If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...?

Discuss those "what if" or "what would you do" scenarios you've been wondering about.

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If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...?

Post by Das Sheep » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:38 pm

Ok,

So its noon and you find out that earlier in the morning a solar flare estimated to be as strong or stronger than the Carrington has recently erupted and is earth directed. Maybe someone posts about it here, maybe you follow other sites and the like that let you know. There is nothing in the main stream news about it and sites like solarham are offline, but there are youtube videos with various levels of information coming out.

You have about, most of them suggest, a day, maybe three at the most, before it hits.

What would you do?

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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:42 pm

Das Sheep wrote:There is nothing in the main stream news about it and sites like solarham are offline, but there are youtube videos with various levels of information coming out.
Moderately nothing. I take that back. I do more or less the same as normal, but avoid going to stores. I might expect peopel to act stupid. Still, if the only news source is youtube, I'm not buying it.
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Bonecrusher Doc » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:18 pm

I know a guy who has a PhD in solar weather. If he told me "the end is nigh", I would take him seriously. More seriously than people that I don't know on YouTube.

First I would probably fake sickness to leave work. That way, if the event DIDN'T happen, no significant consequences.

Priority #1 is to get all immediate family members in the same location (preferably home), or at least headed towards the same location with a Plan A and a Plan B on how to rendezvous. You never know if the phones and automobiles will stop functioning in ten minutes rather than ten hours.

Next priority would be to warn relatives, friends, and neighbors that I think would be likely to heed my warning.

Maybe put gas in the cars and top off my supplies of consumables (food, fuel, batteries) but I think only by going with a rucksack to the store just down the corner, because I don't want to be driving when things stop working and possibly get in a car wreck.

If nobody else knows what is happening, then chaos and looting will take a little while to set in, so there's no need to avoid nearby stores and button up the house prior to the event. Once the word gets out, though, that's a different story. Then I'd talk with the neighbors about their particular situations (they might still be trying to gather their loved ones) and start setting up shifts for who sleeps, who takes care of the kids, and who is on guard. It would be pretty hard to sleep right away though.

In the back of my mind I might be concerned that a somewhat nearby nuclear power plant could have problems because of the event; I don't think I'd dose the kids with potassium iodate right away though.

Long-term plan: unfortunately right now I would just have to outsurvive the other people in my city and eventually have to start scavenging Selco-style. However, later this year I am trying to get the rural permaculture homestead started.
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Tater Raider » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:26 am

The Carrington Super Flare took less than 18 hours to travel from Sol to Earth, usually it takes longer. If it's as big or bigger, assume you've got 16-20 hours to impact.

Get some more propane and hunker down until the power gets turned back on, if it goes out, is the extent of what I can do.


EtA: Give me 2 years before this happens and you can add trying to skip some radio signals off the Aurora Borealis. They are gonna be huge and I'm going to have fun with it.

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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by JayceSlayn » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:09 am

It's my understanding that the Carrington event took just under 18 hours to reach Earth by virtue of the fact that it was second in a series of coronal mass ejections (i.e. a chance occurence) and that typically CME's take a day or two to reach Earth.

I don't have hardly any relevant background to geomagnetic storms, excepting maybe a week of my astrophysics course, but I think generally they have been over-hyped. We do have monitoring satellites around the sun, mainly because solar weather is very relevant to our orbiting satellites and crews in space. On the ground, we might see disruptions to many different kinds of radio transmission/reception (GPS, radar, radio), and spurious currents in long conductors (many kilometers). Depending on the sensitivity of the system, it might range from minor annoyance to causing significant trouble, but to the average person observing things, the most you're likely to witness right away is some pretty sky lights. Cars, iPads, etc. are going to keep running as normal (with the caveat being whatever larger network you operate them in may experience some trouble).

That being said, there are a lot of fairly sensitive systems that exist in critical points within the interconnected web of the modern world, and I can see where the concern comes from. Given sufficient warning (a day maybe?) I think most of these systems could be rearranged sufficiently to minimize damage, though. E.g. power utilities can disconnect susceptible equipment from the transmission system using already in-place switches, which would still result in widespread temporary blackout, but should be able to recover pretty much right away after the storm had passed.

