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10515
“NASA: Cosmic 'Superstorm' More Crippling Than Katrina”
by WND - Bob Unruh   
June 18th, 2010

Solar flare forecast renews concern over power grids, communications

A new government forecast about the possibility of a coming solar storm warns that it could eliminate – at least temporarily across large swaths of the world – power grids, air travel and communications, including those operating financial services and emergency systems, as well as GPS functions and even cell phones. 

"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity," said Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division, in the report released just days ago.

"At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms," he said.

WND first reported in 2009 that NASA held high levels of concern over solar flare activity that appeared to be running in cycles. The new forecast suggests the solar storm could be at its peak activity in 2012 or 2013.

At that time, NASA forecast the possibility of a rerun of the May 1921 "superstorm" or the so-called Carrington event of 1859, which was described by Space.com as "the most powerful onslaught of solar energy in recorded history."

The new NASA report cited a National Academy of Sciences explanation from two years ago – "Severe Space Weather Events – Societal and Economic Impacts" – that documented how 21st-century civilization relies on high-tech systems for the basics of life.

Without power grids, there is no fuel pumped from underground tanks into vehicles. Without cell towers, communications could be stricken. Without servers, banking systems could revert to paper receipts. Even the supply of food could be disrupted should delivery systems be unable to track trains, trucks and shipments.

"A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause 20 times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina," the new NASA warning stated.

As support for its concerns, NASA said on April 19, 2010, one of the most massive sun flare eruptions in years was observed, although the Earth was not in the line of fire this time.

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