This kind of solar storm could be devastating in today’s world…”The Carrington Event” of 1859

Guest post by Paul Dorian

A modern solar flare recorded December 5, 2006, by the X-ray Imager onboard NOAA's GOES-13 satellite. The flare was so intense that it actually damaged the instrument that took the picture. Researchers believe Carrington's solar flare was much more energetic than this one.

A modern solar flare recorded December 5, 2006, by the X-ray Imager onboard NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite. The flare was so intense that it actually damaged the instrument that took the picture. Researchers believe Carrington’s solar flare was much more energetic than this one.

Overview

The sun continues to be very quiet and it has been without sunspots this year 70% of the time as we approach what is likely to be one of the deepest solar minimums in a long, long time. In fact, all indications are that the upcoming solar minimum may be even quieter than the last one which was the deepest in nearly a century.  In addition, there are now forecasts that the next solar cycle, #25, will be the weakest in more than 200 years. Even weak solar cycles, however, can produce significant solar storms. In fact, it was this same time of year back in 1859 when a super solar storm – now known as the “Carrington Event” – took place during another weak solar cycle (#10).  The event has been named for the British astronomer, Richard Carrington, as he observed from his own private observatory the largest solar flare which caused a major coronal mass ejection (CME) to travel directly toward Earth.  Fortunately, solar storms of this magnitude are quite rare as it would very likely have a much more damaging impact on today’s world than it did in the 19th century.

Sunspots sketched by Richard Carrington on Sept. 1, 1859. Copyright: Royal Astronomical Society

Sunspots sketched by Richard Carrington on Sept. 1, 1859. Copyright: Royal Astronomical Society

The solar storm of September 1, 1859

This past weekend saw the strongest geomagnetic storm of the year with northern lights visible all the way down into the northern US, but it was nothing in comparison to what took place 160 years ago. From August 28, 1859 to September 1, 1859 numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the sun and auroras were being observed in different parts of the world.  Just before noon on the cloudless morning of Thursday, September 1, 1859, 33-year-old astronomer Richard Carrington – widely acknowledged at the time to be England’s best – was in his own private observatory and, as he usually did on sunny days, he used his telescope to project an 11-inch wide image of the sun on a screen and carefully drew the sunspots that he saw. Suddenly, two brilliant beads of blinding white light appeared over the sunspots, intensified rapidly, and became kidney-shaped.  He realized that he was witnessing something unprecedented and left for about one minute to find another witness.  On returning within 60 seconds, he and his witness found that much had already subsided in that short time.

Circled areas on plot indicate locations that experienced the northern lights (auroras) during the “Carrington Event” of 1859

Circled areas on plot indicate locations that experienced the northern lights (auroras) during the “Carrington Event” of 1859

The next morning, Friday, September 2nd, 1859, when the CME arrived, it crashed into Earth’s magnetic field, causing the global bubble of magnetism that surrounds our planet to shake and quiver. The CME reached the Earth some 17.6 hours after the eruption which is much quicker than the normal journey time of 3 or 4 days as an earlier CME actually cleared the way of the ambient solar plasma for the second blast to move so quickly.  Rapidly moving fields induced enormous electric currents that surged through telegraph lines and disrupted communications.  In fact, telegraph systems all over Europe and North America went haywire and, in some cases, telegraph operators were literally shocked as sparks were flying and telegraph paper was often set on fire. Some systems actually continued to work despite being disconnected from their power supplies as aurora-induced electric currents still allowed messages to be transmitted.  Skies all over Earth erupted in red, green and purple auroras – even in tropical locations like Cuba, Jamaica, El Salvador, the Bahamas and Hawaii. The auroras were so bright over the Rocky Mountains that their glow awoke gold miners who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning. People in the northeastern US could read a newspaper by the aurora’s light.

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31 Aug 1859, – The Cadiz Sentinel at Newspapers.com

On Saturday, September 3, 1859, the Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser reported, “Those who happened to be out late on Thursday night had an opportunity of witnessing another magnificent display of the auroral lights. The phenomenon was very similar to the display on Sunday night, though at times the light was, if possible, more brilliant, and the prismatic hues more varied and gorgeous. The light appeared to cover the whole firmament, apparently like a luminous cloud, through which the stars of the larger magnitude indistinctly shone. The light was greater than that of the moon at its full, but had an indescribable softness and delicacy that seemed to envelop everything upon which it rested. Between 12 and 1 o’clock, when the display was at its full brilliancy, the quiet streets of the city resting under this strange light, presented a beautiful as well as singular appearance.”

Today’s view of “The Carrington Event”

Back in the 19th century there were no X-ray satellites or radio telescopes and no one knew solar flares existed until that September morning.  “What Carrington saw was a white-light solar flare—a magnetic explosion on the sun,” explains David Hathaway, solar physics team lead at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “It’s rare that one can actually see the brightening of the solar surface,” says Hathaway. “It takes a lot of energy to heat up the surface of the sun!”  The explosion witnessed by Carrington produced not only a surge of visible light, but also a mammoth cloud of charged particles and detached magnetic loops—a “CME”—and hurled that cloud directly toward Earth. “In the 160-year record of geomagnetic storms, the Carrington event is the biggest”, says Hathaway.  In fact, going back farther in time by examining Arctic ice (energetic particles leave a record in nitrates in ice cores), it is estimated that this event may have been the biggest in 500 years and nearly twice as big as the runner-up.

Impact on today’s world

Today we know that solar flares happen frequently, especially during solar sunspot maximums.  In today’s world, electronic technologies have become embedded into everyday life and are, of course, quite vulnerable to solar activity. Power lines, long-distance telephone cables, radar, cell phones, GPS, and satellites – all could be significantly affected by an event like this one.  In other words, the world’s high-tech infrastructure could grind to a halt disrupting daily activities from purchasing a gallon gas to using the Internet.

Of particular concern is the fear about what this kind of solar storm could do to the electrical grid since power surges caused by solar particles can blow out giant transformers.  If numerous transformers happened to be destroyed at once, it would likely take a painfully long time to replace them.  The eastern US is especially vulnerable since the power infrastructure is highly interconnected so that failures in one location could cause failures in other regions. One long-term solution to this vulnerability would be to rebuild the aging power grid to be less susceptible to solar disruptions.

