Experts have predicted a upcoming Solar Katrina with a devastating economic fallout expected to cost $2,000 billion dollars. Scientists have warned that a long overdue intense electromagnetic storm could strike Earth cause massive destruction on worldwide economies, global positioning satellites, and telecommunication systems.
Experts within the United States, United Kingdom, and Sweden gathered at the American Association for Science meeting held in Washington to address and prepare for solar storms and space weather. The group warned that as the sun is has completed its "quiet period," the Earth's vulnerability has significantly increased since the last solar maximum during 2000. Solar storms begin as eruptions of "super hot gas" traveling at speeds of 5 million miles per hour. The electrically charged particles impact the Earth's atmosphere within 20 to 30 hours and can potentially cause electromagnetic "havoc" and expose vulnerabilities in much of the Earth's technology.
Last week a relatively small solar storm caused radio communication problems and airline disruption within polar regions. Experts agree that a larger solar storm could cause intense magnetic fluctuations, induce surges in power lines and disrupt or permanently damage communications satellites and their components.
The Sun's activity follows an 11 year cycle and is presently late though the next maximum is expected during 2013. During 1859, the most intense solar storm on record destroyed much of the world's telegraph network during a relatively weak cycle. Officials expect that a storm of similar proportions to the 1859 storm would potentially destroy the world's information, communication, and electricity distribution systems and cost billions of dollars to repair, replace, and recover - particularly, mobile phone networks, which rely on global positioning system satellites for time signals and co-ordination.