Nasa is warning that the world could face massive widespread blackouts, travel problems and damage to our power grids beginning in 2012-2013. Coming solar storms could cause a devastating blow to our power grid, causing trillions of dollars in damage that could take up to a decade to repair.
Three years ago The National Academy of Sciences warned that a powerful solar storm could cause “twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina”. They went on to say that the solar activity could completely knock out power grids, GPS navigation, banking and financial systems, air travel, & radio communications. Everyday items such as cell phones, computers and other personal electronic devices will also be damaged.
How can you prepare for such a worldwide catastrophy? There’s not much you can do about the electrical companies power grid (although they are preparing the best they can), but you can prepare your home and family for a super solar storm.
Right now, think of everything in your home that requires electricity. Like our use of water (your well pump, or if you are on city water your water company uses electricty to run their pumps and operate their valves), our dependency upon electricity is staggering. If possible every home emergency plan should include a properly protected solar power system. Even then as a backup (or as a second option) consider stockpiling propane to heat, cook, and cool with. Propane will be the new electricity after a solar storm, but without the infrastructer to keep it flowing your supplies will be limited to what you can store. Having sustainable hardwoods on your property is the only guaranteed source of power you can depend on long term.
Water is an extremely important commodity, as you use it every day for everything from cooking, drinking, bathing and sanitation. You may be surprised by the amount of water required to perform everyday tasks. Take a look at the average daily water usage for some common activities:
- Brushing teeth = 1 gallon
- Washing hands = 1 quart
- Taking a bath = 35-40 gallons
- Taking a shower = 5 gallons per minute
- Laundry = 19-45 gallons
- Washing dishes = 10-15 gallons
Amazing, isn’t it? Post-electricity such wasteful use of water can not exist unless you have an endless supply (lake, river, etc) on hand. If you have no sustainable source of water avaliable, do you have enough clean water stored for your entire family? I recommend you invest in a heavy-duty water barrel made of polyethylene. You can purchase barrels that store 15-55 gallons of water. Store these containers in a dark and cool area, add some bleach (1 teaspoon per 5 gallons), and rotate your water storage every few months for freshness.
Food equals life so it makes sense to store food. Every family has different nutrition and dietary needs, so you may be struggling with finding the right food for your family. Only you know what your family needs, and you are responsible for meeting those needs, especially when a disaster, financial crisis or family emergency occurs. Collect items for your food storage supply now! You could purchase an entire year supply at once, or you could begin gradually to build your emergency preparedness supply by purchasing a few number 10 cans of freeze-dried or dehydrated food a week or month and picking up a few extra cans of food each time you visit the grocery store. I prefer the later option. You can buy an entire years worth of food for $5/week over 52 weeks for one person.
Choose foods your family will eat, and prepare meals from that food storage. Not only will you know what items to buy more of, you will also know how to cook with freeze-dried foods and dehydrated foods.
Communication is crucial during a time of disaster, but since phones and radios primarily rely on electricity, this first link to help and information is often unavailable. In your emergency preparedness supply, you should have a Crank Or Solar Powered Radio/Flashlight on hand, or extra batteries for the one you currently have. You may even consider purchasing several Quality, Long-Range Walkie-Talkies and giving one to each family member. An off grid CB Radio Base Station is also a great way to communicate to others.
Taking survival and emergency preparedness classes is also an excellent idea, and it would be a great family activity. We recommend you and your family participate in a ham radio certification course. Ham radio, or amateur radio, may take a while to learn how to operate, and you must have a license, but during an emergency, this can be one of the only ways to get help.
Build a Faraday Cage
All these neat gadgets won’t do you any good if they get fried too. A Faraday cage is an enclosure of conducting material that blocks out external static electric fields. If the conductor is thick enough, and the holes are smaller than the incoming electromagnetic radiation’s wavelength, then that radiation won’t be able to pass through. This is the reason why phones don’t work in some buildings and lifts, why microwaves don’t cook you when you stand in front of them.
You can make yourself a Faraday cage fairly easy. I’ve included a video below that explains the process. Make sure you ground it properly and store all your precious electronic equipment inside it.
Money And Currency
Almost all modern banking is conducted electronically. While banks have vaults full of ingots and other valuables, your cash actually exists in a database, albeit one that’s backed up in multiple locations across the world, so that a disaster that’s confined to a local area can’t cause too many problems that won’t be resolved by a swift restoration of a backup.