Final thoughts

On the positive side, there is comfort in the fact that observations of the sun in today’s world are a constant with a fleet of spacecraft in position to monitor the sun and gather data on solar flares. Also, there is better forecasting in today’s world and solar scientists could give some sort of warning as to when solar flares might appear and whether a given storm is pointed at Earth.  Improved forecasting can allow for mitigating actions to be taken since the most damaging emissions travel slowly enough to be detected by satellites well before the particles strike the Earth.  For example, power companies could protect valuable transformers by taking them offline before a solar storm strikes.  Finally, statistics suggest that “Carrington-type” flares are perhaps once in a half-millennium events. The statistics are far from solid, however, and Hathaway (NASA) cautions that we don’t understand flares well enough to rule out a repeat in our lifetime.

Meteorologist Paul Dorian
Perspecta, Inc.
perspectaweather.com

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123 thoughts on “This kind of solar storm could be devastating in today’s world…”The Carrington Event” of 1859

  1. Think about how the modern computer driven transportation infrastructure could grind to a halt. Older vehicles will become important.

    • That happens on brand new driver less trains here in Sydney, Australia almost weekly without intervention from the sun.

    • On your guard !
      It is said: A magnetic storm lasting three days should hit our planet at the end of this month, according to the solar astronomy laboratory of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The days at risk should be September 27th, 28th and 29th.
      According to the laboratory, the solar storm will begin on September 27 and end on 29. During the first two days, the earth’s magnetosphere disorder will be more powerful. The expected level is the G2, according to the special 5-level scale that classifies the power of solar storms and their consequences.
      https://it.sputniknews.com/mondo/201909108076001-tempesta-magnetica-prevista-dagli-scienziati-russi-a-fine-mese/

      • @ _Jim Please re-read part of the article, Impact on today’s world.
        In my neighborhood, the electric buses, and trains, are powered by the grid. If the electric grid shuts off, how do people move about? Get the diesel powered equipment out of the storage yard, and fire it up.

      • Unless the electronics are plugged into the grid (not saying the event, itself, would do it, but a destabilized power grid could). Hate to see my TV fried, but at least I don’t have an electric vehicle to plug in and worry about.

        • But, if the issue is the CME charged particles inducing an overcurrent in the Grid via the Wiring, then it is possible that Anything with wiring could have current induced in them and be subjected to overcurrent destabilization.

          • Even worse, the event will cause such a surge in the power system that it will cause all the wind turbines to run backwards and produce cat 5 windstorms. Oh the humanity!

      • What is the basis for your statement Mark?

        I had heard that a Carrington Event now would damage electronic devices.

        Say in this attached article, a specialist states a Carrington Event would damage electronic devices. I have not however seen a paper that provides analysis to support that assertion.

        Destruction of say 70% of all electronic devices in our country would have some effect on day to day life.

        Note this is not a theoretical problem. The Carrington Event occurred unexplainable during the Dalton minimum and the sun has abruptly changed.

        https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/05/scientists-tackle-burning-question-when-will-our-quiet-sun-turn-violent

        Most worrisome is the prospect of a major solar storm, such as the Carrington Event of 1859. During that storm, the sun ejected billions of tons of charged particles, causing aurorae as far south as the Caribbean and generating currents in telegraph lines powerful enough to shock operators.

        Today, the effect of such an event on computers and communications would be dire. Financial transaction systems could collapse. Power and water could easily go out. “It probably would be The Hunger Games pretty soon,” McIntosh says.

        McIntosh doesn’t question the need to prepare, but he is skeptical of the panel’s approach. In fact, he believes its very premise—predicting the rise and fall of sunspots—is off-base. Sunspots, and the cycle itself, are just symptoms of a still-mysterious story playing out inside the sun.

        Lika Guhathakurta, a panel observer from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, agrees. “Sunspot is not a physical index of anything,” she says, after the morning’s introductory talks.

        • What is the basis for my statement.
          Simple physics.

          The rate of change in the magnetic field is many orders of magnitude too small to induce destructive voltages in any conductor that isn’t 10’s to 100’s of miles long.

          As to the grid, it’s already protected, despite what the fear mongers keep trying to sell.

          • According to this study done for Lloyds there is some risk of damage to the electrical grid.

            Canada has taken measures to reduce their risk.

            There is no mention of damage to electronic devices which is consistent with your assumption of the rise time of CME.

            http://www.lloyds.com/~/media/lloyds/reports/emerging%20risk%20reports/solar%20storm%20risk%20to%20the%20north%20american%20electric%20grid.pdf

            Weighted by population, the highest risk of storm-induced power outages in the US is along the Atlantic corridor between Washington D.C. and New York City. This takes into account risk factors such as magnetic latitude, distance to the coast, ground conductivity and transmission grid properties. Other high-risk regions are the Midwest states, such as Michigan and Wisconsin, and regions along the Gulf Coast.

            The total U.S. population at risk of extended power outage from a Carrington-level storm is between 20-40 million, with durations of 16 days to 1-2 years. The duration of outages will depend largely on the availability of spare replacement transformers. If new transformers need to be ordered, the lead-time is likely to be a minimum of five months. The total economic cost for such a scenario is estimated at $0.6-2.6 trillion USD (see Appendix).

            Since the 1989 Quebec storm and power outage, the Canadian government has invested $1.2 billion (about $34 per person) into protecting the Hydro-Quebec grid infrastructure, installing numerous blocking capacitors44. While these mitigation strategies can be expensive up front (estimated cost of $100k per blocking capacitor for a total of $100 million to protect the 1,000 most vulnerable transformers45), the cost of prevention is much smaller than the cost of the damage a single storm can create.

  2. If you want to have a somewhat detailed description of what the aftermath of a wide scale EMP event could be like, have a read of One Second After, by William R. Forstchen. His book is based on a deliberate EMP attack, but the consequences of something similar to the Carrington Event would be much the same.

    Not sure exactly how realistic his scenario is, but it isn’t pretty. I recall that there are a few places in the US power grid where if the large power transformers were to be damaged, the lead time on a replacement is in the order of 6 months to 2 years, and there are no spares.

    • yeah excellent series he wrote and as real as he could make it. the medicine shortfalls alone would be huge and the results pretty grim.
      the duration as Earth turns would also be a factor in what damages happen where and if the transformer makers cop it then its lights out for a loooong time

      its why I keep oldfashioned lamps and non powered backup everything I can inc brace n bit etc
      well the risk of this AND our crappy power system since pv n wind in Aus

    • No, this is not an EMP. It is a magnetic storm. Ordinary electronics are not in danger. It is the long transmission lines which are a problem. Induced currents in these could destroy transformers, which would take many months to replace.

