pitch-black-grid-down
NATURAL THREATS

Pitch Black And The Next Carrington Event

pitch-black-grid-down

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,

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%.

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.

 
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…

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22 Comments

  1. A geomagnetic storm of the magnitude experienced during the Carrington Event would be catastrophic to say the least. The affected areas, potentially most of the world, would nearly instantly be plunged a hundred years in the past. Billions would die, nuclear meltdowns are guaranteed and what follows would be horrific at the least.

    I hope and pray that the PTB are preparing or have prepared for what we know to be an eventuality. To not do so is nothing short of suicidal.

    Fukushima and TEPCO have already killed the Pacific ocean, so what happens when St. Lucie and Turkey Point in Miami melt down in to the Atlantic?

    Humans are the ONLY species that regularly destroys their own habitat.

  2. A Carrington Event wont necessarily hit the entire planet. whatever hemisphere is facing the event (blast from sun)when it happens will be effected. similar to a solar eclipse. only wider and larger in scale. pray you are on the dark side of the earth when this event happens.

    1. Often wondered about this speculation. Since the affect is on the magnetosphere, which surrounds the planet, I don’t know how secure one would be. I think I’ll investigate a little.

    2. Actually, a Carrington Event probably would affect the entire planet because it is not a single pulse event, but instead the electro-magnet particle energy waves of the CME would probably last as long as or up to several days. Enough for several revolutions of the earth. As to whether or not all of the electrical power systems will be equaly affected, probably not. But we won’t know for sure until that day.

  3. While I am all in favor of being prepared, here is some info from Nat Geo’s website dated 3/2/2011 for your consideration.

    What If the Biggest Solar Storm on Record Happened Today?

    “Improved predictions will provide more accurate forecasts, so [officials] can take mitigating actions,” said Rodney Viereck, a physicist at the Space Weather Prediction Center.

    Even now, the center’s Bogdan said, the most damaging emissions from big storms travel slowly enough to be detected by sun-watching satellites well before the particles strike Earth. “That gives us [about] 20 hours to determine what actions we need to take,” Viereck said.

    In a pinch, power companies could protect valuable transformers by taking them offline before the storm strikes. That would produce local blackouts, but they wouldn’t last for long.

    “The good news is that these storms tend to pass after a couple of hours,” Bogdan added.

    1. As an example, during the March-1989 solar geomagnetic storm which knocked out part of the grid and burnt up EHV transformers in Quebec, the magnetometer (geomagnetic storm) was wildly fluctuating for a solid 24 hours (or more) as seen in the following chart:

      GOES-7 satellite data, March 13,14 1989

      This was the result of a very large, X15-class, solar flare on March 9 – which took 3 1/2 days for its CME’s charged particles to reach Earth.

      Evidently some of these storms last a few hours while others – much more.

    2. Earth is moving and spinning as any such storm hits. Some areas would likely be affected less severely than others.

      Some people think Africa would be less affected, due to it’s relatively primitive culture. OTOH, most of Africa is completely dependent upon outside inputs and aid.

  4. colomtns, I’m wondering exactly which politicians are gonna have the courage
    to turn off the lights in New York city ???

    1. Satori, that’s a good point and that’s one of the many reasons I live in Colorado.

  5. The loss of GPS satellites will cause a huge interruption to daily life on earth. A CME not even close to the size of the Carrington flare can bring down the GPS system.

  6. Who would survive? Those that don’t need electricity.
    Think of the most backwards parts of the world.
    Oh, some of us would get by for a while. But we would run out of food and gas in weeks.
    Best place to be is where it’s warm.
    Picture everyone in the US and Canada moving to Florida.

    1. And then picture a major hurricane without modern warning systems. How long can you tread water?

    2. Actually people have lived far north before the invention of electricity. Most people today wouldn’t know how to survive in the extremes that we now live with in the north, so yes I believe large portions of those people who survive the initial event just may head south. In the process wipe out resources on their way. Frankly I think it would be better to stay put and learn to adjust to a new way of life. As people around you vacate the area, you are more likely to have more resources at your disposal. Having a stable roof over your head is preferable to being a refugee.

