Internet bLackout due to A solar storm

A solar storm has such power that it can destroy many electrical equipments on earth and can cause an internet blackout. Solar storm impact can create severe problems on earth like Grid failure. An Indian researcher Sangeetha Abdu Jythin said that in 2021 a massive solar storm is likely coming and the internet, which is the backbone of almost every activity that happens in the world today, is under threat. in simple words Internet backout due to a solar storm.

A new study on solar storms showed that a massive solar storm is likely to cause damage to the internet infrastructure and in the process can cause a massive internet apocalypse. This research paper is published by Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi of the University of California, Irvine and VMware Research.

Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi of the University of California, Irvine and VMware Research

A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) also known as Solar Strom, is a directional ejection of a large mass of highly magnetized particles from the sun. When Earth is in the direct pathway of a solar storm these magnetized and charged solar particles will interact with Earth’s magnetic field and produce several effects. Wich includes damaging the long-distance cables, which are basically the backbone of today’s internet.

Coronal mass ejection (CME) blast and subsequent impact at Earth. This illustration shows a CME blasting off the Sun's surface in the direction of Earth.
This illustration shows a CME blasting off the Sun’s surface in the direction of Earth. The blue paths emanating from the Earth’s poles represent some of its magnetic field lines. The magnetic cloud of plasma can extend to 48 million kilometres wide by the time it reaches Earth. These storms, which occur frequently, can disrupt communications and navigational equipment, damage satellites and even cause blackouts.

Sangeetha, the lead researcher said that the submarine cables are more vulnerable to a solar storm than their land counterpart, due to their comparatively large length. The researcher also mentions that the severity of the impact varies from location to location based on their topology.

Submarine Cable Map

For example, the US is highly susceptible to disconnection from Europe. Europe is in a vulnerable location but is more resilient due to the presence of a large number of shorter cables. Asia has relatively high resilience as Singapore, which acting as a hub has so many submarine cable connections to several countries.

While the solar storm is going to impact the under the sea cable more that does not mean communication satellites are safe. Communication satellites are among the most severely affected system by a solar storm.

Sangeetha the lead researcher wrote,” The damages are not caused by GIC but due to direct exposure to highly charged particles in CMEs.Threats to communication satellites include damage to electronic components and extra drag on the satellite, particularly in low earth orbit systems such as Starlink that can cause orbital decay and uncontrolled re-entry to the earth.”

If you still didn’t get how solar storm is going to affect the internet then here let me explain once again. Most of the repeaters used in under the sea cables are highly susceptible to failure and if most of the repeaters on a network go offline, it could create an internet blackout in a nation that only relies upon the undersea cables.

The internet today has been designed in a way that even if one pathway fails it could be rerouted through another pathway. But still, it is difficult to prodigy exactly what will happen when the solar storm will hit. In any case, it is safe to say that it won’t be good. But the damage will depend on how massive the solar storm is in size.

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