# Coronal Mass Ejections - Would we be able to

by astriveforprog
Tags: coronal, ejections, mass
 P: 7 I have read a bit about coronal mass ejections recently and I became concerned by the fact that an ejection the size of the 1859 hit could cause massive damage to our electrical grid, leaving the world in chaos. NASA can find out if a coronal mass ejection is heading towards earth over 24 hours in advance, but can NASA tell how big the ejection is and whether or not it is dangerous?
 PF Gold P: 1,852 astriveforprog, Welcome to Physics Forums! This article from Scientific American indicates "not so good yet" at predicting the damage from a CME yet. "New findings that improve predictions still fall short of giving humanity a head's up on the havoc a solar storm might wreak on Earth" http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...g-civilization Here are some sources of information about the subject: Solar Storm and Space Weather - Frequently Asked Questions, Number 18. What are our current capabilities to predict space weather? http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/su.../spaceweather/ NASA makes its Heliophysics research data sets and models continuously available to industry, academia, and other civil and military space weather interests via existing Internet sites. These include the Combined Community Modeling Center (CCMC) at: http://ccmc.gsfc.nasa.gov/ and the Integrated Space Weather Analysis System (ISWA) at: http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/iswa/iSWA.html
P: 7
 Quote by Bobbywhy astriveforprog, Welcome to Physics Forums! This article from Scientific American indicates "not so good yet" at predicting the damage from a CME yet. "New findings that improve predictions still fall short of giving humanity a head's up on the havoc a solar storm might wreak on Earth" http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...g-civilization Here are some sources of information about the subject: Solar Storm and Space Weather - Frequently Asked Questions, Number 18. What are our current capabilities to predict space weather? http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/su.../spaceweather/ NASA makes its Heliophysics research data sets and models continuously available to industry, academia, and other civil and military space weather interests via existing Internet sites. These include the Combined Community Modeling Center (CCMC) at: http://ccmc.gsfc.nasa.gov/ and the Integrated Space Weather Analysis System (ISWA) at: http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/iswa/iSWA.html
Do you think it's likely that such a superstorm (like 1859) could occur this decade? And could we shut off the power grid in time to stop the damage from occurring? Or can the transformers already deal with the extra electricity, one user wrote this:

 Quote by ArcFlash This is not "news" to us in the power industry. Most transformers can tolerate the half cycle saturation associated with geomagnetic induced currents, however, the hot spot/core temperatures must typically be held below 140 deg C - so grid control centers can (attempt to) mitigate this risk. Smaller distribution type transformers are typically not at risk due to the higher impedance. Generator step up transformers are most at risk due to the higher VAR consumption (Nuke plant transformer failed in 1989). High soil resistivity (rock), higher latitudes, and higher grid voltages (735 kV) also increases the risks. Yes, there are risks but the 2003 and 1989 storms had little to no impact on the USA's power grid. The public will only fund insurance against these storms when they actually cause widespread damage since the costs to do so are huge
- http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/1...infrastructure

PF Gold
P: 1,852

## Coronal Mass Ejections - Would we be able to

 Quote by astriveforprog Do you think it's likely that such a superstorm (like 1859) could occur this decade? And could we shut off the power grid in time to stop the damage from occurring? Or can the transformers already deal with the extra electricity, one user wrote this:
As for predicting the future, I cannot. And, so far, I've not met anyone who can!

As for our power grid surviving solar storms, there are lots of studies done by the power industry and lots of technology already installed/implemented to prevent damage/shutdowns. What research have you done so far?

Bobbywhy
P: 7
 Quote by Bobbywhy As for predicting the future, I cannot. And, so far, I've not met anyone who can! As for our power grid surviving solar storms, there are lots of studies done by the power industry and lots of technology already installed/implemented to prevent damage/shutdowns. What research have you done so far? Bobbywhy

http://seattletimes.com/avantgo/2021395163.html

 Quote by SeattleTimes In theory, power utilities could try to take precautions if they had advance notice of a major solar storm headed our way. Using existing satellites, the National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo., can detect an incoming event that’s about 30 minutes away.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/1...n_4512251.html
 Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 9,178 The power grid [at least in the US] is already partially defended. The ideas actually originated back in the cold war era when EMP was deemed a major security concern.
P: 7
 Quote by Chronos The power grid [at least in the US] is already partially defended. The ideas actually originated back in the cold war era when EMP was deemed a major security concern.
Does that mean we're prepared for a superstorm?

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news...espaceweather/
 Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 9,178 Of course not, but, we are not totally unprepared.
P: 7
 Quote by Chronos Of course not, but, we are not totally unprepared.
Ahh, do you think we'd just shut down the power grid for a week if we saw one coming with an hours notice? Thank you for your input. I wasn't sure if that study was just a worse case scenario (if the power grid didn't have a precautionary shutdown).
 Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 2,242 The last major outage due to geomagnetic storming was in 1989 after some major flares and assoc CME's. This knocked out power across parts of eastern Canada. Not sure if much of NE USA was affected or not The grid wouldn't need to be shut down for a week. Most geomagnetic storms are over in less than 24 hrs Dave
P: 7
 Quote by davenn The last major outage due to geomagnetic storming was in 1989 after some major flares and assoc CME's. This knocked out power across parts of eastern Canada. Not sure if much of NE USA was affected or not The grid wouldn't need to be shut down for a week. Most geomagnetic storms are over in less than 24 hrs Dave
I read here though that if we got a storm similar to the 1921 storm, it would knock out power for months. Unless we could shut down the grid in time.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news...espaceweather/
PF Gold
P: 2,242
 Quote by astriveforprog I read here though that if we got a storm similar to the 1921 storm, it would knock out power for months. Unless we could shut down the grid in time.
you misunderstand

The geomagnetic storm doesn't last for weeks to months, its the repairs that may take weeks to months to be done

Dave
P: 7
 Quote by davenn you misunderstand The geomagnetic storm doesn't last for weeks to months, its the repairs that may take weeks to months to be done Dave
Oh, thank you. So do you tihnk we'd be able to shut off most of the grid?
PF Gold
P: 2,242
 Quote by astriveforprog Oh, thank you. So do you tihnk we'd be able to shut off most of the grid?
That shouldnt really be a problem
The real problem is .... what sort of shutting down to do ? it becomes a very big financial problem
Imagine the billions of \$'s that could be lost by companies if they all have to close down production lines, communications etc for say 10 - 24 hrs till the worst of it is over

Those in charge of forcasting the possible electrical disruptions and their magnitude would have to be very sure of their info

cheers
Dave

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