I don't think you're looking so much at an apocalyptic scenario as much as a worldwide "pause" - where a lot of our modern conveniences may go down or be unusable for the period of the storm's passing. Obviously, that may be enough to trip most people into "the sky is falling" mode. There will be mass hysteria, but I think a number of people would also take it as a welcome vacation from normal life, and embrace the special moment to awe at the power of our solar mother.
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by LastBoyScout » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:35 am

Take all my money out of the bank. It may or may not be worth anything but ATM cards will be useless.

Just one thought I did not see covered.
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by ineffableone » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:51 am

JayceSlayn wrote:I don't think you're looking so much at an apocalyptic scenario as much as a worldwide "pause" - where a lot of our modern conveniences may go down or be unusable for the period of the storm's passing. Obviously, that may be enough to trip most people into "the sky is falling" mode. There will be mass hysteria, but I think a number of people would also take it as a welcome vacation from normal life, and embrace the special moment to awe at the power of our solar mother.
It would not be a simple extended holiday or vacation. It would be very serious, and possible the complete fall of western civ.

If the Carrington event lit telegraph lines on fire. Think what it will end up doing to our modern electrical grid. When that goes down the world is in for some serious apocalyptic problems. Especially if it is world wide. Since it takes power to create the things we need to get the power back on. Mean while food no longer coming into cities and all the other issues of lack of power creates.

Along with if the power stays off, things like chemical plants exploding, nuclear power plants melting down, etc all become very real problems.

As for my answer to the WWYD?

If I were to get enough advanced warning of a serious Carrington type event and respected and believed the source. #1 option, head for south of the equator. The majority of the worst issues due to collapse of western civ is in the Northern hemisphere. Nuclear power, huge nasty chemical plants, etc. So to the south I would be heading if I knew such a large event was coming.
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by mantis » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:17 am

I would do several things:

1) Keep my mouth shut and don't tell a single person except for immediate family.
2) Go out and run up my credit cards buying a new generator, a large stock of gasoline with stabilizer, every battery I could get my hands on along with additional non-perishable food and bottled water.
3) unplug all electrical appliances in the house
4) Disconnect the car battery and if possible remove the module (computer)
5) Place critical items such as walki-talkies, radios, cell phones, laptops car modules, etc inside make-shift faraday cages (such as those made out of ammo cans and Styrofoam).
6) Wait it out.
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Tater Raider » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:42 am

ineffableone wrote:If the Carrington event lit telegraph lines on fire. Think what it will end up doing to our modern electrical grid.
With no power on the grid they will have to shut the nuclear reactors down. Backup generators will keep the water circulating around the nuclear fuel until they run out of diesel. At that point we will have a problem.

So let's look at the problem from the other end: the experts of YouTube. The CME will take a while to get here (20-40 hours, it's a question on the Amateur General Exam and that's the only reason I know that tidbit of trivia) but the X-Ray and UV radiation released will hit atmo in just 8 minutes. If nothing else, hams on the daylight side of the planet will notice the D layer of the ionosphere's massive increase in radio wave absorption and if there is one thing they do is talk, solarham online be damned. It won't be long before they go worldwide and that means that we should hear something from the science community (realistically assuming that you can't keep them hushed up because astronomer's are global and they are also scientists - knowledge belongs to everybody) so I expect to hear about it, possibly experience it myself (it is noon after all, that "damned daylight layer", D Layer, is at it's strongest then but you still have some HF normally so if all HF suddenly goes bye-bye there's a chance I would notice), as a result.

solarham.net is just one source of info for those that live in the radio shack. I get some of my isotropic layer info from Australia and then there's other social media that hams use (reddit, twitter, facebook, etc.) so IMHO keeping a lid on this stuff is going to be impossible - news agencies are going to be all over this like flies on feces.

So if the only source is YouTube, it's about as real as Bigfoot.

Now if the "Experts" on YouTube nail it and we do get the CME, I'm going to go play with my ham radio and the aurorae, because pretty plus bouncing the 2m band sounds fun to me and at that massive a CME I'm looking at a once-in-many-lifetimes event happening (they average 1 per 500 years) followed by dealing with nuclear fallout.

My fallout shelter is at the cleaners and I'm not going to be able to deal with people in a public shelter so I'm a dead man and that's the truth. In the meantime, I'm going to have fun.

