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Old 08-22-2010, 09:32 PM   #1
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Default Massive solar storm in 2012 could wipe out power grid

http://examiner.com/weather-in-alban...out-power-grid

NASA: Massive solar storm in 2012 could wipe out power grid

* August 21st, 2010 11:49 pm

NASA is warning this week that a solar storm currently underway on the surface of the sun is projected to hit earth in 2012. But unlike the coronal mass ejection that provided views of the aurora borealis at lower latitudes than normal earlier this month, this solar storm could be so powerful it may wipe out the power grid on the entire planet.

NASA says that other geomagnetic storms occurred back in 1859 and 1921, wiping out telegraph wires completely. The storm in 2012 is expected to be even more severe, possibly leaving humans without transportation, communication, or power. This could have a profound effect on the world economy and hold us hostage in a power-less electrical gridlock.

Could this be the 2012 phenomenon that marks the so-called end of the world or other similar catastrophe?
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:55 PM   #2
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:31 PM   #3
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I'm rather skeptical of the "in 2012" part of the headline. I don't think this is the sort of thing we're currently able to predict two years out.

But on the other hand, if you replace "in 2012" with "eventually", I think it's just a matter of time. When a few hundred transformers, power plants, etc., get knocked out on the same day, we're going to be hard pressed to get everything up and running to the level that everyone seems to think of as "normal".

For me, an extended power outage would be an annoyance and a major inconvenience. Unforuantely, for some people, it would be much more than that. And even worse, there is a larger number of people who would perceive it as much worse than that.

As far as I can tell, this is about the most likely event to lead to TEOTWAWKI. Eventually, things would get back to normal, but it would be a different normal.
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:36 PM   #4
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I think if this had as much truth as the story suggests, it would be *much* bigger news. It would make the ridiculous Y2K preparations look like nothing. Something this big would not be ignored by the media or governments.

I'm gonna call BS sensationalization on this one.
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:14 PM   #5
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Hmm, the article states that NASA has been studying this since 2006... during the last solar maximum. I'm not sure if the solar max for the current (just started) sunspot cycle will be reached by then, but it's a certainty that it's gonna be a LOT busier on the sun than it has been. Worth keeping an eye on...

rc, I don't think you understand what a Carrington-level event would do to our world... technologically speaking, it could knock us back 300 years easily, and unless there was a capacity to create electric generators the old fashioned way (via old fashioned forges and hand-mechanically powered tools) it's possible we could easily stay there for a verrrryyyy long time... one of those low probability-high impact events you here about now and again...

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Old 08-23-2010, 12:46 AM   #6
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Arrow

It would not 'knock us back 300 years'. We would have all the same technological knowledge after the event as we did the day before it started. What would happen is a near-total shutdown of all of our technology-based systems. The result would chaos, and very likely the death of millions if not billions of people.

Our urban areas cannot sustain themselves without the food and energy distribution system, transportation, water, sewage and other systems we have in place. All of those would come grinding to halt and just stop working. Panic, rioting and out of control crime would quickly set in. Starvation and disease would soon follow. The government and military could not help because they, too, would be paralyzed and totally overwhelmed. The economy would not collapse. Economic activity would simply become moot as the only important thing would be day to day hand-to-mouth survival. It would be Mad Max time for years afterwards for the survivors, until a workable industrial, agricultural and economic base could be restarted.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:53 AM   #7
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Well, yes, I understand. As o6 points out, in may ways, it's worse than getting knocked back 300 years. (Actually, it would only knock us back a hundred years or so.)

Like I said, for me, life without electricity wouldn't be catastrophic in itself. It's the side effects that I'm worried about.

A lot of people live in buildings that are basically uninhabitable without electric power. The water, sewer, etc., depend on electricity. Eventually, you can patch all of those things back together, one at a time. And eventually, you can get the replacement parts manufactured to get everything else replaced.

But in the meantime, a lot of people are going to suffer and die.

I'm not sure how low the probability is. It happened 150 years ago, so it seems plausible that it will happen within a given lifetime.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:57 AM   #8
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Brihard is exactly right....

Quote:
I think if this had as much truth as the story suggests, it would be *much* bigger news. It would make the ridiculous Y2K preparations look like nothing. Something this big would not be ignored by the media or governments.

I'm gonna call BS sensationalization on this one.
Click on the link to NASA for the January 2009 informational release on which this article is based (the word study in the first line of the article).

The tone of that release is far less alarmist than the article we are reading. It states there is no timetable for the next occurence of such an event. The date 2012 is not mentioned.

Suggestions are made for preparation for and management of such a crisis. The ongoing research involved is described.

Hack Bren McGrady has pulled up this year and a half old informational release and sensationalized the information and out and out LIED about it........

And here we are giving his effort credence by even discussing it........

Read the bio of this small town weather reporter to see how eminently unqualified he is on the subject.....

http://examiner.com/weather-in-albany/brent-mcgrady

And take a good look at his goofy face.....



I suspect we might find something else to worry about.

OH
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:28 AM   #9
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meanwhile, there are no sunspots today......

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Old 08-23-2010, 03:36 AM   #10
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To me it looks like its going to blow up
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:20 AM   #11
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To me it looks like its going to blow up
A star is a thermonuclear explosion, held in place by its own gravity.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:50 AM   #12
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Never thought of that
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:30 AM   #13
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They can't accurately predict the weather a week out, and they can predict this for two years from now? Call me a skeptic.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:49 AM   #14
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Grrrr. Everytime I see these headlines, I just want to scream at somebody:

1. Yes, someday, there's going to be another Carrington Event. Get over it.

2. No one can predict when it's going to happen. You'll have about as much warning as you did for Katrina -- 3 days or so -- and even then it'll be dicey as to how powerful it will be when it gets here, and how strong or widespread the effect will be.

