Archive for Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sunspots may cause problems for Earth

May 9, 2009

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— When the sun sneezes, it’s Earth that gets sick.

It’s time for the sun to move into a busier period for sunspots, and while forecasters expect a relatively mild outbreak by historical standards, one major solar storm can cause havoc with satellites and electrical systems here.

Like hurricanes, a weak cycle refers to the number of storms, but it only takes one powerful storm to create chaos, said scientist Doug Biesecker of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s space weather prediction center.

A report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a storm as severe as one in 1859 occurred today, it could cause $1 trillion to $2 trillion in damage the first year and take four to 10 years to recover.

The 1859 storm shorted out telegraph wires, causing fires in North America and Europe, sent readings of Earth’s magnetic field soaring, and produced northern lights so bright that people read newspapers by their light.

Today there’s a lot more than telegraph lines at stake. Vulnerable electrical grids circle the globe, and satellites now vital for all forms of communications can be severely disrupted along with the global positioning system. Indeed, the panel warned that a strong blast of solar wind can threaten national security, transportation, financial services and other essential functions.

While the most extreme events seem unlikely this time, there will probably be smaller scale disruptions to electrical service, airline flights, GPS signals and television, radio and cell phones.

Comments

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

It’s time for the sun to move into a busier period for sunspots, and while forecasters expect a relatively mild outbreak by historical standards, one major solar storm can cause havoc with satellites and electrical systems here.


In other words, we're not predicting any kind of high sun spot activity ...

*but we're all gonna die!"

no longer swine flu, now the killer sun spots?

geekin_topekan 6 years ago

Don't forget the bees! Killer bees! Oh yeah, and the Armadillers of Death!

Boston_Corbett 6 years ago

Yea Gnome, this should be right up Marion's alley.

How is he going to try to scare the bejeebers out of us on this one?

After all, his flu has kill bajillions by now. So few of us left to be scared.

Maybe if you put one of his N95 masks over each eye you just wont see the sunspots. And he can move his hoard.

And stay off those sunspot trade-routes. Big killers they are.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Cover yourself with that SPF 2000 sunscreen, otherwise known as peanut butter. If you have peanut allergies, it's been good to know you.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

OMG, LMAO!

Oh yeah, and the Armadillers of Death!

he said the "armadillers of death!" Run away!


yeah, Boston, maybe marioni can patent a special foil hat to protect from the killer sunspots! and you know, you and I must be two of the few live people left in the U.S. after the pandemic/epidemic/killer pestilence that has whiped out most americans!

you keep your head down and don't go anywhere Boston! they'll try to infect you at "swine flu parties" [no, not making that one up!]


snap, is that special peanutbutter? crunchy or smooth? organic, grind it yourself?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years ago

Solar warming. Who do we blame for that?

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

The solar rays follow the trade routes and we will all die, until tomorrow when I change my mind and write it all off to fear monger media types.

and you know, there's gotta be a way to blame George W. Bush for this! I mean he caused hurrican Katrina, so killer sun spots is nuthin'.

meanwhile, Obama and Obamamama are all dressed up and at the whitehouse correspondents' dinner!

how much you wanna bet the whitehouse is outfitted with protection from killer sun spots!

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