Scientists are warning of solar superstorms.
While analyzing ice samples in Greenland, scientists have discovered evidence of three supermassive solar superstorms that have occurred in the last 3,000 years.
The new study has found that 2,600 years ago, a solar storm 10 times more powerful than any solar storm in recorded history impacted Earth.
The new discovery indicates that these types of solar storms occur regularly in Earth’s history.
And if we are unprepared when they hit again, it could wreak havoc in modern society which has become over-depending on electricity.
Solar storms are composed of high energy particles that are unleashed by explosions on the sun. Also known as solar proton events, these “proton storms” can endanger people and electronics both in space and in the air, explains Live Science.
Scientists explain that the fast-moving charged particles have the ability to completely wipe out sensitive satellite circuits and cause massive problems in electricity grids, possibly triggering widespread power cuts.
In fact, it has been reported that severe solar storms in modern times have caused extensive power cuts in Quebec, Canada, in 1989 and Malmo, Sweden, as recent as in 2003.
However, while these solar storms were powerful, they are incomparable to those that happened thousands of years ago.
“If that solar storm had occurred today, it could have had severe effects on our hi-tech society,” revealed Professor Raimund Muscheler, from Lund University in Sweden.
Evidence of the powerful solar storms was found by scientists as they analyzed 100,000-year-old ice cores from Greenland.
But ti wasn’t just ice cores that confirmed the impact of the powerful solar storms. Scientists analyzed growth rings in trees which also confirmed powerful solar storms impacted our planet in 775 and 994 AD.
Writing in the study published in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers say that while solar superstorms are rare, they seem to be a naturally occurring phenomenon.
“That’s why we must increase society’s protection against solar storms,” said Prof Muscheler.
“Our research suggests that the risks are currently underestimated. We need to be better prepared.”