13 Apr 10 – A sudden geomagnetic storm from the Sun increased from geomagnetic K-index 4 to a number 7 (out of a possible 10) in just three hours – the strongest such storm in the past 18 months.
Russian scientists on the space observatory Tesis’s website warn that a storm of such strength may “affect global power systems requiring voltage correction and cause false security systems alarms.”
Spacecrafts may be damaged, as well as communication systems and satellite navigation systems. Northern Lights will be observed even in mid-latitudes. Acute cardiovascular diseases are not ruled out. And in fact, exceptionally bright Northern Lights were observed from orbit by astronauts at the International Space Station.
The outburst, which was catastrophically long, had not been forecast.
Scientists stated that “a huge energy that was to be released during the outburst was underestimated. In general, the incident shows that the connection between outbursts on the Sun and emissions of solar matter that causes geomagnetic storms cannot be considered a solved issue of solar physics.”
According to the American classification, it was a strong G3 storm of the last, red, level of danger.
It is hardly likely that the cataclysm will repeat, but it cannot be ruled out completely. Unpredictability of the Sun is scary.
The shocking scenario described by specialists of the American Academy of Sciences does not look that unrealistic. In the report “Severe Space Weather Events–Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report ” they predict maximum solar activity by 2012 and, respectively, strongest outbursts and geomagnetic storms. They envisage that fluctuations will damage high-voltage power lines and transformer substations, which will leave the planet without electricity.
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Thanks to Dr Patrick Collins for this link