Science & Tech

Earthbound solar storm could cause 'internet apocalypse'

Earthbound solar storm could cause 'internet apocalypse'
Scientists Find Evidence of Massive Solar Storm Occurring Every 1,000 Years

Rumours of a global internet outage due to a severe solar storm have been swirling online, but how true are they?

With plenty of us relying on internet access on a daily basis for our work, entertainment and communication needs, the rumour of an internet apocalypse has left many worried.

Throughout June, the possibility that we could lose internet for months has been spreading. But, the very possibility first gained public attention back in 2021 when computer scientist Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi at the University of California Irvine warned that a catastrophic solar storm could occur within the next 10 years.

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It seems the space agency NASA is taking the risk seriously and launched the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) which revealed clues about the sun’s atmosphere after successfully navigating through the powerful solar winds generated there.

What is a solar storm and how could it cause an internet apocalypse?

A solar storm refers to the atmospheric effects we experience on Earth that originate from the sun, typically caused by solar flares.

During such storms, a stream of an electromagnetic field is directed towards Earth which causes the aurora borealis.

NASA believes solar storms run on an 11-year cycle with their frequency varying. Their severity can also vary, with stronger geomagnetic storms causing interruptions to satellite, radio and internet functions.

A 2011 geomagnetic storm interrupted radio signals in South China, meanwhile in 1859 a particularly intense storm caused auroras to appear in the skies all around the world.

Should such an event strike today, there could be a worldwide blackout causing disruption for months, with its effects predicted to be 20 times that of a catastrophic hurricane due to its impact on the supply chain of essentials like foods and medication.

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