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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Ryder358 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:31 pm

I work as a third party inspector for nuclear and non nuclear boilers and pressure vessels. I was just talking to a nuclear engineer last night about the effects of an EMP on the 104+ nuclear reactors in this country. Here's the quick rundown. While the nuclear plants make electricity, they don't run off their own. They get their power from the grid and usually multiple places wired in from different compass points to avoid interruption. If the CME causes an EMP big enough to fry the electronics that run the grid the nuclear plants are on their own. Control room and instrumentation and the offices around the reactor building go dark. Next, IF the diesel generators weren't damaged they should turn on, might need a manual start, and keep the cooling water flowing. Reactor gets SCRAMed and life is good. For a bit. With fission stopped, the only heat you have to remove is the decaying fuel, so let's say 10 years or so until its not hot enough to be super scary. There most likely isn't more than a weeks worth of fuel onsite. After that week they might have a day or two with batteries. Then the meltdown begins.

Now if only one plant was crippled I'm sure we could keep it on life support and advert disaster. But with more than 104 reactors plus hot fuel storage all across the country we are pretty SOL. The most SOL are those along and east of the Mississippi river. Eastern half if this country us packed with nuclear reactors, the western half isn't as bad. Canada has mist of its plants around the great lakes.

I have two plans for this:
1) If there's warning buy all the gas and water I could carry in the 91 suburban. Maybe one last trip for food, ammo and barter items. With three parts switched out on the 91 Suburban, by going back to a carburetor and points system it'll still run after EMP. Load up and bug out ASAP for the North West corner of the US or lower south west corner of Canada to stay away from the coming fallout.
or
2) Crack open a beer, watch it all end.
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Blast » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:10 pm

Warn friends and family, then go to the local plant nurseries, buy up every canna lily I could find and plant them all over my yard.
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Barnabus » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:28 pm

Das Sheep wrote:Ok,

So its noon and you find out that earlier in the morning a solar flare estimated to be as strong or stronger than the Carrington has recently erupted and is earth directed...
hate to sound ignorant, but what is the Carrington ??
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Barnabus » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:30 pm

Tater Raider wrote:The Carrington Super Flare took less than 18 hours to travel from Sol to Earth,.
o.k. , now I know. :v:
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by MacAttack » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:31 am

I would call the local nationally connected news room. Like our local Fox station.

I would give them all the information I had and the sources for all that information. Along with my address and name.

After that I would sit back and wait like everyone else.

Nothings going to happen until after the event happens. Then the news crew will be right out to interview me since I will be the only source of the information they would be able to contact anymore.


They would never air anything until they checked it all out and that would take longer than event happening.


As for running around and gathering things, well if your not ready by now your just not ready.

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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Tater Raider » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:14 am

Barnabus wrote:
Tater Raider wrote:The Carrington Super Flare took less than 18 hours to travel from Sol to Earth,.
o.k. , now I know. :v:
Here's some links if you like. The first 2 are Wiki and 3rd is a "What If...?" deal. So basically we're looking at the telephone system and power grid going down, going down hard, and staying down for a while. Not so much at risk are computer chips but stuff plugged into the grid could be broken badly and the one person in the world who still uses a land line could be injured. The effects on radio communications are pretty much what I put out but I may be underestimating how bad/good (depending on the frequency) they could be. Satellite signals will be all kinds of messed up (GPS will go down for a bit, TV signals will be disrupted). Manned Space Missions in progress, such as the International Space Station, will be hosed in a big way.

The biggest long-term impact will be from the power grid going down. I've learned enough about what could happen if it goes down long-term to scare myself pretty good, the worst of which Ryder358 has laid out beautifully. (EtA: Best guesses I've seen as to how long it would take to restore the grid seems to be around a year or more with critical stuff getting priority, but if it happens it will be a very tense few months for me, watching to see if they can get power back to the nuclear plants before bad stuff happens.)

Sorry it took so long to write this and hope it's helpful.


