Why the Electrical Grid, the Internet, GPS, Global Financial System and More Are At Serious Risk
Yea, the headline is a lot. But it’s not hyperbole. It’s a potential worst case scenario we failed to prepare for that is nearly upon us. Hear me out. And maybe grab a drink.
All these events were the result of geomagnetic storms caused by energetic eruptions from the sun. It’s now two decades since the last time our sun grew super surly and explosive. We’re due for another bout of extreme space weather and the stakes have grown exponentially higher. Furthermore, it’s unclear how prepared our infrastructure is for an onslaught from the sun.
We’ll probably be ok. The lights will likely go out somewhere, but most of us will surely be fine. Off-grid is a good place to be, but there’s extra preparations to take. And that’s all to say nothing of the worst case scenario, which is quite a doozy.
We are likely to see the strongest solar eruptions in a generation sometime in the next 24 months.
We’ve become dependent on an unprecedented number of satellites that are highly vulnerable to such storms.
It’s unclear how much preparation or redundancy is built into our infrastructure.
The worst case scenario involves cascading collisions in orbit, destroying all satellites and cutting off access to space.
There are actions individuals can take now to weather the worst.
I’ve been a bit obsessed with this approaching moment since the last time the sun was in such a state of upset twenty years ago. I was in Alaska working at a radio station that would experience regular outages from the intense geomagnetic activity and I also experienced some of the epic Arctic auroral shows that resulted.
I remember those 2003 outages — there were some in North America too — partly because I felt fortunate to be coincidentally disconnected from the continental power grid in my tiny Alaskan Bush village at the time. Now, once again by coincidence, the sun is more upset than it’s been since then and I’m again living off grid, wondering how it will all go down. It’s early, but already looking like the impacts could be far more widespread this time.