Northern Lights in the UK could be a bad sign

With the Sun going through its eleven year cycle and reaching its Solar Peak, more Coronal Mass Ejections are occuring. We here in the UK might have had the pleasure of seeing the Northern Lights softly ripple across the skies. But these lights can also be a worrying reminder that we need to be prepared for more harmful consequences.
The risk of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) affecting satellites and land-based systems on Earth is significantly higher during a Solar Peak period. Here’s why:

  • Power Outages: Strong geomagnetic storms can induce currents in power lines, causing blackouts that can range from a few hours to days or even weeks in extreme cases. This could disrupt essential services like refrigeration, communication, and transportation.
  • Communication Issues: Satellites play a crucial role in modern communication. A CME could disrupt GPS navigation systems, making driving and flying more challenging. Cell phone and internet services could also be affected.
  • Infrastructure Damage: Powerful CMEs can damage transformers in power grids, requiring repairs that take time.

Here’s what you can do to prepare:

  • Stay Informed: Organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitor solar activity and issue alerts for potential geomagnetic storms. You can sign up for these alerts to stay informed [].
  • Have a Plan: Consider having a plan for power outages. This could include having a battery-powered radio, flashlights, a first-aid kit, and a non-perishable food supply, lots of bottled water.
  • Be Prepared for Disruptions: Be aware that daily activities that rely on technology, like using ATMs or relying on GPS navigation, could be disrupted during a major CME event.