Friday, December 2, 2011

For 2012, NASA predicts a solar superstorm that would do $2 trillion of damage in the United States! (Video)

Forecasting a solar superstorm (aka solar megastorm) is easier said than done, but NASA says the world might in fact face one in 2012!

An electromagnetic pulse attack, or EMP, could be caused if a nuclear device was detonated in the atmosphere over the United States. This would cause catastrophic damage to the US power grid and cripple the country for an extended period of time.

Besides a nuclear explosion causing an EMP, one could occur naturally as a result of a solar superstorm. This would happen in conjunction with a lack of a way to accurately predict that one was coming, or possessing any ability to prevent one from happening.

Estimates of damage for the first year alone after a solar superstorm hit the United States range from $1 to $2 trillion (up to 20 times greater than the damage from Hurricane Katrina), and recovering from it could take as long as 4 to 12 years.

Impact of a solar superstorm on the US power grid!

If a solar storm the strength of the one that hit earth in 1921 were to occur today, the expected impact on the US power grid can be observed in the chart above. In the areas circled a total system collapse could be expected.

The picture below provides an idea of just how interrelated and interdependent everything in the economy has become, and therefore just how much devastation a solar superstorm would inflict on our society.

The bottom line is that an adequate amount of lead time would be required to in some way try and limit the damage, but at this point in time the best that we can probably do is one hour of warning.

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Chart courtesy of NASA
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