3. The 2012 thing? REALLY overblowing it. First of all, due to the recent extended solar minimum, the next solar maximum is predicted for 2013, not 2012. Secondly, I saw that movie, and the sun had very little to do with it -- it was all about Earth Crust Displacement and Cataclysmic Pole Shift.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:52 AM   #15
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ask experts for their subjective estimates of the damage
(expectation value) caused by 2012 solar storms

do insurances insure against such damage ?
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:15 AM   #16
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do insurances insure against such damage ?
If there is a Carrington-type event, then IMHO, it will be irrelevant whether or not you possess a piece of paper saying that an insurance company will cover your losses.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:43 AM   #17
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I'm not sure how low the probability is. It happened 150 years ago, so it seems plausible that it will happen within a given lifetime.
Analysis of ice-core samples suggests that Carrington-level events happen about once every 500 years, on average. Statistically speaking, we should not expect one for another 350 years. But this is a random event like an earthquake and not predictable given our current state of knowledge.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:44 AM   #18
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A star is a thermonuclear explosion, held in place by its own gravity.


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Old 08-23-2010, 11:55 AM   #19
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Analysis of ice-core samples suggests that Carrington-level events happen about once every 500 years, on average. Statistically speaking, we should not expect one for another 350 years. But this is a random event like an earthquake and not predictable given our current state of knowledge.
I guess that's kind of what I'm getting at when I say "plausible". If we get one, on average, every 350 years, that means that during any given lifetime, there's about a 1 in 5 chance of it happening.

Given the potential for disaster, it seems to me that it's the sort of thing where we ought to do at least some rudimentary planning an preparation.

I suspect the chance of a tornado hitting my house during my lifetime is considerably less than 1 in 5. But still, we have tornado sirens.

The only difference is that with tornados, we know that a small number of people will be affected every year, rather than a large number of people affected only rarely.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:14 PM   #20
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It would not 'knock us back 300 years'. We would have all the same technological knowledge after the event as we did the day before it started. What would happen is a near-total shutdown of all of our technology-based systems. The result would chaos, and very likely the death of millions if not billions of people.
And where is all that knowledge stored? Better than 90% (WAG on my part) is stored on a computer hard drive nowadays, and there's precious little hands-on knowledge of practical crafts skills still out there... e.g. how many people do you know that can rewind an electric motor? Or can draw the wire needed to make said motor? Or can actually smelt the copper ore to make the wire with?

When the Carrington Event happened, electricity was still being generated using batteries, Tesla still hadn't invented the dynamo... the solar storm fried out telegraphs, which are dead-simple devices... a motor or dynamo would be fried beyond repair in no time (fused parts) and would be incredibly hard to rebuild without parts already on hand. In some cases, that does exist, but there's no guarantee that things would snap back to anything resembling "normal"...
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Our urban areas cannot sustain themselves without the food and energy distribution system, transportation, water, sewage and other systems we have in place. All of those would come grinding to halt and just stop working. Panic, rioting and out of control crime would quickly set in. Starvation and disease would soon follow. The government and military could not help because they, too, would be paralyzed and totally overwhelmed. The economy would not collapse. Economic activity would simply become moot as the only important thing would be day to day hand-to-mouth survival. It would be Mad Max time for years afterwards for the survivors, until a workable industrial, agricultural and economic base could be restarted.
I rest my case... we would plunge into a new Dark Ages, and methinks it would take centuries to come back to the level we lived at in 1900...

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Old 08-23-2010, 12:17 PM   #21
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If a Carrington-level event happened now, what would happen is exactly what 06 described above. Chaos, and the probable death of millions if not billions. It would be Mad Max time for years afterwards. The 4million inhabitants of a city like Houston begin to go hungry after the power has been out for about 4 days. We know this from recent experience with Hurricane Ike. By the 4th day after the power went out, there were people in the poor Third Ward section who were totally without access to food. Stores and restaurants were closed, and apparently lots of poor people don't have more than 3 days worth of food at home.

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Old 08-23-2010, 12:29 PM   #22
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Note: when the power goes out, most gas stations stop working. So the 4million inhabitants of a city like Houston are stuck where they are. We also learned this in Ike.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:07 PM   #23
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Major metro areas have virtually zero survivability with no electrical power. Nonexistent food, water, sewage waste disposal, and much more all mean bigger cites will have fatality rates approaching 9 out of 10. Having no water, alone, will swiftly kill off a probable majority of inhabitants, long before the inevitable epidemics and starvation.

And since the entire country will be in chaos and fighting to survive, who will even try to rescue a city, assuming there was any ability to do so whatsoever?
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:01 PM   #24
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Note: when the power goes out, most gas stations stop working. So the 4million inhabitants of a city like Houston are stuck where they are. We also learned this in Ike.
That is a plus...keep your car tank filled to get to your place or a friends that isn't in the city.

Will it melt wire sitting in yards on spools?
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:17 PM   #25
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Your cars electronics will be fried as well as the grid. What would you do with the gas? Unless you have an old vehicle, somewhere from the 40s to the early 60s should keep running.
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