      1. I agree fully with your assessment. It will be an advantage to those who already live in the north such that many non-adapting people might attempt to head south. Surviving up north will require additional and sometimes different skills than those of a more moderate climate. Probably more work in general and more efficient use of one’s time. A shorter growing season requires more food in a shorter period of time, and more food preservation and storage for non-producing months. Sources of heat. Etc..

    3. There are many places in the colder northern climes that have little to no access to electricity even now. In many rural areas, indoor plumbing and electricity have been around less than sixty years. Maybe the city folk and suburbanites will migrate, but I suspect most of the out-state, rural folks will stay put.

      Besides, FL? Surviving there without electricity is far, far harder than Up North. Ridiculous heat and humidity, poisonous flora and fauna, perfect breeding ground for disease and infections…you go right ahead. LOL

  7. Thanks for the informative article. I think we would all agree that we should be prepared for longer term grid down conditions. However, I am having my doubts about some of the numbers, which even the author admits to being “fuzzy.” Too many of these “studies” are designed to produce the results they would like to champion. Just saying…

    I think the probability of a terrorist attack on the system is far more likely and would likely produce the same result (though not global).

    Witness the event occurring last April outside of San Jose, CA, which was under-reported at the time and basically written off to “vandalism.” I think it very well could have been some sort of “test run” by a small terror cell. Does anyone know how many “jihadis” are already training and rehearsing here in this country, having crossed our southern border as OTMs?

    (reported here on Feb 6, 2014)

    Power Grid Attack

  8. A few days after such an event, 700 reactors would melt down – in the US alone.

    They need to be shut down now.

    1. 700? Only if we import a bunch.

      There are about 100 commercial nuclear plants in the US. So, let’s add another 100 for research (way high). Where are the other 500?

      Responding to a political (drivel) post…

  9. Great article. There are things we can do to harden our grid against man-made and natural EMP threats, direct-fire threats and cyber attacks for the cost of 2 billion or less. Small price to pay to keep the lights (and environmental controls) on for most of modern society.

    Former CIA Director James Woolsey has formed an EMP Commission with other very smart experts in missle defense and other disciplines to induce our nation to wake up to this existential threat. He chaired a panel on this issue in July 2013 and the video is below. It is very well worth your time to watch it at 1 hr 14 min long; very informative and gives us a way ahead:

    https://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2013/07/30/jim-woolsey-electromagnetic-pulse-emp-is-existential-threat-to-america/

    We have had several near misses on this issue:

    – 1859: Carrington Event

    – 1989: Quebec 12 hr power outage

    – Apr 2013: terrorist dry-run attack (definitely not vandalism) on San Jose, CA transmission station that powers Silicon Valley

    – on/a Jun 2013: planet Earth missed a very powerful X-Class Flare (CME) that scientists deemed as powerful as the Carrington Event CME by two weeks as it orbited the Sun

    – on/a Jul 2013: two surface-to-air missiles (SAMS) that were nuclear capable were found on functional launchers buried under sugar bags on a North Korean freighter bound for Cuba at a Panama stop. These could have easily been fit with nuclear weapons and possibly launched above the US to cause an EMP event

    – on/a Jan 2014: Iran launched (admittedly creaky) small ships as a show of force in the vicinity of U.S. waters–could be construed as a probe to see how close they could get to launch an EMP nuke once they develop them

    Former Director Woolsey lays out clearly how the U.S is vulernable to missle launch that comes from the South Pole; all our assets look North. Also a weatherballoon launch with a nuke would be just as effective.

    Congress has stalled the SHIELD ACT, which would essentially fund hardening of our grid, but the power company lobby is fighting this as of this writing. Woolsey estimates it would only cost each power consumer in the U.S. an extra $.20 per bill for a year to fund hardening; power companies don’t want to do this.

    Some of the States are pushing their own efforts, despite gridlock in Washington D.C. Maine has already passed legislation and leads the Union in this effort.

    I highly recommend you all educate the populace in your communities to push on both sides (State and Federal) to get the SHIELD ACT pushed through, before it is too late.