|Image of a solar flare headed towards Earth, and of Earth's protective magnetic field.|
Out of the articles I read, I particularly enjoyed the one titled Sun Storm Forecast: Tiny Chance of Havoc. It gave a brief history of recent geomagnetic storms (AKA sun storms), the damage they did on electrical devices (even in the 1800's), the possible consequences if a large sun storm were to hit earth in the near future, and some prevention measures that can be taken.
According to the article, the last major sun storm to hit the earth was in the year 1860. At that time, reliance on electrical devices was minor. However, the 1860 storm and more recent minor storms gives researches an idea of the severity of damage to expect if a major storm were to hit earth in the electric-dependent society we live in today. They say that a large storm could put multiple continents off the electric grid for a month or more, which is a dangerous situation. In the article, one scientist, Mr. Kappenman, compared the potential devastation to a recent disaster, Hurricane Sandy, saying "Think of Sandy magnified a hundredfold."
The article makes sure to emphasize that the likelyhood of a large sun storm hitting earth in the near future is very small, but, as Kappenman says, these large storms "are 100 percent guaranteed to occur again." This is another perfect storm scenario that we have seen in recent history with the hurricanes that have devastated coastal cities in America. We should learn from the disasters like Hurricane Katrina and ensure that we are well prepared to respond to, and recover from, a large sun storm, even though its unlikely to occur anytime soon.
Links to my articles.
Science: Sun Storm Forecast: Tiny Chance of Havoc
Technology: Big Data is Opening Doors, but Maybe Too Many
World: U.S. Shifting Its Warning on Syria's Chemical Arms