Largest Solar Flare in 4 Years May Knock Out Some Power Grids → Washingtons Blog
Largest Solar Flare in 4 Years May Knock Out Some Power Grids - Washingtons Blog

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Largest Solar Flare in 4 Years May Knock Out Some Power Grids

[Update: National Geographic says the flare might be the largest ever observed, "shooting perhaps the largest amount of solar material into space ever seen, scientists say."]

The largest solar flare in 4 years occurred today. It might knock out some power grids.

As I've previously warned, if we don't harden the grids and nuclear power plants against electromagnetic forces, a solar flare could eventually cause widespread nuclear disasters which make Fukushima look tame.


  1. This solar event was no where near large enough to knock out power grids. The flare itself was small (M2.5 x-ray event and not very large optically either). The coronal mass ejection associated with it has an earthward directed component, but its velocity is no where near fast enough to inflict anything more than a period of modest northern lights activity (or southern lights, depending on where you live).

    Let's put this into perspective. We are just coming out of a solar minimum where solar flare activity is sparse. In two or so years, we will be near the maximum of the 11-year cycle, where solar flares of this size are so common, no one thinks twice when they occur. An M5.0 event is considered a major flare. X-class events are usually the ones that are associated with stronger coronal mass ejections.

    This event will be benign for power grids. If they see any induced currents at all, they will be easily manageable.

  2. An addendum to my last comments... yes, it is possible for solar flares to induce large enough currents to damage electrical power infrastructures. There is no question of this. But we need to be careful that we don't cause undue concern with these smaller events. This M2.5 event was pretty small, as far as solar flares go.

    The electrical power industry worldwide has never really taken this threat as seriously as they should. Hydro Quebec (TransEnergie) is perhaps the wisest and best prepared of them all, following the major blackout of 1989 in that Canadian province (which was caused by induced currents during a large space weather storm).

    I equate the power industry's level of concern (and more pointedly, the nuclear power industry's level of concern) to that of politician's concerns regarding large astroid collisions with the Earth. They recognize it as possible, but don't want to spend any money attempting to protect against a hazard that may or may not happen in their lifetime.

    Again, statistically speaking, this solar event of 7 June 2011 was not anything to get excited about. It will not knock out any power grids.

    But this does not mean we should be complacent. Power grids are susceptible to these disturbances. Research has shown that the modeled worst-case scenario could cause extensive (and extended) loss of generating capacity throughout North America and/or Europe (not likely simultaneously). Nuclear facilities would do well to register this as a concern, given that the impossible is apparently now possible in our lifetimes.

  3. Cowpip is quite correct, but the controlled media and NASA are committed to peddling BS in order to COW the POPulation in America.

    The likelihood is that we will not get x rated flares for half a century or more as the Sun may be in a minimum period not just leaving a minimum of a standard 11.5 year cycle. The economic cycle follows that of the sun, a fact known by many. Look up the history preceding the French Revolution, say fifty years before, to anticipate a future.

    Quite a few similarities? Many who order things are taking advantage of it. As they should ....

  4. I agree with you about hardening the power grids against solar flares. We should also remember the threat from an EMP weapon. The potential for disaster is a greater threat to civilization than even another great depression. Thanks to you, too, for posting my solar flare video (ufoshock). Cheers!

  5. Interesting. But hardly possible :)


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