« Western Michigan Weather News

Ag News Podcast for 3/20/2014

by Tim Abramowski

We got lucky two summers ago.  A massive magnetic eruption on the Sun’s surface happened when Earth was not in the direct path of its pulse of magnetic radiation.  A study just published in the journal Nature Communications says if it had happened nine days later we could have experienced major damage to the electrical grid along with disabled communications satellites and chaos in our increasingly digitally-based lives.  Had it been in anyway similar to a huge flare in 1859 we could have had a spectacular light show.  The solar event that year produced auroras visible as far south as Hawaii and Cuba.  The telegraph network went down across the U-S and operators were literally shocked while typing messages.  If the Earth finds itself in the wrong place at the wrong time in this century resultant damage would likely be in the trillions.  Super storms happen in space, too – they dwarf the kinds of events we complain about daily on terra firma.

Rick Shields