Thursday, August 29, 2013

FEMA "finally" warns public about space storms

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) sent out several mass emails Aug. 28, and one of them was titled, “Can you keep a secret?” It led to some government links on various well-known natural disasters, but this time “Space Weather” is on the list.  The link is here

As far as I know, this is the first time that the federal government has formally warned the public about the disruptions that can occur because of the coronal mass ejections that can follow solar “flare”, leading to space geomagnetic storms.  It mentions the power grid, but doesn’t quite warn that in some areas power could be out for months.  However it does note specifically that the Carrington Event in 1859 was much stronger than the Quebec Event in 1989, which knocked out much of that province's power (and some of NE US) for about a day.  It is likely that FEMA was influenced by papers published recently by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which I visited in July 2013.  ORNL works with the Department of Energy and University of Tennessee.  I reviewed the ORNL paper on the Books blog Oct. 20, 2012 and a similar (slightly less ominous) paper by the National Academy of Sciences Aug. 9, 2012.  
It appears that generators would work, if natural gas or propane to operate them were still available. And unlike the situation after an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) or RF for flux weapon attack (which has never happened in the US, but which our own military sometimes uses in the battlefield) consumer electronics probably would not be permanently damaged.

It’s very remarkable to see the “administration” finally take this up, however non-specifically. 
It also seems like it’s very foolish for Congress to fight these partisan battles, threatening the debt ceiling over intransigence now on Obamacare, with such dire national security threats.

In the case of EMP, a major factor is the manufacture of new transformers and transport to utility sites.  Too much of our manufacturing of such critical infrastructure has been offshored, over short term profit motives.   

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