Major Space Super-Storms Happen Every 25 Years and That’s Much More Often Than Thought

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Space super-storms are a serious worry as they can cause blackouts and significant damage.

And according to new data, “great” super-storms occur roughly every 25 years and that’s pretty concerning.

Great space super storms occur every 25 years
Great space super storms occur every 25 years. Picture by MuratArt / Shutterstock

Dramatic space weather events can affect satellites, power stations, and electronics. But one of the main goal for protecting us and our technology against these cataclysmic events is to estimate their chances of occurrence.

According to a new research, a severe super-storm happens in 42 years out of 150 cataloged (28%), and a “great” super-storm occurs in six years out of 150, (4%). That’s roughly one every 25 years, much more often than previously thought.

Super-storms are rare events but estimating their chance of occurrence is an important part of planning the level of mitigation needed to protect critical national infrastructure.

This new paper proposes a new method to approach historical data, to provide a better picture of the chance of occurrence of super-storms and what super-storm activity we are likely to see in the future.

Examples of space super storms

The most powerful recorded solar storm, the Carrington Event of 1859, falls beyond the aa index.

However, we have plenty of data on the great super-storm of 1989 that caused a major power blackout in Quebec.

A near miss occurred in 2012 when a coronal mass ejection was released by the Sun did not hit Earth.

Message to take home

The new data give an idea of how likely a powerful storm is to happen in any given year.

In other words, a storm like the one from 1989 has a 4 percent chance to occur in any given year. Another Carrington Event has a projected value of 0.7 percent.

What’s concerning is that the number is higher than thought. Be prepared!

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