      The solution is simple: take down the grid for a few hours while the CME passes. However it is unlikely that the people in charge would have the sense or courage to do this.

      • I’ll put up with transformers going out with the backup genny if it takes down all the windmills and any batteries attached. It’s an ill solar wind as they say.

      • I don’t know about the US grid, but the UK grid clearly could not take the stress of multiple, random transformers blowing. Keep in mind, too, that the transformers would blow even if the power was off.

      • As I understand it, the problem is inductance on long transmission lines. Taking down the grid would not prevent damage to the grid, blown transformers, and fried electronics to anything connected to it.

        As the story says, during the Carrington event, “Some systems actually continued to work despite being disconnected from their power supplies as aurora-induced electric currents still allowed messages to be transmitted.”

        Not so simple after all.

        • “Taking down the grid would not prevent damage to the grid, blown transformers, and fried electronics to anything connected to it.”

          It would. All you have to do is to open a switch. No circuit = No current.

      • They wouldn’t want to take down the grid because they aren’t really sure how to bring it back up.
        Lack of practice…

    • This threat has long been an issue in military circles as well as various others sources (even NASA in 2013) and lots of science writers for some time. However, the current administration seems to be fully aware of the danger. Recently Gingrich cited One Second After
      here (2019): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSyLVMzMRdA

      And the military (2018): https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/military-warns-emp-attack-could-wipe-out-america-democracy-world-order
      and follow the link to the actual report.

      And the Presidents Executive Order (2019): https://nypost.com/2019/03/26/trump-orders-feds-to-study-risks-of-electromagnetic-pulse/

      The issue is will there be actions to protect the grid or will funding go down the “not needed and better spent on X or Y” rat hole of the political parties. Maybe only after a Carrington event and not a real EMP from a hostile nation/group.

      A solar event would, as some noted, be the lesser evil but no one really knows without a real life test over a wide ares. Even if the power stations (hydro, nucclear, hydrocarbon) survive, all the comm nets and the grid could be damaged leaving only hydrocarbon as the “go-to” source of energy and for a considerable time. With the social nets out, and satellites gone we’d revert to life of the early 20th century? Might actually be a good experience for current generations (pun).

    • Mark H
      and there are no spares.

      The large utility I worked for typically had one spare large power transformer for each various size/voltage specs. Obviously we usually had many large transformers on the entire system of a particular spec.

    • Mark H
      Yousaid, “… the lead time on a replacement is in the order of 6 months to 2 years…” This is under present-day conditions. In a post-Carrington event world, there may not be any electricity to run the transformer-building factories, nor electrically-pumped gasoline to allow the workers to get to work (if cars are even running), nor fuel for trucks to get the new transformers into the field.

  3. I consider that the risk is real enough that I keep cash aside and add to it continually. I also keep an old valve type radio and a cable telephone connected to the copper network. If I lived in an elevated site I would also have a ham radio. They are the best backup. I also need a diesel generator to keep freezers running e.t.c.
    m

  4. Some years ago I reviewed a book called ‘Warday’, a gripping account of a very limited nuclear exchange between USA and Russia. Forget the author. California budded off as a separate state. A cup of coffee in Rome cost the same as a house in USA. EMP caused a rich businessman suddenly to realise he had NO MONEY AT ALL.

  5. What could one do on a personal level beyond what Michael Carter suggests?
    Make a Faraday cage to hold one’s personal electronic items via. Laptop, smartphone etc?
    Would an aluminium foil bag work, and would it need to be earthed?
    Maybe someone could give a comment.

    • Too much scaremongering, I’d say.
      Read up on what happened in the UK from a single lightning hit, about a month all so ago. Biggest danger is from a civil unrest winch might follow some days later. Since there will be few hours warning, disconnect everything, head for the nearest international airport and take a flight to any of the countries in the equatorial region, where the electric power and fuel supplies would be very little or not affected at all. Venezuela, Somalia etc ? (s/c)

    • This sort of thing is discussed ad nauseum on various survivalist/self-sufficiency fora. So you go to the trouble & expense of building a Faraday Cage for your radio/TV/computer– who’s going to be transmitting on the other end? ..And how effective is a Faraday Cage? Your car will protect you from a nearby lightening strike, but your cell phone still works inside, doesn’t it?

      • re: “And how effective is a Faraday Cage?”

        The magnetic component of the ‘wave’ still gets through; what these people want is EM SHIELDING.

  6. as we approach what is likely to be one of the deepest solar minimums in a long, long time. In fact, all indications are that the upcoming solar minimum may be even quieter than the last one which was the deepest in nearly a century.

    This is not correct. The previous solar minimum in 2009 was clearly deeper. Look at sunspot number:
    http://www.sidc.be/images/wolfjmms.png
    Or at 10.7 cm solar flux
    https://www.spaceweather.gc.ca/auto_generated_products/solradmon_eng.png
    The lowest value in 10.7 cm adjusted solar flux took place in November 2018 so far. Almost a year ago. This solar minimum will not go much deeper and will be less deep than the previous one. This is a safe bet.

    In addition, there are now forecasts that the next solar cycle, #25, will be the weakest in more than 200 years.

    There are also forecasts that solar cycle 25 will be more active than SC24, and from the same people that correctly predicted SC24.

    It is a pity to devalue a nice historic article about the Carrington event starting with inaccuracies about the present and an unlikely prediction about the future.

    • The data is correct.
      Simply the minimum has begun in 2019 and is still ongoing.
      Cycle 24 is not finished and is weaker than cycle 23, will be much longer and the minimum longer than that of 2009.
      Your data is incomplete and scarce in support of your conclusions.
      The official data and the majority of forecasts confirm the solar cycle 25 of lower intensity than that of the solar cycle 24.
      If you want to make a forecast, wait at least until 2023, then we’ll talk about it again.

      • You are wrong. The smoothed monthly sunspot number, the criterion to define solar maximum and minimum, reached a value of 2.2 in Dec 2018, the past solar minimum. This minimum it is flattening at 5.0 and unlikely to reach values below 4.
        http://www.sidc.be/silso/DATA/SN_ms_tot_V2.0.txt

        It is quite possible that the solar minimum has already taken place, but we don’t know until over half a year later. The solar minimum candidate at http://www.solen.info/solar/ is March 2019. It is likely that it will be some months later, but not much later.

