The approaching solar maximum in 2025 has led to increased interest in solar cycles and their potential impact on Earth.
The looming solar maximum in 2025 has sparked renewed interest in solar cycles and their potential impact on Earth. This period, characterized by increased solar activity, has raised concerns about the digital world's vulnerability to devastating solar storms capable of disrupting global communication networks. The Sun will reach "solar maximum" in 2025, according to the Washington Post. It has reported on the lack of preparation and the flood of misinformation surrounding this issue, which has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and threat.
According to experts, the Sun will reach the peak of its latest Solar Cycle in 2025, resulting in a solar storm heading toward Earth. While this is not unusual, as it has occurred 25 times since records began in 1755, experts are concerned because the current cycle has "ramped up much faster" than normal, resulting in "more sunspots and eruptions than experts had predicted." Solar storms are known to contain electromagnetic pulses, which can have devastating effects on Earth if large enough, according to the Daily Star.
Everyone is so worried about an Internet Appocoplypse... Um, an EMP could impact all electronic devices including our cars and water sources. The only two events that could cause an EMP is a Nuclear attack, or a Cosmic Event such as this. #SolarFlare #SolarStorm #EMP pic.twitter.com/4g4gQ28H1h— Jennifer Turk (@JenniferTurk20) July 13, 2023
The Carrington Event of 1859, which caused telegraph lines to spark and electrocute operators, and the 1989 solar storm, which disrupted the Quebec power grid for hours, serve as warnings of the potential dangers. A computer science professor at the University of California, Irvine, Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi, played a significant role in raising awareness of this issue through her paper titled "Solar Superstorms: Planning for an Internet Apocalypse," and explained to the Post the uncertainty surrounding current infrastructure and if it would withstand extreme solar events. "We've never experienced one of the extreme case events and we don't know how our infrastructure would respond to it. Our failure testing doesn't even include such scenarios," she said.
According to Dr. Jyothi, a severe solar storm is likely to disrupt large-scale infrastructure such as undersea communication cables, potentially disrupting long-distance connectivity for months. A single day of lost connectivity due to a solar storm is estimated to cost more than $11 billion in the United States alone.
On July 4, as the United States celebrated Independence Day, the Sun put on a spectacular display of solar storms, which NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured. Tamitha Skov, a space weather physicist, shared a video of the Sun's coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which served as a visual reminder of the powerful forces at work.
Our #Sun celebrates #July4 with its own special fireworks! We have two partly Earth-directed #solarstorms (aka CMEs) on their way. The second storm will catch up to the first giving us a 1,2-punch. Model predictions show impact likely July 7. I'll post NASA model runs next. pic.twitter.com/gtJwgcYS4Z— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) July 5, 2023
According to a spokesman from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "Tracking and predicting the Sun's solar cycles gives a rough idea of the frequency of space weather storms of all types – from radio blackouts to geomagnetic storms and solar radiation storms – and it's used by many industries to gauge the potential impact of space weather on Earth. "Some grid systems may experience complete collapse or blackouts."
While it is unknown whether the 2025 solar storm will result in the dreaded "end of the internet," discussions have begun about the fate of the "always online" society in such an event. According to the Washington Post, these fears are not entirely unfounded, as the impact of a powerful solar storm on Earth's interconnected infrastructure could result in mass internet outages. As netizens get into the tornado of misinformation and uncertain impacts of the storm, experts stress the importance of recognizing the risks and adequately preparing for potential disruptions that could have significant economic consequences.