However, that policy doesn’t work for global events. If that database, along with all its backups, gets wiped by a particularly nasty solar flare, then so does your money. Get it out of the bank, and in a safer, more physical place instead. Bury it in the garden, hide it in your roof, or stuff it under the mattress. Just get it out of the electronic database and into cold hard cash.
This is a double edged sword. Have a running vehicle can be a real blessing in a major SHTF situation, however having the ONLY running vehicle in town is like pointing a big red target on your back. If you do choose to keep a vehicle running (a great idea to at least have) then you will need an older vehicle, preferably a diesel. Look for a vehicle before electronic ignitions with a point system. Keep a backup starter, alternator, and solenoid in your Faraday cage and know how to put them on.
While mostly the talk of 2012 conspiracy theorists and Mayan predictors (mostly due to the timing of the event), the science remains that our solar system is passing through an intersteller energy cloud that could cause the Earth and the Sun to be charged with higher than usual energy particles. These particles could excite our Sun enough to cause extreme X-class solar storms.
”A strong, highly-tilted interstellar magnetic field near the Solar System,” published the December 24, 2009 issue of Nature, a highly respected scientific journal, M. Opher et al report on data transmitted from Voyager, the twin spacecraft that have been exploring the outer reaches of the Solar System.
“We have discovered a strong magnetic field just outside the solar system. This magnetic field holds the interstellar energy cloud together and solves the long-standing puzzle of how it can exist at all,” says Opher, a NASA Heliophysics Guest Investigator from George Mason University. He explains that this energy cloud is at least twice as strong as had previously been predicted and that the Solar System has begun to pass into it, adding that this field “is turbulent or has a distortion in the solar vicinity.”
Dr. Alexei Dmitriev, an esteemed Russian space physicist concludes, based on his team’s analysis of Voyager data, that the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are inexplicably excited — immense storms, mammoth eruptions, plasma arcs jetting from the planets’ surface to their moons. He reasoned that this turbulence is caused by an external injection of energy into the planets’ atmospheres: to wit, an interstellar energy cloud which the leading edge of the Solar System has now entered.
The Nature article does not examine the earthly ramifications of moving into the energy cloud beyond suggesting that we could face an increase in cosmic rays, which could affect everything from space travel to rainfall. But the prescient Dmitriev, who has been publishing on the subject for the past fifteen years, observes that passage into this interstellar cloud has already begun to perturb the Sun, causing solar outbursts that are leading to hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanoes of unprecedented ferocity here on Earth. He is on record as predicting that we will face global catastrophe in “not tens but ones of years.” When pressed, Dmitriev guesstimates that the Solar System will remain within this turbulent energy cloud for something on the order of three millennia.
While I cannot vouch for Dr Dmitriev or his predictions of global catastrophy, NASA is warning the public to prepare for a, “once in a lifetime super solar storm event” between 2011-2013. This event can start at anytime with little to no warning. NASA’s Heliophysics Division said: “We know it’s coming but we don’t know how bad it’s going to be.” Power companies are preparing for solar storm surges worldwide after the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a 100+ page report detailing the grave vulnerability of the electrical power grid to solar blasts, which, by scientific consensus, are next expected to climax in late 2012 or early 2013.
The NAS concludes that up to 130 million people could find themselves without electricity for months or years due to solar mega-storms shorting out the grid. Without telecommunications, water or gasoline (the pumps are electric), refrigeration, and basic law enforcement or military security, civilization as we know it would be brought to its knees.
Are you ready and know what to expect, let alone how to prepare? Do you know how to make a special safe room to protect you and family from prolong electromagnetic radiation which can be deadly? Do you understand that most anything electronic will no longer work? This effects computers, phones, satellites, hospitals, even the electronic ignition system for cars and trucks.
Do you know what steps to take to protect your car from permanently breaking down from a powerful super solar storm? A super solar storm would knock out most power world wide and take years to repair, costing over $2 trillion in damages world wide. Are you prepared with at least twelve to twenty four months of previsions for food, water, medicine and heating?
