How solar superstorms could cut Internet access

A solar storm could have disastrous consequences on Earth for telecoms. — AFP Relaxnews

Although the probability of it happening is relatively low, the risk of a solar superstorm could threaten all or part of the world’s Internet connections, by jamming major undersea telecommunications cables. Note that this is also the theme of this year’s world days without cellphones and smartphones (World No Mobile Days), which take place Feb 6-8, 2022.

A solar superstorm is characterized by powerful eruptions on the surface of the star. In their most spectacular form, these could even have catastrophic consequences on Earth. A team of researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI), led by Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi, recently published a study entitled “Solar superstorms: Planning for an Internet apocalypse” in which the researchers discuss the possible Internet outages that such a phenomenon could cause, across all or part of the globe, for an undetermined period.

Indeed, in the worst-case scenario, geomagnetic currents could damage the repeaters installed along the huge submarine cables that connect the continents to each other. Even if the probability of this happening is low (at a little more than 1% in the next 10 years), this scenario is worrying. As such, the robustness of global Internet infrastructure could be challenged by a natural phenomenon occurring on a star located 150 million kilometers from the Earth.

This little-known phenomenon will be on the program of the 22nd world days without cell phones and smartphones, on Feb 6, 7 and 8, 2022, an event still orchestrated by the French writer, Phil Marso. – AFP Relaxnews

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