space Elevator Concept? That given sufficient progress with graphite molecular bonding and the like, that a cable could be anchored somewhere on the equator, and we could simply lift payload into orbit rather than boosting it out of the ‘gravity well’? That had me all quite excited, until I learned about Red Sprites and Blue Jets in the upper reaches, and someone pointed out that such a thing might be quite akin to dropping a copper cable across a high tension transmission line. Not…wise.

  175. Tiburon says:
    August 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm
    But I’m not so easily persuaded his positions are without merit.
    Vuk has posted here for years. Not a single shred has had any merit whatsoever. He knows that.

    I’m also quite bemused (puzzled, encouraged) about your description of Comets as having ‘magnetotails’
    You can directly see the magnetotail [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet_tail ]. It consists of ions carried away by the magnetic field of the solar wind.

    I don’t quite accept that Space is “electrically neutral”
    In space there is no resistance to electric currents, so any collection of charges of one sign next to [or at some distance from] a collection of charges with the opposite sign will instantly short out.

    nor that magnetism can exist in absence of Current.
    In a perfect conductor [and Space is very nearly that – having no resistance] any change of a magnetic field will induce an electric current that will oppose said change, so the magnetic field cannot change. That is why the magnetic field in the solar wind [having originated within the Sun] is still there throughout the solar system.

    Maybe I’m just a wannabe ‘smuggler’, in Vukcevic’s sense…
    Ignorance is one thing. Willful ignorance is worse. Which is yours?

    • Well I’d certainly HOPE the Former, Leif! I’m not dogmatic – I grew out of that 40 years ago when I came out of Enviromental Studies having been indoctrinated to (and made LIFE CHOICES BASED UPON), the Club of Rome “Limits to Growth” politicized science propaganda, and slowly woke up to the GIGO nature of the postulates. Then, now nearly two decades ago, I was guided by literally hundreds of hours reading papers on John Daly’s (RIP) Still Waiting For the Greenhouse and Wiki and science dictionaries to a lay understanding of how much a crock was the CAGW farrago. Long before “hockey sticks” and Gore Effect (or his BS movie, for that matter).
      Caused a bit of ‘stress’ among my doctrinaire greenie intellectual friends, but what the hey. My instincts proved out well enough.
      You’ve given me some solid ‘food-for-thought’ in your last comment, and I thank you; – and in respect of your time I ought to ruminate a bit before seeking more clarification – so will – but on one of your points: –
      “In space there is no resistance to electric currents, so any collection of charges of one sign next to [or at some distance from] a collection of charges with the opposite sign will instantly short out” – doesn’t a Birkland Current carry a charge very different than the surrounding environment? Why doesn’t IT “short out”….
      And what about the concept of ‘double layers’, electrical, in the Corona, and their explanatory power to account for the jump from 5000 C on the solar surface to 2M C a few kilometers (AU-speaking) above?

      Leif – I don’t of course really understand what I’m looking at, but I DO watch the Sun, pretty well DAILY for 5 or 6 minutes, in various angstrom wavelengths, and DO examine sunspots for ‘magnetic mixing’ in pretty well real time, and DO check the BZ and Density and Speed readings of the solar ‘wind’ stream (ya, it’s not a ‘wind’), and the reaction of the various magnetic meters here on earth for response…again, daily, pretty well every day, and for a couple of years now!
      I watch the world earthquake sites as well, and global storm visualizations, pressure, precipitation, etc etc, and I try to gain an ‘organic’ or ‘instinctual’ feel for the relationship between these things. [I’ll therefore likely see a Big One before 99% of the planet, – … not that it’s a high priority for me, as I don’t even have water set aside let alone a ‘go-kit’ or food/fuel – but probably should if only to help others – heck, we went through the Ice Storm here in Eastern Canada, I should know better]

      This stuff is at the edge of my conceptual understandings – but I do maintain an interest in Science History, if not the machinations, and I believe I’ve read that near to the time that Hannes Alfen received his Nobel, and whom I believe you knew (?), “repented” of much of his earlier work with “magnetohydrodynamics” – and intimated that our fundamental understanding of the Sun needed full re-address. What’s a guy to ‘believe’, ignorance aside?

  176. Tiburon says:
    August 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm
    Well I’d certainly HOPE the Former
    Vuk subscribes to the latter. He [proudly?] says that he is a slow learner.

    “In space there is no resistance to electric currents, so any collection of charges of one sign next to [or at some distance from] a collection of charges with the opposite sign will instantly short out” – doesn’t a Birkland Current carry a charge very different than the surrounding environment? Why doesn’t IT “short out”….
    A Birkeland current is the shorting out of charges. It flows because the charges are replenished [by the solar wind].

    And what about the concept of ‘double layers’, electrical, in the Corona, and their explanatory power to account for the jump from 5000 C on the solar surface to 2M C a few kilometers (AU-speaking) above?
    The jump is not due to ‘double layers’, but probably to ‘nano flares’, millions of small ‘reconnection events’ of oppositely directed magnetic fields.

    I believe I’ve read that near to the time that Hannes Alfen received his Nobel, and whom I believe you knew (?), “repented” of much of his earlier work with “magnetohydrodynamics”
    His early ideas about MHD are still the firm foundation for most of space physics, e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfv%C3%A9n_wave
    What [my old friend] Alfven railed against was misuse of the concept. It is necessary that MHD breaks down in certain situations [e.g. when oppositely directed magnetic fields are pressed together by movements of the plasma], otherwise nothing interesting would ever happen. When MHD breaks down, electric currents flow and they are the cause of everything interesting, e.g. of the heating of the corona.

    Tiburon says:
    August 6, 2014 at 3:52 pm
    And then there’s Plasma. Which some say…exists…in space.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_(physics) :
    “Plasma is loosely described as an electrically neutral medium of positive and negative particles (i.e. the overall charge of a plasma is roughly zero).”

    • Again, thank you for your direct and comprehensive replies! This clarifies a lot for me – and some things are falling into their proper places, somewhat to my surprise! It also allows me some solid conceptual reference points to follow upon…
      There are some others with whom I can correspond regarding the fundamentals you describe, and hopefully I can in my mind reach a form of ‘map’ of the territory and precisely where lie the points of contention…
      I wish you a very good night!

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