G3 Geomagnetic Storm Incoming

Hooked on Fenix

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if I'm reading this correctly it came and went without much of an impact, considering it hit mostly the americas in broad daylight, so no unusual northern lights:
That’s not how it works. First you get the radio interference. That’s the R3. Then you get a radiation warning. Right now that’s at an S1. Then you get the CME. The one from the X1.3 flare looks to be coming early April 2 UT. They’re predicting a G1 geomagnetic storm from it which is really low so it must be a glancing blow (CME went mostly sideways and most of it will miss us). That sounds like good news to me.
 

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That sunspot AR2975 just won’t quit. It just let out an M9.6 solar flare (almost X class). It’s too soon to tell if the cme will be heading in our direction. Looks like the CME from the X1.3 flare might miss. They aren’t expecting much to come from it anymore.
 

Mandrake50

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That sunspot AR2975 just won’t quit. It just let out an M9.6 solar flare (almost X class). It’s too soon to tell if the cme will be heading in our direction. Looks like the CME from the X1.3 flare might miss. They aren’t expecting much to come from it anymore.
Hi. Where are you getting your data? Just checking the NOAA site and not finding the level of detail ... ??
 

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NOAA is saying there is a 75% chance of M class solar flares and a 30% chance of X class solar flares in the next 48 hours. You don’t see those high of odds often. With the sunspot that has been shooting off all the big flares starting to turn toward the back of the sun, something else might be up. We did just get another M2 flare, but if it’s from the same sunspot, it’ll likely miss. Sunspot AR2981 has been crackling with smaller flares, but I don’t know if it’s that much of a threat just yet. There has been a lot of activity on the back side of the sun. Something is shooting off huge flares, maybe in the high X class range and it should be turning our way soon. Maybe that’s why they put the chance of flares so high. We shall see. Also, the auroral oval looks similar to when we had the last G1 solar storm (didn’t get up to the expected G3). Might be able to see more northern lights now as the CMEs from the X1.3 and M9.6 solar flares hit within the next day or two.
 

tgrzadziel75

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Check out Ben on YouTube at SUSPICIOUS OBSERVERS. He has great content on space weather in general. "Eyes wide open, Stay safe".
 

Hooked on Fenix

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Sunspot AR2975 shot off a long duration (5 hours) M4 solar flare. Long duration flares tend to shoot out huge CMEs. Could cause another geomagnetic storm in the coming days if it doesn’t miss us.
 

raggie33

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im just being silly lol im not even a huge mustard eater i only use it for my baked mac n cheese
 

PhotonWrangler

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Sunspot AR2975 shot off a long duration (5 hours) M4 solar flare. Long duration flares tend to shoot out huge CMEs. Could cause another geomagnetic storm in the coming days if it doesn’t miss us.
This is interesting. I would like to think that our current knowledge of surge protection and circuit breakers would provide more protection than it did for those telegraph systems during the Carrington event, however we're still susceptible to outages caused by simpler things like a lack of proper tree trimming around high tension lines.
 

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Just because we have knowledge of surge protection doesn’t mean they have spent the money to build in those protections where the large transformers are. Our electrical infrastructure is aging and instead of updating it, we keep putting on more load while removing the constant power sources required to maintain it. Our hydroelectric power at Lake Mead is on track to have a partial shutdown by October (only 12 feet of water left). Lake Powell is 33 feet from shutting off hydroelectric power (35 feet was the cutoff to start limiting water downstream). In the U.S., energy companies running the grid don’t put their profits into improvements, they put them into their pockets. Then you have the “not in my backyard” people that prevent any new projects from being started. Then you have politicians with their own agenda. I’ll leave it at that. My point is just because we know something needs to be done to avoid trouble in the future, doesn’t mean it gets done.
 
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PhotonWrangler

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Just because we have knowledge of surge protection doesn’t mean they have spent the money to build in those protections where the large transformers are. Our electrical infrastructure is aging and instead of updating it, we keep putting on more load while removing the constant power sources required to maintain it. Our hydroelectric power at Lake Mead is on track to have a partial shutdown by October (only 12 feet of water left). Lake Powell is 33 feet from shutting off hydroelectric power (35 feet was the cutoff to start limiting water downstream). In the U.S., energy companies running the grid don’t put their profits into improvements, they put them into their pockets. Then you have the “not in my backyard” people that prevent any new projects from being started. Then you have politicians with their own agenda. I’ll leave it at that. My point is just because we know something needs to be done to avoid trouble in the future, doesn’t mean it gets done.
HOF, I agree with your assessments. I've seen the results of these policies in my area. There's also significant corruption in the energy industry. Given all of this, I'm sure that we're not anywhere near as ready for a large X-class event as we should be.I don't know if we'll ever be completely ready for one to be honest.

However I'm also trying to understand the possible scope of such an event. While it could definitely affect the power grid as it's essentially a huge nationwide antenna, I can't help but wonder where the cutoff is in terms of localized damage to devices that aren't necessarily connected to the grid. I'm talking about stuff that I'd have to fix personally as opposed to power grid repairs. My first impression is that there wouldn't be a lot of localized damage (if any), and fiber optics lines would be spared completely since they're non-conductive.