        The official data and the majority of forecasts confirm the solar cycle 25 of lower intensity than that of the solar cycle 24.

        Wrong again on that. Here you have the official position from NOAA, NASA, and the WDC-SILSO:
        “cycle 25 will most likely peak between 2023 and 2026 at a maximum sunspot number between 95 and 130. This prediction is now given in the scale of sunspot number Version 2. Therefore, solar cycle 25 will be similar to cycle 24, which peaked at 116 in April 2014.”
        http://www.sidc.be/silso/node/152
        They are not predicting a SC25 of lower intensity than SC24.

        • (1)”The next minimum between the current cycle 24 and cycle 25 is predicted to occur between July 2019 and September 2020. Given the previous minimum in December 2008, this thus corresponds to a duration for cycle 24 between 10.6 and 11.75 years. This thus also means that the activity is expected to decline further over the coming months.”
          http://www.sidc.be/silso/node/152

          (2)https://www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/solar-activity-forecast-for-next-decade-favorable-for-exploration

          As I said, we’ll talk about it in 2023.
          Cycle 24 is not finished, and the solar minimum is just beginning.
          It will fall again, cycle 24 is longer weak, even the minimum.

          • the solar minimum is just beginning.

            That’s just opinion. For all we know it could have already taken place. The way it is defined means we don’t know its date until more than half a year later. The only thing we know for sure is that it did not take place before March 2019.

          • @Javier,

            “This minimum it is flattening at 5.0 and unlikely to reach values below 4.” This is just opinion from you. You seem to be convinced that solar minimum has been reached. But Where is the evidence? The smoothed sunspot number dropped to 5.0 in February from 5.4 in January, 6.0 in December 2018, 6.7 in November 2018, 6.9 in October 2018. Please explain how that is “flattening”?

            10.7 cm radio flux is essentially flat. Please explain why it isn’t rising if solar minimum happened in early 2019. http://lasp.colorado.edu/lisird/data/penticton_radio_flux/

            International sunspot number: June 1.2, July 0.9, August 0.7, September (to date) 0.8. Needs to climb to 9.5 in September to maintain the February 5.0 smoothed sunspot number in March. Very possible, but also possible there will be no more sunspots this month. See June, July, August. If no more spots in September, smoothed falls to 4.6 in March.

            Last month, the solar minimum candidate at solen.info was February, now it’s March. Unless we get some spots in the remainder of September, it will slip to April.

            This doesn’t exactly suggest we’ve reached minimum. What makes your opinion more authoritative than others?

          • You seem to be convinced that solar minimum has been reached.

            No, I am not. I just think it is probable that we have reached the solar minimum and we don’t know yet. The solar minimum can only be seen in the rear view mirror and most people are looking forward. Same situation in 2009, but the solar minimum was in 2008. Sunspots during the first six months of 2009 were essentially zero.

            Please explain how that is “flattening”?

            This figure shows SC24-25 compared to SC4-5, 13-14, 14-15, 16-17 using a faster smoothing (9 months instead of 12). It uses data up to July 2019 (available in August).
            https://i.imgur.com/I4kDvlk.png
            You can see by yourself that it is flattening and it is consistent so far with this group of solar minima. The range of dates for the SC24-25 minimum that would fit this group goes to Sep 2019. From March to September there are still 6 opportunities for the solar minimum to be established maintaining the analogy. Five of them in the past.

            10.7 cm radio flux is essentially flat.

            Being flat for 9 months is more consistent with having reached the minimum than with still decreasing solar activity.

            If no more spots in September, smoothed falls to 4.6 in March

            Still above 3.9, right? I said unlikely to go below 4.

            Unless we get some spots in the remainder of September, it will slip to April.

            Very likely to slip to April, and perhaps to May, but plenty of opportunities for the solar minimum to have already happened.

            This doesn’t exactly suggest we’ve reached minimum. What makes your opinion more authoritative than others?

            Unlike most people I base my opinions on a study of the evidence. I have studied every solar minimum in the record, and I have studied the cyclical aspects of solar activity. I can still be wrong, but I am more likely to be right than those that don’t have a basis for their opinion.

        • It’s interesting that every time a SM AND GSM are mentioned you do your best ,to belittle the possible severity of such a event, even to the point of out of hand dismissing Zharkovas paper,your statement that the sm has possibly already taken place is ridiculous, we are heading into a GSM, ask John Casey.

          • ask John Casey

            I haven’t read anything from him, but from what his Wikipedia page says, he doesn’t appear to know what he talks about.

            your statement that the sm has possibly already taken place is ridiculous

            You appear to have a very superficial understanding of the solar cycle. We know that the solar minimum has taken place about 8-9 months later, sometimes even more as it happened in 2009.

            I make an effort to explain we are not going into a GSM because a lot of people are bought into that baseless idea out of rejection for AGW. I have studied the distribution of every GSM for the past 11,700 years which is a lot more than those proposing a GSM have done. There is a cyclical distribution of GSMs according to a ~2500 and ~1000-year cycles. The next period with high probability of a GSM starts in ~400 years. On top of that I have studied solar activity for the past 300 years. Solar activity has been increasing as a reflection of the ~1000-year cycle, and should peak in this century. Extended solar minima have been decreasing in intensity Maunder->Dalton->Gleissberg->Current. It is absurd to think that we are entering a GSM.
            https://i.imgur.com/umyAGxh.png
            You are just buying into alarmism of the opposite sign. Be rational.

          • As of today we are 177days for the year 2019 without sunspots, this is on track to being less than the previous year,unless we have a relatively huge increase in sun spots,to say the solar cycle has reached and surpassed is minimum is ridiculous your own way of analysing confirms this, “we wont know for 6 months” the data shows there is no increase in sunspot activity this year compaired with last year indeed at the current count which is observed we can infer there is unlikely to be any large increase in sun spot a activity, and it’s looking very much like there will be overall less sunspot activity this year,to last year, you are right, I’m just a grunt I’m no scientist but I dont need to be to read and understand a solar change, as for your comments on John Casey, you sir are being disingenuous of the man,you cant base your rather rash assumptions of the man based on a wilki article ,try reading his books or watch one of the many videos available. You do have me on one point though, I havent studied solar cycles for 300 years as you claim, or do you mean to say you have studied data collected over 300 years. As I have said of your remarks in the past, you dismiss zharkovas work out of hand, you dismiss SM GSM as finished ,minor,no evidence, you are really sounding like a global warmest.

