I've been discussing this very real coming event with local IT integrators are that seriously studying this problem and the severe consequences to businesses that don't plan ahead, both for the business itself and the welfare of its employees. Essential services like hospitals, police, fire & rescue, and other essential local government services will be severely impacted, beyond the obvious dangers from loss of our power grid. I have info posted below so you can research this and start to assess these implications in your communities.
Our government has kept a lid on this from the press for political reasons, no one in Congress wants to face the public backlash and panic that could ensue if this were accepted by the general public, just like they have with news about financial calamity. There is still time to implement protections for the coming events for local government essential services. Solar flare activity is expected to peak in 2013. Our ozone layer is completely gone, except for some over the polar icecaps, so radiation exposure only an issue with orbiting satellites or high altitude flights could now be an issue on the ground.
The best and most dependable source for information on the actual effects of this solar maximum on the power grid, IT infrastructure, and all electronics is a study by the National Academy of Sciences done in 2008. Link for that report is below:
I've been doing my own research regarding the thoroughly proven threat of geomagnetic storms publicly reported by NASA back in Dec 21, 2006:
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/sc ... c_cycle24/
Since then, much research was done confirming this public report, the most notable of all was a report requested by NASA for a independent research study that would be independent of NASA that would have to come from the most respected official source and respected science research reorganization, which would be the National Academy of Sciences.
They released a huge report (28MB PDF available) that detailed the effects of such a powerful storm on all areas of IT and the power grid assets plus nuclear power plus steps needed to prepare.
https://download.nap.edu/login.php (You'll have to register to download report, they will ask you to create an account and state the purpose you will use the report information for, downloads are free).
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/sc ... rediction/
Here are some details on what kind of threats we could really be facing, which are much worse because of recent research revealing that much of our protective atmosphere is no longer in place, so potential harm is much greater than it was 50 years before when considering gamma and XRay radiation and cosmic rays plus radio band interference.
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ne ... -2013.html
http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/0 ... he-future/
Nasty is the only word that describes X-Rays, UV Radiation, Gamma Rays, EMP and Magnetic storms spewed out by our solar storms. In terms of the human race and the electrically powered infrastructure that shapes our daily lives, there is no positive message here. That is why you need to become familiar with the following solar storm nasties:
• Gamma Radiation: Generated during a solar storm, it is a lethal combination of a short wavelength and a high-energy content. Like X-rays on steroids, gamma radiation causes serious damage when absorbed by living cells.
• X-Ray Radiation: The actual term applies to man-made radiation, but is used in science to describe radiation that occurs naturally within the same bandwidth. X-rays are one form of ionizing radiation, which can be destructive to any biological organisms and cause DNA damage and mutations.
• Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation: The most dangerous high-energy variant of ultraviolet light. Prolonged exposure can result in acute and chronic health effects on the skin, eyes and immune system.
• Electromagnetic pulse (EMP): A short fierce pulse of electromagnetic energy that occurs across several bandwidths. With specific bandwidths, longer durations produce more severe results.
However, with an EMP, the opposite holds true. The shorter the pulse, the more severe it becomes. While devastating to electronic devices, it passes harmlessly through living cells.
• Magnetic Storm: Caused when the charged particles from a CME impact upon the outer part of the Earth’s magnetic field and create a worldwide magnetic disturbance.
In fact, the latest space weather report suggest their 1st public report was underestimated, instead of a G3 level storm, it couild be a G5 which is the biggest by far under the scale NOAA established, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, which maintains the current space weather reporting system:
(The Ace Satellite is in a decaying orbit, OBama refused to allocate funds to replace it. It will be offline in a few months, after forecasting will be very tough)