Solar flares are expected to hit solar maximum in May, but scientists can’t seem to agree on exactly how strong the impact will. The Sun entered the peak of its 11-year cycle in 2012. The frequency and power of the sunsposts and solar flares that have already occurred is a hotly debated topic among scientists and the prepper community.
A NOAA/NASA scientific panel created to track and predict solar storm activity released their predictions for the Sun’s peak activity recently. Although it was definitely not a unanimous decision, the experts feel a solar flare maximum will be two-peaked and not strong enough to end the world as we know it.
Although the findings are somewhat reassuring, they do not mean we should halt Farraday cage construction just yet. Recent solar activity has been weaker than expected thus far, but we are barely three months into 2013. Solar storm strength is expected to increase as we hit the summer months. May is the month the majority of NOAA/NASA Solar Cycle Prediction Panel scientists expected the next solar maximum to hit.
Goddard Space Flight Center Solar Physicist, Dean Pesnell, said the solar maximum is shaping up to look different than what researchers had anticipated. The Sun’s 11-year peak will possibly boast two solar maxima. In 1989 and 2001, the solar maxima was also two-peaked. Pesnell also believes that there will be a second peak during the Sun’s current 11-year cycle as well. We should reportedly expect to experience the increase solar activity later in 2013 or as late as 2014.
During the past two years solar activity has been in a type of mini-cycle, with vast fluctuations in activity. The massive sunsposts that evolved on the surface of the Sun so far this year have caused great concern for even those who do not necessarily identify themselves as survivalists or preppers. If the solar maximum produces a strong enough solar flare directed at Earth, the power grid could easily collapse.
A coronel mass ejection has the potential to render all electronics entirely useless. A scenario similar to the Carrington Event of 1859 would happen today, billions of dollars in damage would occur. Scientists may not believe doomsday is on the horizon as the Sun’s 11-year cycle peaks, but even a lesser Earth-directed place could devastate our over-taxed and antiquated power grid.
Fixing the power grid would take at least months to years, depending upon the level of damage. Although solar flares themselves are not thought to possess enough radiation to pose great harm to humans and animals, a multitude of deaths would still likely occur.
The hemispheres on the Sun do not always hit peak period at the same time, causing a swinging pendulum of solar activity. According to the NOAA/NASA panel, the northern region of the Sun is currently lagging behind and will likely be the spot where the second peak occurs in May. Scientific experts now feel that solar flare activity will be below average during the peak of this 11-year cycle. Researchers feel that we will experience a maximum of 90 sunspots in 2013.
Those impacted first by a downed power grid would be hospital patients. The elderly and the very young who could not withstand to a live without heat or air conditioning for an extended period of time would be the next to wither and possibly die. Folks who have not stored food, water, and other necessary items would be in dire straits in as little as a week. Civil unrest spurred by a panicked populace would likely claim more lives the first three examples combined.
How concerned are you about solar flares?