Massive Solar Storm May Cause Global Internet Blackout, Research Reveals
11:48 GMT 02.09.2021 (Updated: 10:42 GMT 21.04.2023)
A coronal mass ejection (CME), popularly known as a solar storm, is a directional ejection of a large mass of highly magnetised particles from the Sun, a research report said. It also revealed that the economic impact of Internet disruption for a day in the US is estimated at $7 billion.
A solar storm is likely to hit the Earth with the potential to destroy technical infrastructure, causing a massive disruption akin to an "Internet apocalypse", a research paper has revealed.
In the research, Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi of the University of California, noted that local and regional Internet infrastructure would be at low risk of damage during extreme solar storms as they mostly use fibre optics.
Jyothi revealed at the SIGCOMM 2021 data communication conference last week that if a massive solar storm does happen, then it will transform digital world.
In an interview with WIRED, Abdu Jyothi pointed out that the world is unprepared for the repercussions.
"Our infrastructure is not prepared for a large-scale solar event. We have very limited understanding of what the extent of the damage would be", she explained.
— Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi (@sangeetha_a_j) August 29, 2021
The researchers also said that repeaters used to connect fibre optic cables undersea could go offline during a solar storm. This would be enough to create an Internet blackout for those who rely only on the Internet coming from undersea cables.
Severe solar storms have been witnessed in 1859, 1921, and the most recent one in 1989. The one in 1989 took down a Hydro-Quebec power grid, causing a nine-hour power blackout in northeast Canada.