Experts Warn Of Prolonged Outages Amid Increased Solar Activity
With most of the world reliant on internet connectivity and other forms of modern technology, an electromagnetic pulse attack disrupting such services could cause widespread societal devastation.
While U.S. agencies and officials around the world are scrambling to defend against such an enemy attack, however, a growing number of experts believe a similar threat is lurking at the center of our solar system.
According to George Mason University professor Peter Becker, the sun is entering a “more active time,” the results of which have not been experienced since the advent of the internet. He is now warning that a coronal mass ejection could cause far-reaching and long-lasting interruptions in the types of technology most people living in developed nations currently take for granted.
NEW: Solar superstorm may shut down internet for months, scientist warnshttps://t.co/9l7Ma6aTvT
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) November 13, 2023
“It’s the first time in human history that there’s been an intersection of increased solar activity with our dependence on the internet and our global economic dependence on the internet,” he advised.
The evidence Becker cites in his warning is a marked increase in the number of solar flares, which he referred to as “the muzzle flash” that portends the “cannon shot” of a CME. If an ejection happens to be directed at Earth, he said humanity would have a maximum of 24 hours’ notice before losing critical connections.
In addition to shutting down personal internet connections, experts warn that a CME could disrupt even systems with seemingly robust protections, including power grids, satellites, and GPS.
These modern forms of technology did not exist during the most serious Earth-bound CME in recent history — the so-called Carrington Event of 1859 — but its impact was nonetheless evident on the systems of the time.
“It actually took out the telegraph system,” Becker said. “Sparks were literally flying off the telegraph lines. Some operators got electrocuted because the wires ended up carrying high voltage, which they were never supposed to do, but the magnetic field variations became so strong it almost became a generator system and drove these currents down telegraph wires.”
He noted that the relatively little advanced warning humans would have in the event of another CME would be enough to take certain steps that could protect satellites and transformers, but he advocated for additional measures before our planet is in the crosshairs of another disastrous solar event.
“You’re talking about hardening the internet,” Becker concluded. “And that’s, of course, an economic challenge because it’s sort of like an insurance policy. You may never need it, and it would cost trillions to really harden the system.”