Sun’s magnetic field flip raises EMP threat
NASA: Most intense exposure starts in 3 months, lasts into 2014
F. MICHAEL MALOOF
Aug 7, 2013
WASHINGTON – The sun is about to flip its magnetic field, at the peak of its 11-year solar cycle or at the half-way point of what scientists call a solar maximum – when it is at its most violent in terms of solar flares and the Earth is most vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse.
That’s the surge of sun energy that scientists say could in an instant return the developed world to an agrarian society, essentially without any electronics, and leave millions dead.
This mid-way point is expected in about four months – a December/January time frame – putting Earth in a position of greatest vulnerability even as the solar maximum diminishes well into 2014.
Scientists for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, have said the sun will reach its most intense period this year and well into next.
Others have suggested that even until 2020 Earth still could be exposed to solar flares that if they hit Earth directly could knock out the U.S. national grid system and fry electronic components and automated control systems not only in the U.S. but in other industrialized countries.
“It looks like we’re no more than three to four months away from a complete field reversal,” according to Todd Hoeksema, director of Stanford University’s Wilcox Solar Observatory. “This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system.”