          • As of today we are 177days for the year 2019 without sunspots, this is on track to being less than the previous year,unless we have a relatively huge increase in sun spots,to say the solar cycle has reached and surpassed is minimum is ridiculous

            That is irrelevant. Tracking the number of spotless days will not tell you when the solar minimum takes place. 2009 had 263 spotless days, yet the solar minimum happened in December 2008.

            the data shows there is no increase in sunspot activity this year compaired with last year

            That is also irrelevant. The solar minimum is not determined based on calendar years. It is done by running a centered 12-month moving average where the first and last month count half. Most people discussing the solar minimum don’t even know that.

            as for your comments on John Casey, you sir are being disingenuous of the man,you cant base your rather rash assumptions of the man based on a wilki article

            If this is correct: “Casey’s theory is that the sun is currently within a 206-year cycle and that a drastic cycle change is imminent. He believes this cycle change will lead to the severe cooling down of the earth.[19]” Then, he doesn’t know what he talks about. He has misidentified the position of the 206-year solar cycle and ignored its trend towards more activity, not less. Refer to my previous figure which shows the situation of that cycle in dark red:
            https://i.imgur.com/umyAGxh.png

            you dismiss zharkovas work out of hand

            Not out of hand. Her model has been shown to not correctly hindcast past solar activity by Ilya Usoskin, and essentially is a linear extrapolation of the decreasing solar activity since 1950 without any consideration for the cyclical aspects of solar activity that project a change of trend after SC24. Zharkova is wrong even if I am wrong. Her model doesn’t work.

            you are really sounding like a global warmest.

            Only to your highly biased perception. If I am skeptical of anthropogenic global warming is because I stick to the evidence no matter what. The same reason I am skeptical of the GSM hypothesis. You are just spousing the hypotheses that better fit your biased tribalism without any scientific consideration. You are just trying to identify me as belonging to a different tribe. I’ll save you the effort, I belong to none. I’ll continue sticking to the evidence wherever it takes me.

          • Zharkovas paper is based on recently discovered long term oscillations of the solar background radiation https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45584-3 .you understand recently discovered ,seems to me you and the Finnish prof have been some what caught with your pants down,instead of exploring this new research
            You criticise and nitpick mainly on points that dont address the main thrust of zharkovas work.this is why you dismiss her work, it’s the standard reply from the establishment who have not addressed the physics of the new research,you and the professor have not addressed formally her work,telling people she is wrong is not the same as proving or even in your case hypothesis ing she is wrong, until you show the recent discovery is wrong I’m afraid your talking nonsense,obfuscating to most points is not proving the recent discovery is right or wrong

            As for me being a extremist, I’m am extremely annoyed that politics driven science has take n over various disciplines in science pushing a false CAGW agenda stroking the underbelly of fear through climate alarmism, were as some of your posts on here do tend to calm extremism in both camps,you remind me of a saying,”theres nothing worse than a man who sits on a fence telling every one on both sides of the fence there wrong”until you write and publish a paper on the specifics of zharkovas paper ,then il just take what you say as professional obfuscating from the thrust of her paper.

          • I think you get science backwards. A hypothesis is not correct unless proven wrong, it is wrong unless it can demonstrate superior skill in explaining past data and predicting future data. If I say that invisible unicorns produce climate change you won’t be able to prove my theory wrong. Einstein’s theory was capable of explaining Mercury’s behavior when Newton’s theory couldn’t. Zharkova’s model reproduces very high solar activity around AD 1500, during the Spörer Minimum.
            https://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S136468261730336X-gr1.jpg
            And it predicts SC25 will have much less activity than SC24 when the current official prediction is that it will have about the same:
            http://www.sidc.be/silso/node/152
            And Leif Svalgaard predicts it will have more:
            http://lasp.colorado.edu/media/projects/SORCE/meetings/2018/final/Oral_PDFs/54_Svalgaard.pdf
            “SC25 will be somewhere between SC24 and SC20, provided the Polar Field Precursor Relationship holds.”
            Unlike Zharkova’s model, that method had shown to be reliable since 1978 and correctly hindcasts past solar cycles since 1750.

            Zharkova will be shown wrong in about 3.5 years, I have no doubt about it. I doubt however if you will learn something from that. Demanding that I publish a work on Zharkova’s model is the typical religious zealot impossible demand. I couldn’t care less what you believe or not, much less to dedicate any of my time to that. You can continue with your “the world is about to enter drastic cooling” religion with your preacher John Casey. People around the world have a lot of silly beliefs and it is not my work to change that.

          • You ignore recent discovery, you cant argue for or against the thrust of her paper,you simply have no data to contradict her in any meaningful way,stating she is wrong with no reason why she is wrong, your previous reasons had nothing to do with her paper,my partner just came in, you will be pleased to know she is a scientist I read to her my last reply to you and your latest response, her reply about your comment was “not very professional, as I said you have been caught with your pants down,the latest research has made you blush,your behind the times,any scientist would examine the data not simply say she is wrong,and now you give yourself 3/4 years to prove her wrong, a true scientist would say to prove if she is right or wrong, you again rely on evidence going back to the 50s your words, yet none of the new work,/recent discovery is taken into account, are you seriously expecting any one to take you seriously, science is continuing to expand through experimentation and observerd data ,yet by your comments you dismiss this ,you sir are biased and not following scientific methodology

          • you simply have no data to contradict her in any meaningful way

            I’ve already told you about the data that contradicts her research.

            1. Her model shows high solar activity at the time the Spörer Minimum took place around 1500 AD. The Spörer Minimum is well identified from 14C and 10Be records and from aurorae observations. That is a major problem. Solar activity during the Spörer Minimum was very low because it is a GSM. Zharkova’s model believes it was very high and the Spörer Minimum never took place.

            2. Her model predicts very low activity for SC25 and that is a serious problem because the best method available for predicting solar activity for the next cycle, the polar fields method, that has been correct since 1978 and correctly hindcasts solar activity for the past 250 years predicts that SC25 will not have lower activity than SC24.

            Since Zharkova’s model does not properly hindcast past activity, and contradicts a superior method that has not failed so far, it is obvious to anybody non-biased that it cannot be right.

            Talking about my pants or your partner doesn’t get you any credits. It is irrelevant.

