May 21, 2024 2:25 pm
The Potential Impact of a Severe Solar Storm on Earth: Are We Ready? – Science Podcast

Solar events are currently on the rise, and the sun is ramping up to hit its peak of 11-year activity. In recent days, powerful solar eruptions have sent a stream of particles towards Earth that are set to produce spectacular auroras in both hemispheres. However, these geomagnetic storms can also have less appealing consequences.

Madeleine Finlay recently spoke with Dr Lisa Upton, a solar scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, about how the mysterious inner workings of the sun create space weather. Dr Upton explains the complex processes within the sun that lead to space weather events like solar eruptions. These events can send particles hurtling towards Earth, impacting communication systems, satellites, and power grids.

Understanding these processes is crucial for predicting and mitigating the impacts of such events on human infrastructure. The conversation also highlights the importance of preparing for worst-case scenarios when it comes to space weather. Dr Upton discusses the potential consequences of a major solar event and the challenges we may face in protecting critical infrastructure from the aftermath. It becomes clear that early warning systems and improved communication between scientific researchers and policymakers are crucial for developing effective strategies for dealing with extreme space weather events.

In conclusion, as we approach peak solar activity cycle, it is important to understand how space weather events are created by complex processes within the sun and their potential impacts on human infrastructure. By preparing for worst-case scenarios and developing effective strategies for mitigating these impacts, we can minimize disruptions to our critical systems and ensure they continue to function as intended even during extreme conditions.

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