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#204884 - 07/18/10 10:16 PM Solar 'Katrina' Storm Could Take Out Power Grid
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I ran across this article on the Huffington Post site.

Accurate or not, I don't know, but he does mention a facet of such an incident that most people (even here at ETS) don't seem to consider, the domino effect of even a regional EMP event. I've notice that some people pooh-pooh the severity of the situation, saying that it wouldn't take long to get our power structure back up to par. Author Lawrence Joseph points out that it isn't just the massive transformer damage, but all the associated effects that such an event would cause.

"The Solar 'Katrina' Storm That Could Take Our Power Grid Out For Years"

"Electric power is modern society's cornerstone technology, the technology on which virtually all other infrastructures and services depend... Collateral effects of a longer-term outage [such as would almost certainly result from a massive space weather event] would likely include, for example, disruption of the transportation, communication, banking, and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water owing to pump failure and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of lack of refrigeration. The resulting loss of services for a significant period of time in even one region of the country could affect the entire nation and have international impact as well," says the NAS report.

Anyway, I think it is an interesting read.


#204889 - 07/18/10 11:57 PM Re: Solar 'Katrina' Storm Could Take Out Power Grid [Re: Susan]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
Here's the link. Interesting he's been warning about the problem for years and only now because of the remote possibility of man-made EMP worries are they taking him seriously. Hmmm, which event is 100% certain to happen and with relative frequency, a solar storm or man made EMP? Yet another example of how natural disasters/phenomena aren't sexy enough for adequate funding/planning.

#204891 - 07/19/10 12:58 AM Re: Solar 'Katrina' Storm Could Take Out Power Grid [Re: LED]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
AACK! Thanks for posting the link, LED! If I had a brain, I could be dangerous....


#204895 - 07/19/10 03:14 AM Re: Solar 'Katrina' Storm Could Take Out Power Grid [Re: Susan]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
The story line that a solar storm could cause a technological collapse has been created and pushed by the same people who first pushed the concept as originating with a EMP attack by the USSR. Yes, USSR. The story has been around that long. The 'solar Katrina' thing is an interesting variation in phrasing but the outline remains the same.

It regularly comes back as North Korea doing what the USSR failed to do. Or Iran. Or terrorists. The solar version is a regular variant. Which one gets pushed depends on what is in the news. If Iran has been in the headlines they carry the EMP pearl clutcher story forward.If no other group or nation is deemed to be malevolent enough, nations and groups can potentially be deterred, there is always the good old sun and its ability to belch in our general direction. It could happen at any time, and there is nothing we can do to stop it, are good for keeping people cowed.

It is always the same story and it has become one of the go-to stories to trot out when the general population is deemed to be insufficiently apoplectic.

Or if there is a suspicion that we have enough composure left to figure out that the pain and fear we feel doesn't have to do with any direct threats, internal or external, or infringed rights but is instead primarily a simple matter of economic manipulation. The result of economic decisions made in the 70s, and fully implemented in the 80s, to subjugate labor to business and alienate the citizenry from the government to make sure they couldn't easily reverse that trend.

Henry Ford, despite his goose-stepping tendencies, understood that paying workers well meant they could afford to buy the products they produced. That this would translate into others wanting the product, profits that could be reinvested for productivity, shared long term prosperity, a rising standard of living for everyone; a virtuous cycle.

The recent economic downturn can be seen as the inevitable manifestation of a crippled cycle. Impoverished workers can't afford to buy products that keep money flowing rapidly around the economy. The velocity of money makes a profound difference. Accumulation of capital in holding and rent systems (FIRE sector) and impoverishment of labor/consumers, the resulting drop in capital velocity, accounts for virtually all of the downturn.

But if the powers that be (Not the people who make the headlines; primarily billionaires that never get mentioned) can keep you focused on a hypothetical technological Armageddon coming from the sun, or the Iranians, you won't notice how the system is rigged. Or that the advice they push, staying isolated and alienated from the collective systems, including the government, are exactly opposite of what might help.

It is all about wealth and power. It always has been.

#204896 - 07/19/10 03:44 AM Re: Solar 'Katrina' Storm Could Take Out Power Grid [Re: Art_in_FL]
Phaedrus Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2756
Loc: Big Sky Country
A very astute series of observations, Art. You definitely understand the subtleties of economics and politics on a much deeper level than most people here...or anywhere, really. I don't really have anything to disagree with here, save one quibble; while it's true that the hysteria is mostly media driven, it's also true that mankind (overall) is much more vulnerable to solar disruption than at any other time in our history. There were some incredible solar storms in the past but they were pre-electronic, early in the dawning of the Industrial Revolution. Such storms would really be catastrophic today. And they will come, of that there can be no doubt. In astronomy, as in geology and meteorology, it can confidently be said that if it's happened before it will happen again. So setting hysterics aside we do have to work on "hardening" the grid much more effectively than we previously have. You probably recall a pretty major solar-storm-based outage that struck parts of the US and Canada some years back. That should serve as proof of concept and a wake-up call that our grid is vulnerable to "space weather."
“I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” —Richard Feynman

#204904 - 07/19/10 10:48 AM Re: Solar 'Katrina' Storm Could Take Out Power Grid [Re: Phaedrus]
Nomad Offline

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 479
Loc: Just wandering around.
Although unusually powerful solar storms could happen anytime, this solar cycle is predicted to be a very low, solar storm producer. It already looks like it may be one of the very lowest on record. Unlikely (although anything is possible) to produce a "killer" storm.

As a Ham, I have been watching the solar cycle for many years. Even have a little widgit on my browser that tells me the solar flux levels in real time. At the moment the sun is very quiet and radio propagation is reduced proportionally. It is just at the beginning of the increase for this 11 year long cycle. And I have seen similar articles at the beginning of every solar cycle, be it small or large.

...........From Nomad.........Been "on the road" since '97

#204908 - 07/19/10 02:59 PM Re: Solar 'Katrina' Storm Could Take Out Power Grid [Re: Susan]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
It turns out that the grid can be protected from solar EMP devastation by outfitting it with surge suppressors, much like the ones that protect our computers and plasma televisions at home. In a nutshell, solar EMP blasts hit the Earth and discharge massive electrical currents into the planet's surface, some of which current surges back up and into the grid. Surge suppressors placed between the surface and the transformer would protect the transformer from the space weather-induced electrical currents coming up from the ground.

No Surge protection on the US Grid transformers. This must be being reported as incorrect even to prevent cascade failure of the whole grid even during a non so called Solar Katrina event storm. Thats like installing a home electrical wiring system without any fuses (even using a conventional fuse board rather than RCD is a major safety improvement factor) and using aluminium wiring. You have a high risk of burning the house down or getting fatally electrocuted despite the economic benefits.

Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (07/19/10 03:04 PM)


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