Next solar storm, which will inevitably happen, could lead to an “Internet apocalypse”

(ORDO NEWS) — The sun , which gives life to Earth , regularly showers our planet with high-energy charged particles, which are better known as the solar wind.

For the most part, the solar wind does not threaten us in any way, because the Earth has a natural protection – the magnetosphere. Particles hitting the “magnetic shield” are redirected to the poles, causing beautiful auroras.

However, about once every 100 years, the solar wind is replaced by a powerful solar storm, and the consequences of such extreme space weather can be extremely dire for our society.

A real solar threat

A powerful solar storm can disable most communications satellites, damage ground communications and plunge humanity into an “Internet apocalypse.” Large sections of society, business, transport, social institutions, industry and government can be disconnected for weeks or months.

Humanity, which essentially lives for one day, prefers to ignore potential threats, even if they are capable of causing serious damage. In the case of the pandemic, we saw how unprepared our society turned out to be, which in panic made irrational decisions that often only exacerbated the problem.

“Our infrastructure, in its current state, is not ready for a large-scale solar storm,” said study author Sangeeta Abdu Jyoti of the University of California, Irvine.

The solar storm is a real threat, not a figment of the imagination. In modern history, two such events were recorded – in 1859 and 1921. A century-old storm caused telegraph wires to burn, long-distance communications were disrupted, and auroras – usually seen at the Earth’s poles – were observed even near the equator.

A relatively small storm in March 1989 knocked out the power grid of the Canadian province of Quebec for a third of the day.

next solar storm which will inevitably happen could lead to an Internet apocalypse 2

Big problems

Today, when absolutely everything is connected with the Internet and mobile communications, we risk knowing the “domino principle” as never before.

Long cables that run underwater and connect continents are equipped with repeaters to amplify the signal. If the cables themselves are hardly affected by geomagnetically induced currents, then repeaters are a very weak point. A powerful solar storm can cut off countries from each other, disrupt banking systems and the entire Internet. It can take months to recover.

“The minor internet disruptions we see in the US every day cause $ 7 billion in damage,” added Abdou Jyoti. “What will happen if the Internet does not work for several days or even months?”

When scientists learn about the next solar storm, which is inevitable, humanity will have about 13 hours to prepare for its impact.

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