We’re entering the more active cycle for solar activity in 2011. The sun is coming out of it’s “sleep” state and becoming more active. This cycle happens every 10.7 years and affects many ways of life here on Earth.
During this cycle, the sun experiences massive explosions,storms, and increased magnetic activity due to an increased number of sun spots. A large amount of magnetic activity is then created, leading to the cause of the phenomena known as solar flares.
When these flares are set off, they create a massive amount of radiation and magnetic disturbances in the Earth’s ionosphere. This then leads to some problems we’ve experienced before or perhaps some problems we’ve yet to see.
At a quick glance of the worlds’ power and communication infrastructure, we see that it is relatively weak and vulnerable. Just recently (as of February 16), southern China experienced a disruption in their short-wave radio communications. In 1989, a solar storm hit Earth and caused a massive power failure for Quebec, Canada and blacked out the entire city.
We can see that these solar flares are no laughing matter. That’s why senior officials at the American Association for the Advancement of Science met to discuss natural disaster plans in case of a massive space weather catastrophe. But one question remains, how will we be affected by the “big one?”
In a short answer, I’ll leave it up to Japanese-American Astro Phycist Michio Kaku to answer.