Over the past several weeks, mankind has been given a gentle reminder that there are forces beyond our control that could have dire effects on our modern civilization as we know it. What villain am I referring to? Global pandemics, a nuclear war, a caldera volcano eruption, or a bio-terrorism attack are just a few of the "black swan" events that would have disastrous consequences on our society...
But these all pale in comparison to what would happen if we were hit by a super EMP event!
Electromagnetic Pulse, or EMP for short, is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic radiation caused by an abrupt, rapid acceleration of charged electron particles. There are two known causes of EMP. The first is a massive solar flare event, also called a “solar storm” or more technically known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The second is caused by the detonation of a nuclear weapon high in our atmosphere.
An EMP causes catastrophic damage to electrical devices due to its impact on both electric and magnetic fields. Modern technology is extremely susceptible to these effects. Devices connected to electrical cables essentially act like lightning rods, attracting electromagnetic pulses, and although there are many variables determining what level of severity an EMP attack might have on our modern micro-circuitry (strength of the pulse, distance from the source, the direction it is traveling, etc.), the end result is always the same: an EMP will fry any electronic circuitry or microprocessor it encounters (regardless of surge protectors, or whether or not devices are plugged into electrical outlets). Under the right circumstances, an EMP could cripple critical infrastructure and worse, destroy our entire electrical grid, damaging or destroying major distribution centers and fusing power lines.
Professor Mike Lockwood, a solar-terrestrial scientist at Reading University, said that the potential impact of a solar storm cannot be accurately assessed until about an hour before it actually reaches the Earth. Much will depend on the direction of its magnetic field and whether it will hit the Earth directly or strike a passing blow, he said. Our magnetic field acts like Earth’s natural defense against electromagnetic storms, but it may not be able to protect against the worst EMPs that hit at the wrong time.
“They can induce very large currents in electric power grids which can burn out transformers and cause power blackouts. It can take a long time to restore the grid when this happens,” Professor Lockwood said.
As you may know, we have been witnessing some of the greatest solar activity in years as we are now approaching the most intense end of the spectrum of the 11-year solar cycle--called the solar maximum period.
Many experts, like Dr. Craig Underwood, Deputy Director of the Space Centre at Surrey, are concerned because this solar maximum period is predicted to be moderate to severe. “Such events act as a wake-up call as to how our modern western lifestyles are utterly dependent on space technology and national power grid infrastructure.”
We saw a large solar flare last August, and another on March 7 that set off a strong geomagnetic and solar radiation storm which was recorded as a level 3 on a 5-level scale. These were the biggest storms since 2007 according to NASA. These levels of solar flares also caused high frequency radio blackouts and brilliant northern lights across the Earth.
Dr. Underwood said: “The event is the largest for several years, but it is not in the most severe class. We may expect more storms of this kind and perhaps much more severe ones in the next year or so as we approach solar maximum.”
Further complicating our vulnerability is that many scientists believe that our solar system is moving through an interstellar energy cloud. Astrophysicist Alexei Dmitriev says that the Voyager 1 and 2 satellites prove this. Dmitriev, a NASA Heliophysics Guest Investigator from George Mason University, says this interstellar energy cloud is quite turbulent. Dmitriev explains that this cloud of energy is exciting the atmospheres of our planets and especially our sun. As this interstellar energy cloud continues to excite/charge the sun, it causes the sun to become more active, resulting in greater output from the sun.
The fear is that we may witness bigger and more frequent solar storms and possibly a CME resulting in another "Carrington Effect." This event occurred in 1859, when British astronomer Richard Carrington observed a large solar flare that hit the United States that devastated our country’s expansive network of telegraph wire—our principal form of communication at that time. The charged electromagnetic pulse was so severe it fried thousands of miles wire and in some cases burned telegraph offices that were connected to the network. When Dr. Dmitriev was asked what are the implications of all this for Earth he replied, “Global catastrophe! Not in tens of years from now, but in ones of years” ...in that this global catastrophe is basically right around the corner. This has all set the stage for NASA's latest solar storm warning 2012-2013.
Professor Alan Woodward at the University of Surrey said, “We have the potential this year to see what planners call a ‘Black Swan’ event: one that is unlikely but if it happens will have an extraordinary impact on our lives.”
If such an event occurred today, Woodward would possibly be correct. Thanks to our modern society's utter dependence on electricity and computers, a similar Carrington Effect would not only plunge our nation into darkness, but could singlehandedly take our civilization back to how it was in the 18th Century!
To learn more about EMP, keep an eye out for the launch of our first Thinking the Unthinkable White Paper called EMP ATTACK! This hard-hitting 70 page report will be available for purchase very soon. It explores in depth, the causes and effects of EMP and what this would mean for you and your loved ones...
Until next time, remember to keep your powder dry and your faith strong!
Co-Founder SurvivalWeek.com and Publisher of The Beacon