EAtA: According to what I'm finding, we're just coming off Solar Maximum now. :D

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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by JayceSlayn » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:37 am

Tater Raider wrote:
Barnabus wrote:
Tater Raider wrote:The Carrington Super Flare took less than 18 hours to travel from Sol to Earth,.
o.k. , now I know. :v:
Here's some links if you like. The first 2 are Wiki and 3rd is a "What If...?" deal. So basically we're looking at the telephone system and power grid going down, going down hard, and staying down for a while. Not so much at risk are computer chips but stuff plugged into the grid could be broken badly and the one person in the world who still uses a land line could be injured. The effects on radio communications are pretty much what I put out but I may be underestimating how bad/good (depending on the frequency) they could be. Satellite signals will be all kinds of messed up. Manned Space Missions in progress, such as the International Space Station, will be hosed in a big way.

The biggest long-term impact will be from the power grid going down. I've learned enough about what could happen if it goes down long-term to scare myself pretty good, the worst of which Ryder358 has laid out beautifully.

Sorry it took so long to write this and hope it's helpful.
The last source, by Nat Geo, also suggests that the power grid could possibly protect itself (with sufficient warning) by disconnecting large (substation etc.) equipment from the relative "antennas" of power lines they have strung everywhere - that should be possible as an administrative action. I would assume that people may also need to personally disconnect their homes from the grid at their breaker boxes, since inter-city grids could still be picking up some significant currents.

I think there are mitigation strategies that would work to lessen the disruption, and if they were all implemented perfectly, it could be less than catastrophic. It would still cause major disruption of daily events, and that would be enough for "just-in-time" industry/food-/gas-distribution etc. to make big problems for a lot of people. It would still cost billions globally, even if only accounting for lost productivity during the storm.

I would agree that given even a fairly generous 24-48 hours of lead-time, the protocols are not in place worldwide to organize a perfect defense, and it is likely to be some fraction of the apocalyptic scenarios suggested. In reference to what I said earlier in that the CME disaster is "over-hyped", I meant that it should not have to be so bad, but I would concede that in a realistic sense it probably is going to be very bad still.

Since it is ZS and this is "If you knew", I'd also agree that if you weren't prepared by the time the T-18 hours mark came around, there isn't a whole lot you could do. Stock up on a little extra food and gas and get yourself to your BOL, where you already set up everything you need to live for a year or two? If I didn't have that in place, I guess I'd shelter up as well as I could and pray it doesn't get as bad as we say.
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Tater Raider » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:11 pm

JayceSlayn wrote:The last source, by Nat Geo, also suggests that the power grid could possibly protect itself (with sufficient warning) by disconnecting large (substation etc.) equipment from the relative "antennas" of power lines they have strung everywhere - that should be possible as an administrative action. I would assume that people may also need to personally disconnect their homes from the grid at their breaker boxes, since inter-city grids could still be picking up some significant currents.

I think there are mitigation strategies that would work to lessen the disruption, and if they were all implemented perfectly, it could be less than catastrophic. It would still cause major disruption of daily events, and that would be enough for "just-in-time" industry/food-/gas-distribution etc. to make big problems for a lot of people. It would still cost billions globally, even if only accounting for lost productivity during the storm.
I'm with you on that, but you've got a lot of transformers that will need replacing and so on before the power can come back on. It's going to be a matter of priorities as to what gets back online first, then next, and so on and how quickly they can get back online. A whole lot of infrastructure is going to need inspecting on top of that so I'll be a bit more pessimistic than you on this one and I'm okay with being wrong on this too. :)


Short-term, I'm thinking a Katrina-level event in every major metropolitan area as far as impact goes. The greater the population density the worse the effects of a food and water shortage, power lost at the hospitals, traffic issues created by the loss of signals, and mess from loss of sanitation.

I'm completely with you, though, that if you aren't already prepped you ain't gonna be prepped in under 20 hours.

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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Wraith6761 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:39 pm

I admit, I know very little about solar flares and Carrington CME type events, so I'm sorry if this seems like a dumb question...but wouldn't an EMP from a solar flare only affect the side of the Earth that was facing the sun at the time the event hit (the day side, so to speak)? I keep seeing stuff about how it would cripple the grid globally, and it would be a global catastrophe...but at the same time, from what I've been told, it's an expanding wave from Sol outwards into the solar system, so how would it wrap around the planet to hit the night side? Is it a sustained event that would continue hitting the planet long enough for a full planetary rotation (i.e. a full 24 hrs)?