          • Now who’s wrong zharkova states a grand standard cycle during the sporer minimum so she acknowledges the sporer minimum and says why she did not use the data because the cooling was due to a local super nova that increased the earths incoming background radiation,so you omitt this important piece of her work and just criticise her lack of including the sporer minimum when in fact she acknowledges the Sm and gives reasons why ,seems to me your dragging the bottom of the barrel,heres the work zharkova acknowledges and builds upon in her paper,time to step out of the past and into the present pal,https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0004-637X/799/2/220, I look forward to your reply

          • She knows her model doesn’t reproduce the 14C record, and particularly the Spörer Minimum, so what does she do? She pulls an “ad hoc” explanation. Instead of “the dog ate my homework” it is “the supernova ate the Spörer Minimum.”

            “[We] reasonably argued that Spörer minimum is an artifact of the strongly increased at that time background radiation on the Earth caused by the explosion of a very close (about 600–700 light years) supernova Vela Junior occurred in the southern sky.”

            Except the Vela Junior supernova did not take place when she says it took place:
            Katsuda, S., Tsunemi, H. and Mori, K., 2009. Is Vela Jr. a young supernova remnant?. Advances in Space Research, 43(6), pp.895-899.
            https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273117709000337
            “We estimate the age of this remnant to be ~1000–3000 yr. Therefore, Vela Jr. turns out to be not so young as it was considered previously.”

            The most likely explanation for the absence of a Spörer Minimum in Zharkova’s model is still that the model is wrong.

          • Except she never said when it took place did she ,she said the effects could throw out her measurements by s few hundred years, so now your putting words in her mouth.your just pissed some one has upstaged you,you who ever you are,I find it hilarious that a fellow scientist trys so desperately to not just argue the science but trys to rub someone’s nose init.the best one from you to date is “she will be proved wrong in 3/4years,”a true scientist would say ” she will be proved right or wrong in 3/4 years time” not you though,keep em comming pal.

    • Hi Javier. (P.S. Great site. t/h. I visit it every day. Best wishes Paul.)

      The solar cycle 24/25 predictions assume the sun has not changed, cannot change.

      Why did the solar cycle 24 sunspot size and sunspot group lifetime change? Sunspot group lifetime is now a few days as compared to roughly a month for past cycles.

      Why did corona hole size and location change for solar cycle 24? This is a big deal as it indicates/may indicate there has be a core change to the sun. (

      Coronal holes are interesting as they rotate with the same speed as the core of the sun as compared to sunspots that float on top of the corona. The solar surface as you are aware rotates roughly 40% slower at high latitude regions on the sun as compared to the solar surface rotational speed at the solar equator.

      Coronal holes are a solar paradox as there is no known mechanism that is core based that can generate coronal holes and there is no convection zone-based mechanism that can generate a coronal hole that rotates as the same speed as the core.

      http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0004-637X/763/2/137/pdf

      ROTATION RATES OF CORONAL HOLES AND THEIR PROBABLE ANCHORING DEPTHS
      For different latitude zones between 40◦ north and 40◦ south, we compute rotation rates and find that, irrespective of their area, the number of days observed on the solar disk, and their latitudes, CHs rotate rigidly. Combined for all the latitude zones, we also find that CHs rotate rigidly during their evolution history. In addition, for all latitude zones, CHs follow a rigid body rotation law during their first appearance. Interestingly, the average first rotation rate (∼438 nHz) of CHs, computed from their first appearance on the solar disk, matches the rotation rate of the solar interior only below the tachocline.

  7. Back to the use of vacuum tubes, instead of transistors.
    The drawback is that computers would probably be a billion times larger and consume a million times more power.
    The old MIG-25 fighter planes from the USSR era used vacuum tubes and were considered immune to EMP attack.
    Solar PV panels are said to be relative immune to EMP, but inverters, modern LED light bulbs may have to be replaced. To avoid replacing all your LEDs, stay devoted to the good old incandescent light bulbs, there are no semiconductors in those.
    If you have a gas/diesel generator as support after the EMP event, have it stored in a thick walled Faraday cage, as all modern and pre-modern generators have semiconductors in them. Alternatively have a non-connected generator deep underground. Have a good stock of food and access to a water-well. For those in the country side, grow your own vegetables and have a gun handy for hunting some meat in the nearby forest.

    Some say the seriousness, in the case of a Carrington like event, could be very severe. If taking years before restoring infrastructure, some say it could starve 90% of the population.

    • re: “have it stored in a thick walled Faraday cage”

      A “Faraday cage” isn’t what you think it is. This is a term Joe Q. Public has picked up (AND fallen in love with) from ‘science friction’ writers who don’t know physics.

    • We would essentially be put back into the late 1800s. Surely the Earth had more than 10% of today’s population at that time? Draft animals and steam engines would be critical. The time of year would be vital: a hit in winter would probably kill millions more than one in summer.

      Plus, we still have the Amish around to show us how it’s done!

      As long as Frederic Brown’s “Waveries” don’t show up…

  8. “What could one do on a personal level beyond what Michael Carter suggests?
    Make a Faraday cage to hold one’s personal electronic items via. Laptop, smartphone etc?
    Would an aluminium foil bag work, and would it need to be earthed?
    Maybe someone could give a comment.”

    Microwave oven should work. Get an old cheap one, even if it no longer works, to store sensitive electronics. Only problem is that there may be no warning of an EMP attack.

  9. Imagine what one would do to Bitcoin or the Bank of England’s SHC (Synthetic Hegemonic Currency)? And all the high-frequency trading propping up the $15 quadrillion financial bubble?

    As China said this week, that bubble will burst anyway. Better to think along the Belt and Road Initiative.
    Need new tranformers ? Call China (if all satellites are not knocked out).

  10. In other words, the world’s high-tech infrastructure could grind to a halt disrupting daily activities from purchasing a gallon gas to using the Internet. – article

    You mean – the current crop of ecohippies and GND politicians would be cut off from communicating their hysterics to the rest of the world? What’s not to like?

    I believe an overload or surge from the power company would flip the breaker box for my little house, because it isn’t one of these stupid newfangled things that can talk to itself and snoop on you. And having a flip phone instead of one of those tablets that makes you a crime target, I’d just put mine in the microwave with a note on the door, until the event passed. I still have a typewriter, too. And get some ice for the cooler well ahead of time.

