A solar storm THIS big can destroy power grid in China!
A recent study has revealed that a huge solar storm, referred to as a solar superstorm churned out by the Sun and shot towards Earth can destroy an electricity grid in China. This devastating conclusion was from a study headed by State Key Laboratory of Space Weather's physicist Dr Jiaojiao Zhang. The study pointed out, "The Sun is not a particularly peaceful entity, it can abruptly launch powerful radiation and plasma into space. If such a coronal mass ejection (also called a solar storm) struck the Earth, there would be serious consequences for humanity."
It added, "Solar storms can generate geomagnetically induced currents in high-voltage power transmission systems, which can damage transformers and even cause the whole system to collapse.”
To get as authentic an analysis as possible, the team based the study on the Chinese Guangdong 500 kV power grid. They also created a combination of all three factors involved- solar storm, ground connectivity and the power grid - and then measured the likely response or the impact of the solar storm. Also Read: NASA: Eiffel Tower sized asteroid hurtling towards Earth
And how powerful was the solar storm model they used? The team picked one of the strongest ones on record, but one which had missed Earth back in July, 2012. It was as powerful as the Carrington event, which happened as far back as 1859 and which is widely considered as the most powerful solar storm to ever strike Earth in recorded history by humans. It was so strong that it started fires in telegraph systems, gave shocks to the operators and, miraculously, the equipment kept working even though the electric power source had been cut. In reality, it was working because of the electrical current from the solar storm.
When the team measured the likely impact of such a solar superstorm on the Chinese power grid, it found that if the 2012 solar storm had hit the power grid, the power spike running through the system would have been equal to or larger than the actual storm that hit Hydro-Quebec 735 kV power grid in March 1989, which had knocked out the power grid there for as long as 9 hours causing widespread blackout, leaving as many as 7 mn people without any electricity! Also Read: NASA scientists successfully grow plants in soil from the Moon
The harrowing thing is that it will not just be China that would be affected by such a devastating solar storm as the study concluded, "Consequently, without sufficient preparation, the consequences of a solar superstorm for power grids worldwide could be devastating."