The next ‘Carrington event’ will likely plunge much of the world into pitch black as the power grids fail — in turn wiping out much of modern humanity.
The catastrophic scenario is not science fiction.
Apparently, there is a one in eight chance that it could happen within 10 years…
Space physicist Pete Riley, senior scientist at Predictive Science in San Diego, published an estimate in Space Weather Journal (FEB-2012) saying, The Earth has a roughly 12 percent chance of experiencing an enormous megaflare erupting from the sun in the next decade.
He said this event could potentially cause $trillions in damage and take up to a decade to recover from.
Such an extreme event is considered to be relatively rare. The last solar superstorm, known as the Carrington Event, occurred more than 150 years ago and was the most powerful such event in recorded history.
“Even if it’s off by a factor of two (the 12% chance of occurring), that’s a much larger number than I thought,” he said.
In his Journal ‘abstract’, Riley writes,
440 nuclear power reactors running short of backup generator fuel before the reactors have time to completely and safely undergo an emergency SCRAM shutdown and subsequent cooling. Surely, some will successfully shut down – but all of them? And to maintain cooling? Probably not.
By virtue of their rarity, extreme space weather events, such as the Carrington event of 1859, are difficult to study, their rates of occurrence are difficult to estimate…
In this study, we analyze several measures of the severity of space weather events…to estimate the probability of occurrence of extreme events.
By showing that the frequency of occurrence scales as an inverse power of the severity of the event, and assuming that this relationship holds at higher magnitudes, we are able to estimate the probability that an event larger than some criteria will occur within a certain interval of time in the future.
For example, the probability of another Carrington event (based on Dst < −850 nT) occurring within the next decade is ∼12%.
According to Mike Hapgood, (space weather scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, England), “Massive solar storms have happened before and another one is likely to occur ‘soon'”. He adds “The world is still not prepared for a truly damaging solar storm”.
I think that most would agree that the world is not prepared (and never will be, given the technological advancements and societal changes brought on by them). Dependence.
In the modern world, we use electricity for so many things. We require electrical power to pump water into people’s houses and to pump the sewage away. You can imagine what could happen if the sewage systems aren’t pumping stuff away.
If you don’t have power, you can’t pump fuel into vehicles. If you don’t have any fuel, traffic could come to a standstill.
Most of the time you’re using credit cards, debit cards or you’ll be getting money out of an ATM. If you’ve lost the power, the computers in the bank that keep track of our money will have back-up power, (for a short while) but not the ATMs or the machines in the shops. So if you had a big power outage, it wouldn’t be long before we’d be trying to find cash.
-LA Times, Space Weather Expert Has Ominous Forecast
At first, people will search for cash in an attempt to buy what they failed to prepare for… food, water, gasoline from those who will actually sell it. It won’t take long though until cash becomes lesser in real value as the commodities of life become the new currency.
What can we do about it?
We can’t stop it (an equivalent Carrington Event).
It is going to happen again .
But we can become more prepared in general.
An event like this would be extremely catastrophic and survival would be in jeopardy for many. Survival would require a high degree of preparedness for a life without electricity and/or a life with only sporadic regions with electricity while society as a whole degenerates into desperation and chaos. It will require living in a location which is more favorable for long term self-sufficient survival.
The solutions are not simple one’s, and the commitment necessary to prepare for ‘pitch black’ is major, to say the least…