Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Kaku discusses solar storm threat to power grid, various videos


Michio Kaku, physics professor and author, discusses the risk of another huge coronal mass ejection, associated with a “solar flare” in this 6 minute video from BigThink (link, requires ShockWave).


Kaku explains that the Sun has a pole shift every eleven years, explaining the increase in sunspot activity and solar flares. In 2012-2013 we’re entering another period.  The Earth usually dodges the bullet because of the vastness and geometry of space, but the probability of a direct hit with a Carrington-sized CME (referring to the 1859 event) is significant over several hundred elapsed years.

Kaku urges policy makers to build redundancy into satellite systems and the power grid.  Many areas, especially in polar latitudes, could be out of power for weeks or months.  The Internet could not function as wireless would be out.

One proposal would have utilities build large dampers to protect transformers, and implement blackouts when a huge CME is expected.

Evetsnalon offers this 14-minute video “Solar Maximum Cycle 24”, link. The largest event is called an X-class.  The 1989 event in Quebec shorted out transformers as far away as New Jersey.  Even gasoline stations depend on satellites.  It’s possible that automobile ignitions could be shorted out, as with an EMP terror attack. There is discussion of survival planning, including body core temperature.  Ironically, the hybrid and electric cars might be the most vulnerable.  

First Friday’s Revival has a 38 minute video “NASA Warns of Solar Superstorm 2012” here.    Michio Kaku appears and refers to it as a “potential Katrina from outer space”.  A technologically advanced and dependent society is more vulnerable than a primitive or pre-industrial society.  There is some concern over a big one in 2012 or 2013.  This would be far worse than the black out of the East Coast in August 2003. And the blackout could come suddenly, on a clear day.  This particular video does go into religion and salvation. 

All of this forms the premise of an NBC series this fall 2012, "Revolution", imdb link.

Why don't the power companies talk about this?   Newt Gingrich has posed this question. Hope we don't have another Carrington before the NBC series gets to start. 


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