    Nothing to see here, folks, except a meltdown from the ecohippies. Now that would be awesome!

  11. People seem to confuse this with a nuclear EMP. They are not at all the same thing. A CME is unlikely to have much effect on ordinary electronics. The problem with a CME is the strong effect on the Earth’s magnetic field which can induce very large currents in long transmission lines, which in turn can destroy transformers.

    • re: “The problem with a CME is the strong effect on the Earth’s magnetic field which can induce very large currents in long transmission lines, which in turn can destroy transformers.”

      Are you just going to post the same stuff you’ve posted before, without informing others about any of the new measures the power industry has incorporated to cope with GICs (GROUND INDUCED CURRENTS)?

    • The grid is protected from over voltage by a multitude of circuit breakers.
      While the grid would go down as the circuit breakers tripped, which would also cause power plants to do emergency shutdowns.
      However the power plants and the transformers would survive.

      It might however take several days to bring the grid back online from such a complete shutdown.

  12. re: “This kind of solar storm could be devastating in today’s world…”The Carrington Event” of 1859”

    Yeah … ummm … no.

    We’ve gone over this subject before.

  13. Meteorologist Paul Dorian
    Perspecta, Inc.

    Paul, it would BE HELPFUL if persons of your stature took some interest in THE OTHER HALF OF THE COIN, to wit, what kind of measures industry implements has, and continues to implement to deal with what are called “GICs” or Ground Induced Currents due to CME events ….

    It does NO GOOD to repeatedly write pieces like this whose only intent (from thj outside) looks to be to ‘scare’ the public for the purpose securing public funds to ‘fight off’ yet another ‘bogey man’.

  14. I am just aghast to stupification 🙂 that a [MUCH more likely, nie -certain-] event like this isn’t the “The world is going to end” daily headline instead of the AGW scare. Where is the responsible press? Oh wait…… We don’t teach history or even real science in our schools anymore.

  15. We’ve known about Carrington events long enough to design for them, so don’t worry about Carrington events. Those windmills, though, can be a problem.

  16. Rushed today and no time to provide links – but: 1) the National Academy of Sciences studied this Carrington Event issue way back in 2008, and its report prompted a congessional inquiry – where military experts warned America would not be able to feed 95% of its people {Satellite guided harvesters; 3 day supply lines in supermarkets; no electrical grid – no water pumping, no fuel resupplies, no comms of any kind}; 2) until about 2010, the UK political world was unaware of these implications, but through various means it got onto the prime minister’s desk and he was livid, ordering then liasion with the US experts and a UK Parliamentary inquiry (to which I contributed)……….3) all of which came to nothing, even the US assocations of electrical engineers complaining that they could not get funding to make the grid more resilient. Even the National Geographic had a front page feature and did not mince its words on the consequences – truly, the end of civilisation as we know it – no lighting, no water, no food and no ability to repair the damage in good time. And then, in 2012 – July 22nd I think, there WAS another Carrington event – it missed the Earth by nine days of solar rotation. NASA did not report on it until a year later – that is was many times more powerful than Carrington. All these reports are available – I have them, but not to hand – they should be trackable. Despite clear studies on the catastrophic impact on modern life, the risks are continually downplayed as if all that would happen is a few damaged satellites. BTW the issue of computers in cars is not resolved and the CME hit IS comparable to an EMP weapon – the pulse is amplified according to the angle of the receiving magnetic field; and regarding warnings and action – the danger would be a potential at first identified about half way (ie about 8 hours warning) and the risks of an alarm and shut-down of the grid then balanced with the consequences of a forced shut-down and it is not clear who makes that decision. When I first studied this issue, I bought an old non-computerised landrover, stacked the barn with water and food for three months, and plotted a route upwind of the UK’s nuclear power plants – I would give them a week or two before meltdown, if they survived the pulse itself, due to the difficulties of resupplying the diesel back-up for cooling the fuel even after shut-down. And to think physicists and engineers knew all this in 1859, yet still contibuted to the modern infrastructure that half the world relies upon for a functioning social order.

        • MarkW: If the grid can survive lightning strikes, it can survive a Carrington event.

          tty: Lighting strikes don’t hit the whole planet simultaneously.

          Once again, we see the idiocy brought on by the Dunning-Kruger effect.

          tty, thinking he is an expert on transmission and distribution networks overlooks the fact that surge/lightning suppressors are used throughout, that is, are distributed spatially throughout these networks. One finds that every drop, riser, connection to distribution networks ALSO include a transient suppressor at that point.

          And never mind the EPRI paper (by Rabinowitz) I cited earlier.

  17. “The statistics are far from solid, however, and Hathaway (NASA) cautions that we don’t understand flares well enough to rule out a repeat in our lifetime.”
    ______________________________________

    “The researchers behind the new, international study led by researchers from Lund University have used drilled samples of ice, or ice cores, to find clues about previous solar storms. The cores come from Greenland and contain ice formed over the past about 100,000 years. The material contains evidence of a very powerful solar storm that occurred in 660 BCE.

    “If that solar storm had occurred today, it could have had severe effects on our high-tech society,” says Raimund Muscheler, professor of geology at Lund University.

    The new study means that a third known case of a massive solar storm dating back in time has been discovered via indirect observations in nature’s own archive. Raimund Muscheler also took part in research that confirmed the existence of two other massive solar storms, using both ice cores and the annual growth rings of old trees. These storms took place in 775 and 994 CE.”

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190311152744.htm

    ______________________________________

    https://www.google.com/search?q=solar+storm+impact+geological&oq=solar+storm+impact+geological+&aqs=chrome.

  18. Here is a link to three different scenarios postulated by the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies from 2016. It looks at solar storms ranging up to the size of the Carrington event. It suggests that in a worst case (Carrington) 10% of the US population would be without power for 10 months. “The total direct shock to value-added activities in the US economy as a result of power failure amounts to $220 billion for S1, $700 billion for S2 and $1.2trillion for X1.”

