This week, a huge hole has appeared in the Sun’s corona. Specifically in the southern hemisphere. And when I say huge, it’s huge. It is estimated that it is around 300,000 or 400,000 km wide. That is, it has enough space to fit three dozen Earths like ours.
Well, that hole has consequences.
Welcome to solar cycle 25. A cycle characterized by a more than considerable activity of spots and solar eruptions. But the current hole has taken the cake and has caused a solar storm that, according to what the latest observations say, is already among us.
Despite the fact that the forecasts of the Space Weather Prediction Center spoke of a G3 (strong) geomagnetic storm, NOAA explained that, although during the last hours of March 23 there could be a G1 level solar storm, on Friday the 24th it would be G2 level. Be that as it may, its effects began yesterday and will last until at least the 26th.
Consequences? Yes, although not very serious. We are talking about voltage variations in the electrical network and intermittent disturbances in the GPS System. In addition, all satellites will have to be monitored in low-Earth orbit because they could slightly change their motion, speed, and trajectory.
Auroras, many auroras. Although we are not expected to suffer much from the consequences of this storm, the disturbance of the planet’s magnetic field has already left a trail of spectacular northern lights in countries such as Canada, Alaska, Russia, Norway, Greenland or Scotland.
Beyond the dawns and the problems. The arrival of another geomagnetic storm hides good news and bad news. The good news is that our systems work. The bad news is that it reminds us that we are not ready for the next big storm.
In 2008, the US National Academy of Sciences published a report studying what would happen if a storm like the one in September 1859 (the Carrington event) occurred today. The conclusions were devastating: such an event would produce an unprecedented disruption in the world’s social, political and economic metabolism. Much greater than that of the pandemic.
Satellites, power grids, and electronic devices would be out of the question. And with them, the logistics networks for food and supplies would collapse. The total damage, in the best of cases, is estimated between one and two trillion euros. In the best case.
We are still not prepared. The problem is that we haven’t made much progress since then. We have tried, but the results have been mixed. So much so that, as the European Commission said, the “unjustifiable absence, still today, of emergency plans” for solar storms does not make any sense. It’s worth this storm not to lose sight of him.
In Xataka | We are not yet ready for the next big solar storm and we should start taking it seriously
Image | POT
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