Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The Solar EMP Threat
Journalist and science consultant Lawrence E. Joseph discussed how fluctuations in the sun's behavior provoke shifts not only in the climate, but also in our personal lives. He explained why he believes it's time for human beings to stop taking the sun for granted by assuming it will shine with unwavering intensity until it burns out billions of years from now. A landmark report by the National Academy of Sciences called Severe Space Weather Events concluded that if a solar blast hit, such as the ones from 1859 or 1921, "up to 130 million Americans could be without electrical power for months, or years," he warned.
And while in June 2010, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously to take the steps necessary to protect the power grid from a solar EMP, the bill was scuttled in the Senate. Joseph suspects this may have been due to the utility industry lobby, who resent regulatory incursion into their territory. He would like to see this important issue revived as a topic during the presidential debates.
People suffer from not getting enough sun, or getting too much sun, he noted. "The sun empowers us, the sun destroys us. It heals our bodies, it sickens our bodies. It's the greatest, most magnificent, most terrible constant in human history," Joseph declared. He shared his "Moody Sun Hypothesis," which suggests that our star is surprisingly turbulent with solar weather conditions, and can exert a great influence upon us, when it undergoes changes. Curiously, it's been discovered that the sun has been sending a "secret warning" via piles of medical waste-- radioactive isotopes decay a little more slowly when a sunspot is about to issue a flare, he detailed. If we established monitoring stations using this type of knowledge, it could give us up to two days warning of an incoming flare, he proposed.
Lawrence Joseph has written on science, nature, politics and business for the past twenty five years. In 1990, he published Gaia: The Growth of an Idea, exploring the Gaia Hypothesis that the global ecosystem adjusts and regulates itself more like a living organism than a geological machine, as traditional Earth science holds. His current book, Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation into Civilization's End, is a personal inquiry into the confluence of ancient Mayan prophecy and contemporary solar physics projections indicating that the year 2012 will be pivotal, perhaps catastrophic. Currently, he is Chairman of the Board of Aerospace Consulting Corporation (AC2), an Albuquerque, New Mexico firm developing ultra-high temperature plasma furnaces designed to completely disintegrate highly toxic biological, chemical and medical wastes.
A geomagnetic storm is a temporary disturbance of the Earth's magnetosphere caused by a disturbance in the interplanetary medium. A geomagnetic storm is a major component of space weather and provides the input for many other components of space weather. A geomagnetic storm is caused by a solar wind shock wave and/or cloud of magnetic field which interacts with the Earth's magnetic field. The increase in the solar wind pressure initially compresses the magnetosphere and the solar wind's magnetic field will interact with the Earth's magnetic field and transfer an increased amount of energy into the magnetosphere. Both interactions cause an increase in movement of plasma through the magnetosphere (driven by increased electric fields inside the magnetosphere) and an increase in electric current in the magnetosphere and ionosphere. During the main phase of a geomagnetic storm, electric current in the magnetosphere create magnetic force which pushes out the boundary between the magnetosphere and the solar wind. The disturbance in the interplanetary medium which drives the geomagnetic storm may be due to a solar coronal mass ejection (CME) or a high speed stream (co-rotating interaction region or CIR) of the solar wind originating from a region of weak magnetic field on the Sun's surface. The frequency of geomagnetic storms increases and decreases with the sunspot cycle. CME driven storms are more common during the maximum of the solar cycle and CIR driven storms are more common during the minimum of the solar cycle.