A killer super solar storm would lock down modern countries like the United States, Europe, Asia, and Canada for months. Are you aware of that countries like the U.S. have an Anti Hoarding Act that effects you during a national crises? Are you ready to fend for yourself as food stores most likely will not be in operation for months because of looters, gangs and no power, and especially a lack of food supplies?
(Reuters) – Three large explosions from the Sun over the past few days have prompted U.S. government scientists to caution users of satellite, telecommunications and electric equipment to prepare for possible disruptions over the next few days.
”The magnetic storm that is soon to develop probably will be in the moderate to strong level,” said Joseph Kunches, a space weather scientist at the Space Weather Prediction Center, a division of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He said solar storms this week could affect communications and global positioning system (GPS) satellites and might even produce an aurora visible as far south as Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Major disruptions from solar activity are rare but have had serious impacts in the past. In 1989, a solar storm took down the power grid in Quebec, Canada, leaving about six million people without power for several hours. The largest solar storm ever recorded was in 1859 when communications infrastructure was limited to telegraphs. The 1859 solar storm hit telegraph offices around the world and caused a giant aurora visible as far south as the Caribbean Islands.
Some telegraph operators reported electric shocks. Papers caught fire. And many telegraph systems continued to send and receive signals even after operators disconnected batteries, NOAA said on its website. A storm of similar magnitude today could cause up to $2 trillion in damage globally, according to a 2008 report by the National Research Council. “I don’t think this week’s solar storms will be anywhere near that. This will be a two or three out of five on the NOAA Space Weather Scale,” said Kunches.
The NOAA Space Weather Scale measures the intensity of a solar storm from one being the lowest intensity to five being the highest, similar to scales that measure the severity of hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. The first of the three solar explosions from the sun this week already passed the Earth on Thursday with little impact, Kunches said, noting, the second was passing the Earth now and “seems to be stronger.”
And the third, he said, “We’ll have to see what happens over the next few days. It could exacerbate the disturbance in the Earth’s magnetic field caused by the second (storm) or do nothing at all.” Power grid managers receive alerts from the Space Weather Prediction Center to tell them to prepare for solar events, which peak about every 12 years, Tom Bogdan, director of the center said.
He said the next peak, called a solar maximum, was expected in 2013. “We’re coming up to the next solar maximum, so we expect to see more of these storms coming from the sun over the next three to five years,” Bogdan said.
The sun is entering a period of increased activity, and massive solar eruptions are beginning to wreak havoc on modern technology. A recent solar eruption disrupted radio communication in China, and there is concern that further eruptions could disrupt daily life on a wider scale. Scientists at NASA have been warning for some time of the dangers of space weather affecting the earth, and particularly the danger of solar storms.
With the sun due to reach the top of both its 22-year magnetic energy cycle and 11-year Sunspot cycle in 2013, there’s real danger of magnetic energy damaging electronic equipment. The 11-year solar cycle is only an average, and sometimes lasts 9, or sometimes lasts 13 years. The last time it peaked, in 1859, a powerful solar eruption known as the Carrington Event struck, causing fires and shorting out telegraph wires.
According to NASA, the Carrington Event was a solar storm of such magnitude that the skies were filled with red auroras, compass needles pointed in the wrong direction, and electric current passed through the Earth’s topsoil. The storm was caused by a coronal mass ejection that hit the Earth’s magnetic field with such intensity that it created vibrations and sent currents through both the ground and atmosphere.
In previous major disturbance of the Earth’s electric grid from a solar incident, in 1973, a magnetic storm caused by a solar eruption plunged six million people into darkness in Canada’s eastern-central Quebec province. Imagine how much more powerful this disruption would be with modern infrastructure; with communications and power shorted out, global chaos would ensue. With a mobile phone in every pocket and a PC in every home, the damage could be a true “end of the world as we know it” event.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences estimates that the disruptions and destruction caused by such storms could exceed $2 trillion and require years to rebuild all affected infrastructure and systems. A vast majority of the developed world could be without power and water for years.
“X-class flares [such as the Carrington Event] are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms,” disturbing telecommunications and electric grids, NASA said. Geomagnetic storms usually last 24 to 48 hours, “but some may last for many days,” read a separate NWS statement. “Ground to air, ship to shore, shortwave broadcast and amateur radio are vulnerable to disruption during geomagnetic storms. Navigation systems like GPS can also be adversely affected.”