If we were still in the days of dial-up modems, I might be concerned that the telco's surge protection might not be enough to protect my modem (especially if it's old and degraded). I would be less worried about today's cable systems since the co-ax is typically fed from a nearby fiber node which reduces the effective length of the co-ax acting as an antenna. Also the outer shield of the co-ax is grounded in multiple places, unlike copper telephone lines.

Those living in higher elevations like Denver might see higher occurrences of random bit-flipping in digital systems though.
 
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idleprocess

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HOF, I agree with your assessments. I've seen the results of these policies in my area. There's also significant corruption in the energy industry. Given all of this, I'm sure that we're not anywhere near as ready for a large X-class event as we should be.I don't know if we'll ever be completely ready for one to be honest.

However I'm also trying to understand the possible scope of such an event. While it could definitely affect the power grid as it's essentially a huge nationwide antenna, I can't help but wonder where the cutoff is in terms of localized damage to devices that aren't necessarily connected to the grid. I'm talking about stuff that I'd have to fix personally as opposed to power grid repairs. My first impression is that there wouldn't be a lot of localized damage (if any), and fiber optics lines would be spared completely since they're non-conductive.

If we were still in the days of dial-up modems, I might be concerned that the telco's surge protection might not be enough to protect my modem (especially if it's old and degraded). I would be less worried about today's cable systems since the co-ax is typically fed from a nearby fiber node which reduces the effective length of the co-ax acting as an antenna. Also the outer shield of the co-ax is grounded in multiple places, unlike copper telephone lines.

Those living in higher elevations like Denver might see higher occurrences of random bit-flipping in digital systems though.

There are countless sources of 'information' on the impact of solar flares and/or EMPs, many of which want to sell you something.

Un- or declassified reports are hard to come by. The EMP commission put out a report in 2008. Idaho National Laboratory put out another, shorter report in 2016.

The military has done pretty extensive tests on automobiles and more modern electronics, but that material is classified. The EMP Commission performed microwave testing to simulate EMPs, but it's known that the mechanism wasn't a reliable approximation of a nuclear EMPS and the most modern vehicles tested were 2002 - FWIW failures were few and largely transitory. To the extent that handheld EMP generators and electronic disruptors have been tested locally on electronics, they mostly seem to generate temporary disruptions in small handheld/battery-powered electronics ala bit-flipping or other induced state changes.

I'm less concerned about the state of the wires in communications networks than I am the nodes themselves, connected to mains power. Much like how the power grid can't replace transformers in a hurry, a network operator won't have spares on hot standby if switchgear, concentrators, radios, routers, etc have been destroyed.
 

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I think in the event of a Carrington event level CME, the biggest concern would be the high voltage transformers that aren’t easy to replace. That could keep the power out for a year or more waiting for replacements, assuming the place that makes replacements was still operational after the CME. If not, get used to not having a large scale power grid.

Next concern would be water and sanitation. Much of our water supply requires pumps to move it from place to place or get it from underground. Some requires desalination plants. U.V. lights used in the purification process also require electricity. Some of our water is reclaimed from waste water that requires a lot of energy to make it clean. A lot of things can go wrong with raw sewage and our water supply if the power is shut off for an extended period. Three days without clean drinking water and people would start to die. If they drank polluted water, they could die sooner.

Next concern would be food and transportation. No more refrigeration. No more gas powered farm equipment to grow crops. No more working trucks or working gas stations to get food to market. People would starve. More likely, people would start looting and killing those that had food and supplies to keep themselves alive. People can live three weeks without food, but I doubt they’d just all wait around and die rather than doing something to prevent it.

You also have communications to worry about. I’m sure you’re wondering if phones will work after a CME. Maybe, but it won’t matter. Most people don’t have land lines anymore. They just use cell phones. Landlines usually work if the power goes out. Unfortunately, few people use them outside of businesses. Cell phone towers have battery backups that might last a day or two at best, then your cell phone is useless even if it survived a cme.

Not sure to what extent a CME would affect small electronics. I imagine radios with large antennas would be vulnerable. L.e.d.s would be more susceptible than bulbs but I think an emp would have a better chance of taking out your devices than a CME. The Starfish Prime test in 1962 gave us an idea of what an emp can do. Your small electronics might survive a CME and you might have surge protected stuff plugged into the wall outlets, but when the power goes out, the water shuts off, the sewage backs up into the streets, the grocery stores are empty, your car doesn’t work, and the neighbors knock on your door begging for help, the last thing on your mind will be whether or not your flashlight still works.
 

jtr1962

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There was a Ted Talk on this. Basically, 2/3rds of the US population would be dead within a year. The irony is we could harden the grid to prevent this for a few billion dollars. That's a rounding error in the US budget.

The bottom line though is centralization is a bad idea. I like massive redundancy and multiple paths.
 
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I think 2/3 of the population dead in a year is very optimistic. Farmers and ranchers make up only 1.3 percent of the population of the U.S. The people that survive are going to be the ones growing their own food (if they’re armed and can protect it). Cities like New York City require electric pumps to pump water past the 7th floor in those skyscrapers. Anyone on floor 8 and up won’t make it without water. Once the sewage mixes with the water supply after a couple weeks, people will be dying from cholera. People eating bad food or starving when the bulk of the food is gone within a couple weeks won’t last long. Then with our military crippled, I think it’s likely our enemies might take advantage of the situation and attack. 2/3 within a year? I’d say 90% after a month or two. Let’s hope we never have to find out.
 
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