X Class Solar Flare Sends ‘Shockwaves’ on The Sun. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

An international study reveals that solar storms can be much more powerful than what we have previously experienced.

The team has examined ancient ice from Greenland and Antarctica which show signs of extreme solar storms about 1,000 years ago.

Solar Storms Can Be Hazardous

Solar storms and the particles accompanied with them gives us beautiful Auroras, northern and southern lights. But are at the same time potentially hazardous for electronics.

Solar flares can knock out satellites in orbit, communication, and the electrical grid. Previous solar storms have caused widespread power outages. Such as the one that struck Canada in 1989 that caused the collapse of Hydro-Québec’s electricity transmission system.

The solar storms now seen in the ice samples indicate that these were at least ten times more powerful than any solar storm that we have been able to measure.

Better Risk Assessment

Analysis has indicated a sharp increase of radiocarbon in tree rings from the year 774 and the year 993 CE. The ice samples from Antarctica and Greenland also indicate a corresponding increase at the exact same time. Making the researchers draw the conclusion that extreme solar storms caused the increases.

The researchers now want to go further back in time and study ice from 10,000 years back in time to see the kind of extreme solar storms may have occurred repeatedly.

Multiradionuclide evidence for the solar origin of the cosmic-ray events of ᴀᴅ 774/5 and 993/4