People all over the world are connected to the Internet, and the Internet is becoming an essential part of modern life. The UC Irvine research team pointed out the possibility of an Internet apocalypse in the near future, in which the Internet is blocked due to the effect of a solar storm, and appealed for countermeasures.
A solar storm is a phenomenon in which the solar wind emitted when a large-scale solar flare occurs from the sun reaches the earth, and severe geomagnetic changes and radiation affect the satellites or electronic devices on the earth orbiting the earth.
It is estimated that a solar storm with a magnitude enough to affect electronic devices on Earth occurs with a probability of 1.6 to 12% over 10 years. Solar storms of this magnitude have been reported several times in the past. For example, a large-scale solar storm of 1859 has been reported to cause telegram systems to stop, telegraph pylons to set off sparks, and telegraph papers to spontaneously ignite. Also, in March 1989, the entire province of Quebet, Canada, fell into a 9-hour blackout due to the effects of a solar storm.
Fiber optic cables used to connect to the Internet are not subject to geomagnetic fluctuations caused by solar storms. Therefore, it is estimated that it is unlikely to affect local Internet connections connected by fiber optic cables. However, the submarine cable laid on the seabed for intercontinental data communication has a repeater for optical signal amplification installed, and this repeater is susceptible to geomagnetism. Therefore, it is pointed out that there is a possibility that a repeater failure due to a solar storm may affect the Internet connection.
The research team said that countries located at high latitudes, such as the US and UK, are more susceptible to solar storms than countries located at lower latitudes.
The research team said that it takes several weeks to several months to restore the submarine cable, and the economic impact of Internet failure in the United States is estimated to be more than 7 billion dollars a day. The impact of this on the world was emphasized.
In addition, the epidemic caused by COVID-19 has exposed mankind’s lack of preparation for a global crisis, and the Internet likewise said that mankind did not have Internet blocking by solar storms. claiming that there is Related information can be found here.