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White House OSTP Releases National Space Weather Strategy and Plan
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about.
As members of the disaster resilience community, we spend a lot of time preparing for potential disasters. We have disaster response and continuity of operations plans for hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, ice storms, and other weather events. But there is a different form of weather that has the potential to create a massive disruption of our critical infrastructure. It is called Space Weather, and it could be caused by a massive solar storm that could severely impact all electrical systems around the globe.
Sounds far-fetched? It isn’t.
“In 2012, NASA said the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with Earth. “If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado told NASA two years after it happened.
NASA said a direct strike could’ve caused widespread power outages and other damaging effects. More troubling, it cited research which suggests that there is a 12 percent chance of something like this happening in the next decade.”
(The Washington Post)
|The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:49 p.m. EST on Feb. 24, 2014.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which keeps a constant watch on the sun,
captured images of the event in multiple wavelengths.
Credits: SDO/NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio