If a huge solar eruption in 2012 had hit the Earth, the effects would have been so devastating that we’d still be recovering several years later, scientists working on several new studies conclude.
A huge coronal mass ejection — a large cloud of hot plasma sent into space — erupted from the sun on July 23, 2012. The CME went through Earth’s orbit, and had it happened only one week earlier, our planet would have been in the way and faced severe technological consequences. Within 6 months, which coincides with December 21, 2012, there would have been a total collapse of society. The world would not have ended, but life would surely have digressed by several centuries until we could have once again recovered our technology.
There would have been three waves of damage associated with the extreme solar storm. First, X-rays and ultraviolet radiation from the solar flare would have produced radio blackouts and GPS navigation errors. The second part would have seen satellites fried by energetic particles like electrons and protons, which arrived only minutes to hours later
Finally, magnetized plasma from the CME would have struck our planet within the next day. Power blackouts could have been devastating, making it difficult to even flush the toilet because most urban areas use electric water pumps.
“I have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did,” Daniel Baker at the University of Colorado, who led a study of the storm in Space Weather
Similarly, An electromagnetic bomb or E-bomb is a weapon designed to disable electronics with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that can couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges by electromagnetic induction. The effects are usually not noticeable beyond 10 km of the blast radius unless the device is nuclear or specifically designed to produce an electromagnetic pulse. Small nuclear weapons detonated at high altitudes can produce a strong enough signal to disrupt or damage electronics many miles from the locus of the explosion. During a nuclear EMP, the magnetic flux lines of the Earth alter the dispersion of energy so that it radiates very little to the North, but spreads out East, West, and South of the blast. The signal is divided into several time components, and can result in thousands of volts per meter of electromagnetic energy ranging from extreme negative to extreme positive polarities. This energy can travel long distances on power lines and through the air.
These are the two most likely dangers that could destroy our way of life as we know it on earth. Either event could wipe out all our communications and technological equipment we have, rendering all our technology useless for years.
The last CME event took place in 1859 and destroyed practically all telegraph communications in the United States. At that particular period in times, telegraph was the only means of electronic communication available, and did very little to disrupt the life of the average person. Today, it is entirely different.
There is not one element of our life that isn’t controlled by electronics, from cooking your morning breakfast to our national defense. If we were struck with an Electromagnetic Pulse or a coronal mass ejection, we could be crippled, unable to function and perform the simplest of tasks.
It is just a matter of time before another CME strikes, they happen all the time, if the planet is in the wrong place at the wrong time, it will happen and there is nothing we can do about it.
We can protect ourselves from the CME, it is possible to beef up our power grid so it would not be affected by it, the cost would be abut 30 billion dollars, chicken feed in today’s world.
It can be done, the problem is getting congress to move and solve the problem. Government never acts until there is a disaster, and then it is to late.
Our national defenses can protect us from an EMP, but it would take an act of congress to protect us from CMEs.
Just a little common sense could solve this problem.