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Huge Solar Storm Could Cause ‘Global Power Shortage’, Experts Worry

by : Julia Banim on : 13 Oct 2021 10:02
Huge Solar Storm Could Cause 'Global Power Shortage', Experts WorryNASA/Flickr/Alamy

Experts have warned about the prospect of an enormous solar storm in the future, which could well result in a ‘global power shortage’.

This warning comes after a G2 level solar storm struck our planet on the morning of Tuesday, October 12, sparking concerns about widespread power grid fluctuations and ‘low level geomagnetic disruption’.

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As reported by SpaceWeather.com, auroras sparked by the storm were spotted in more than a dozen US states, bright and distinctive enough to be captured using phone photography alone.

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An alert from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) cautioned that there could be ‘weak power grid fluctuations’ as well as satellite ‘orientation irregularities’, with the potential to increase drag on aircraft in low orbit.

Although certainly noticeable, this particular storm was regarded as moderate, with the intensity of such solar storms measured on a scale of G1 to G5. However, University of Reading Professor Mathew Owen has warned that a far more destructive G5 storm day hit could one day hit Earth.

Speaking with the Daily Express, Professor Owen said:

The thing we really worry about is the power system. If you’ve got a really intense storm, you can get additional currents flowing in your power system and at some point, your transformers just can’t handle that anymore, so a really intense storm could burn out transformers.

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Professor Owen added that the effects of such a storm could well last for weeks:

These transformers are not easy to replace so it takes a long time to get your grid up and functioning again if they collapse.

You’d hope you could get it up and running within days but worst-case scenario is being without power for weeks.

Some areas of the world may feel the effect of this more than others, with Professor Owens noting that those living in high latitude countries could well be more severely impacted.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Now, Space, sun, weather

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Daily Express and 1 other
  1. Daily Express

    Solar storm warning: Experts 'really worried' as global power outages 'could last weeks'

  2. SpaceWeather.com

    What's up in space