I understand how it would be a global catastrophe from the perspective of disrupting imports/exports, transportation, and economics, I just don't see the "how" side of it crashing the power grid throughout the planet.
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by ineffableone » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:11 pm

Wraith6761 wrote:I admit, I know very little about solar flares and Carrington CME type events, so I'm sorry if this seems like a dumb question...but wouldn't an EMP from a solar flare only affect the side of the Earth that was facing the sun at the time the event hit (the day side, so to speak)? I keep seeing stuff about how it would cripple the grid globally, and it would be a global catastrophe...but at the same time, from what I've been told, it's an expanding wave from Sol outwards into the solar system, so how would it wrap around the planet to hit the night side? Is it a sustained event that would continue hitting the planet long enough for a full planetary rotation (i.e. a full 24 hrs)?

I understand how it would be a global catastrophe from the perspective of disrupting imports/exports, transportation, and economics, I just don't see the "how" side of it crashing the power grid throughout the planet.
From what I understand (no expert just have read reports from experts, but my interpretation may be wrong) is the reason it can effect the entire world is that it does not enter through the atmosphere directly, but through the magnetic field at the weak points of the poles. That it will flow south from the North Pole and north from the South Pole, as it finds it's way in through the magnetic field.

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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Confucius » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:41 pm

Ryder358 wrote: Here's the quick rundown. While the nuclear plants make electricity, they don't run off their own. They get their power from the grid and usually multiple places wired in from different compass points to avoid interruption. If the CME causes an EMP big enough to fry the electronics that run the grid the nuclear plants are on their own.
That's straight up stupid planning...

I work in a refinery, and ALL critical pumps and compressors at our plant are run on steam turbines. Not that we don't have a ton of electric motors out there, but everything that we need to bring the plant down safely is on steam. Even a little power hiccup can knock a synchronous motor out of operation until we can get someone out to start it back up...

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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by slicknickns » Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:26 pm

MacAttack wrote:
As for running around and gathering things, well if your not ready by now your just not ready.
This, and I am far from ready.

As for contacting the media; hell no.
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by MacAttack » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:06 am

Do you really think the Media will broadcast anything like this before getting 5 independent sources confirming it and then at least one government official to answer what they plan to do about it?

Hell no. They might broadcast that some nut case was shopping it around to news agencies and to ignore him but they will never broadcast it as true without proof. Proof as in not the internet.


Though I can see why someone would be afraid to be called an idiot if it didn't happen.



At least my way I can claim I tried to help everyone before it happened.

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Night of the Living Dead (1968)
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Location: Texas

Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Browning 35 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:22 am

If I believed it (unlikely) no one still knows its coming right?

Go use the credit cards to buy even more food and water and go buy that generator I've had my eye on as well as four drums capable of storing diesel as well as a pump. I'd also buy more propane for my camp stove.
Mr. E. Monkey wrote:
Evan the Diplomat wrote:Why do you want to shoot penguins? What did they ever do to you?
It's that smug, superior attitude of theirs, strutting around in their fancy outfits like they're better than everyone else. Yeah, burn in hell, you snobbish bird bastards.

And don't get me started on pandas!

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Tater Raider
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Re: If you knew a Carrington Event sort of CME was coming...

Post by Tater Raider » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:00 am

More info on CME's:

link
In January, the NOAA identified a sizable sun spot dubbed AR 1944. Within hours of warnings being issued about the potential for this particular region of the sun to cause earth-directed coronal mass ejections it sent an X-class solar flare our way. While powerful, that particular flare and the subsequent M-class flares were not strong enough to cause any significant disruptions on earth.

But as the spot rotated to the other side of the sun things got interesting… and ever more dangerous for the people of earth.

AR1944 has since been renamed to AR1967, and the region is now more active than it was in January. According to sky photographer John Chumack, AR1967 has grown considerably. It is now wider than Jupiter. That’s big. So big, in fact, that you can fit over 100 earth-sized planets into it.
Keep in mind that as far as Sol is concerned that this is business as usual and we've been dealing with this stuff since the dawn of electrical power.

Sooner or later, though, something's gonna happen along the lines of an X40+ solar flare and all that entails. The question is, "Will it happen in my lifetime?" No one knows that.

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