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What If the Biggest Solar Storm on Record Happened Today?

December 12, 2011 • Climate Change & Mitigation, Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Daniel Stein for this article, please see: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110302-solar-flares-sun-storms-earth-danger-carrington-event-science/

What If the Biggest Solar Storm on Record Happened Today?

Repeat of 1859 Carrington Event would devastate modern world, experts say.

Richard A. Lovett

for National Geographic News

Published March 2, 2011

On February 14 the sun erupted with the largest solar flare seen in four years-big enough to interfere with radio communications and GPS signals for airplanes on long-distance flights.

As solar storms go, the Valentine’s Day flare was actually modest. But the burst of activity is only the start of the upcoming solar maximum, due to peak in the next couple of years.

“The sun has an activity cycle, much like hurricane season,” Tom Bogdan, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, said earlier this month at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.

“It’s been hibernating for four or five years, not doing much of anything.” Now the sun is waking up, and even though the upcoming solar maximum may see a record low in the overall amount of activity, the individual events could be very powerful.

In fact, the biggest solar storm on record happened in 1859, during a solar maximum about the same size as the one we’re entering, according to NASA.

To read the full article, please click here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110302-solar-flares-sun-storms-earth-danger-carrington-event-science/


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