A Solar Tsunami Could Knock Out Worldwide Internet – But What Can We Do About It?

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Global warming, worldwide pandemic, what’s next you ask? INTERNET APOCALYPSE! Guess it’s time to officially leave this planet.

The past two years haven’t been great for any of us with the ongoing pandemic and news of how every day we’re getting closer to experiencing the drastic effects of climate change. And now it seems like an assistant professor at the University of California decided to break the news of the potential effects of a solar superstorm that would disrupt our internet-clad world. The end is here…

The paper by Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi describes in detail the devastating effects of a solar storm on the undersea internet cables and how it would impact the world’s internet infrastructure if proper measures aren’t taken in due time. The worst-case scenario? We’ll be void of the internet *gasps* the horror.

Solar storms are geomagnetic storms that can cause massive solar flares resulting in coronal mass ejections (CMEs) which is large expulsions of magnetic fields and plasma. These massive solar tsunamis on the Sun’s surface can send strong CMEs towards our planet at speeds greater than several miles per hour. While we are protected from these radioactive elements, electronic devices are another story.

The solar tsunamis have a great potential to cause long blackouts which can result in $7.2 billion loss in a single day by damaging our electrical equipment and satellites. And to make matters worse, this isn’t one of those “What if…?” scenarios as people have experienced the effects of these solar storms back in 1989 when the electrical supply was cut off for nine hours for over 6 million people in Quebec. This also resulted in putting a pause on the Toronto Stock Exchange for three hours by disrupting the operations of a computer. And seeing how we are dependent on electronic gadgets now more than ever, if a solar superstorm did occur, it would have some adverse consequences.

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