    This is a relatively narrowly constrained study and looks specifically economic, insurance and investment losses. It doesn’t make estimates of loss of life due to loss of power. One can imagine problems at hospitals when power goes out and the 3 day supply of fuel for the generators runs out and a whole regions ability to power fuel pumps, traffic lights, etc. makes fresh fuel deliveries impossible. To say nothing of food deliveries to grocery stores that have about a two day supply of food for our “just in time” retail model.

    https://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/fileadmin/user_upload/research/centres/risk/downloads/aig_helios_solar_storm_16_june.pdf

  19. From the article: “Of particular concern is the fear about what this kind of solar storm could do to the electrical grid since power surges caused by solar particles can blow out giant transformers. If numerous transformers happened to be destroyed at once, it would likely take a painfully long time to replace them. The eastern US is especially vulnerable since the power infrastructure is highly interconnected so that failures in one location could cause failures in other regions. One long-term solution to this vulnerability would be to rebuild the aging power grid to be less susceptible to solar disruptions.”

    Well, the head of the commission that studied this problem said the U.S. electrical grid could be protected from such events by spending about $3 billion dollars to do the necessary upgrades and buy spare parts.

    Three billion dollars sounds like awful cheap insurance to me.

    As far as I know, no money has actually been allocated to provide this protection.

    • I should add that the reason this insurance policy has not been funded is because the government and the electric companies are arguing over who is going to pay for it.

  20. The biggest effect of a very large CME would be on the electricity Transmission grids if they were not properly fused or didn’t manage in time to dump the surge before it fried the transformers. And probably only ones north or south of the equator 40 degrees latitude. This is why the March 13, 1989 geomagnetic storm caused Hydro Quebec a temporary 9 hour shutdown, but further south in CONUSA, there was little effect.

    I am not sure if there is any difference to a DC HVDC line vs. say a 500 KVA AC line or if DC is more resilient to such a high surge? HVDC requires less conductor per unit distance than an AC line, (2 conductor) as there is no need to support three phases and there is no skin effect. Plus there is no frequency in the DC line since that is reestablished at the end of the line where the inverter equipment crank out whatever frequency you require making them good at operations between grids of different AC frequency. But the HVDC lines are usually a lot longer than AC, albeit less conductor wire so not sure how HVDC would hold up under an intense CME. Perhaps worse because of more exotic solid state controls, thyristors and inverters?

    • If the circuit breakers can protect the transformers from lightning striked (they can), then they would have no trouble protecting from a Carrington event which is hundreds of times slower.

      • Apples and oranges. Lightning strikes are millisecond events, and circuit breakers/fuses do protect for the most part from a lightning strike. Lightning on a transmission line is seeking the shortest and quickest route to ground, and if it is provided with a route to ground, it does so instantly with no harm. A CME is a much different event, inducing high currents into a long run of wire over a much longer period of time. I don’t know that a standardized circuit breaker or a fuse does the same job with a CME when it is circulating induction currents in the transformer copper windings that does the damage to the transformer when it melts/fuses. But we should be able to design something that does open the circuit and initiate a complete shutdown of the grid which is probably what is required, which is to allow the CME event to pass without harm. Of course, a planned soft shutdown of the grid is preferred, so it may still be a human call to do so in advance of a known CME event approaching. We have so little real world experience with this.

        • All electricity seeks the shortest path to ground. It’s what electricity does.

          When it comes to protection from over voltage fast is a problem, slow less so.

          A Carrington event is orders of magnitude easier to handle than is a lightning strike.

      • I would suspect EMP damage to electronic devices and the indirect damage caused by the electronic device failure would be the problem.

        If the EMP pulse destroys the electronics that controls the grid circuit breakers there maybe damage as electrical grids require controlled shutdown to avoid damage.

        There are high power electronic switches that are used for DC power lines may be damaged by the EMP pulse. DC power lines require control equipment to be shutdown safely.

        The problem is there is a large amount of energy stored in magnetic fields about the wires in a large electric grid so instant shut-off can damage the grid. A possible mitigating plan would be to shutdown the entire grid.

        A key issue to determine affect on our country would be the time required to get the electrical grid back up. Without electricity large cities become chaotic. Loss of power for a year or so would be a problem.

        The delivery time for large power transformers is roughly a year.

        • There is no EMP (adding pulse to that is redundant.)

          The problem with stored energy in the EM field has been known by electrical engineers for a hundred years.

  21. For those more inclined to review an audio-visual review of GIC (Ground Induced Currents due to magnetic storm) related subjects: “Effect of geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) on power transformers and power systems” by ABB Customer World

    (First posted on April 29, 2014 at 6:25 am https://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/climate-craziness-of-the-week-un-climate-change-to-effect-computers-communications-prepare-now/#comment-1624405 )

    https://youtu.be/-8OKmlyVeKQ

    • Only when the coronal hole is at the solar equator can a geomagnetic storm be expected. The G2 storm is not dangerous.

  22. These warnings are fine and all, but they start to sound like Y2K predictions or “Iraqi oilfields will be burning for 30 years” or, I don’t know, CAGW!
    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    Live Skeptically…

  23. “Humans have long been shaping Earth’s landscape, but now scientists know we can shape our near-space environment as well. A certain type of communications — very low frequency, or VLF, radio communications — have been found to interact with particles in space, affecting how and where they move. At times, these interactions can create a barrier around Earth against natural high energy particle radiation in space. These results, part of a comprehensive paper on human-induced space weather, were recently published in Space Science Reviews.
    With further study, VLF transmissions may serve as a way to remove excess radiation from the near-Earth environment. Plans are already underway to test VLF transmissions in the upper atmosphere to see if they could remove excess charged particles — which can appear during periods of intense space weather, such as when the sun erupts with giant clouds of particles and energy.”
    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasas-van-allen-probes-spot-man-made-barrier-shrouding-earth

  24. Nobody has mentioned what would happen to nuclear power plants. You don’t just shut those down with a five-minute warning. Or even a whole day warning.

    • Actually, you can shut those things down in just a couple of minutes.
      What you then have to do is provide power for the pumps for the next week or two.
      If the grid isn’t available, they have generators and plenty of fuel for them.

  25. This is a nothingburger aside from a few grid transformers that are this minute on the verge of failure. There is however the real risk that such an event might escalate into a cascading grid failure (from the simultaneity of arcs from faulty component failures, not from the flare itself). And there might be some areas that remain dark because of insufficient supply side planning and delays in transformer manufacturing… so I’d put irreparable damage at slim to none. So the real question is, are we prepared to black-start the grid after such an event? All we have to go on in most places are drills and simulations.

    Antenna-like conductors spanning hundreds of miles on poles astride railroad tracks, such as the straight unshielded telegraph wires that demonstrated Carrington Event effects: none in popular use, no critical infrastructure. We went microwave then fiber years ago. Paths are not long or straight or above ground.

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