Solar storm could cause planetary disaster at any time, warn scientists

By | March 31, 2009

sun The Government was urged today to make contingency plans for a freak solar flare that could ‘knock out’ the National Grid and create severe water and food shortages.

Labour former minister Graham Stringer said Britain should be prepared for a repeat of the solar storm of 1859, which hit Earth and paralysed much of the telegraph system.

In a Commons motion, Mr Stringer said such an event could now ‘knock out the National Grid, which would lead to a loss of water supply, transport and food and therefore create a national emergency’.

The so-called ‘Carrington event’ was a magnetic storm that struck Earth in 1859 and caused the failure of telegraph systems all over Europe and North America. Auroras were reportedly seen as far south as Florida.

Now a report funded by NASA claims such a storm today would lead to ‘planetary disaster.’

The NAS study released this January outlined the devastating impact it would have. For instance it could leave half of the US without power within 90 seconds, without coal after 30 days and would take the country a decade to recover.

via Solar storm could cause planetary disaster at any time, warn scientists | Mail Online.

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