The report’s data indicates that the damage caused by a giant solar storm could cause prolonged power outages that would mainly affect the undersea cables connecting different continents and responsible for the world’s computer network. However, regional interconnect cables will be at less risk, as they are not affected by solar storm emissions.
Although governments and companies were able to get power back up again within a few hours or days, the damage caused could prevent the connection from continuing to operate for much longer.
The solar storm is caused by a massive coronal mass ejection from the sun that consists of ionized gas at high temperatures and can create electromagnetic fields strong enough to affect electrical grids.
This way, even though local networks remain intact, entire countries can disconnect from the Internet.
“Our infrastructure is not ready for a large-scale solar event. We have very limited understanding of the extent of the damage,” Sangeeta Abdo Jyoti said.
The last solar storm was discovered in 1989 and caused a 9-hour power outage in northeastern Canada. Abdu Jyoti now believes that the possibility of another similar incident may be greater because it has been more than 30 years since the last one.
Finally, scientists warn that it is also possible that satellites will become inoperable due to the solar storm, which could hinder the use of the network worldwide. The submarine cables most susceptible to damage are those that cross the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at higher points, while those connected to Singapore are at lower risk because they are closer to the equator.
Currently, researchers are continuing their studies to more accurately predict the damage caused by a solar storm to avoid further complications by preparing agencies and governments around the world.
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