These days some of us feel the effects of the most powerful solar storm of the last few years, and unfortunately the effects are focused towards our planet.
The level 3 solar storm already started to interact with the magnetic field of the earth and it is gradually increasing in intensity, risking to affect the GPS systems and many other satellite communication services positioned on the orbit of our planet.
If the intensity of the solar storm increases high enough, we risk to much more things. The increased level of solar radiation can penetrate the earth’s atmosphere, especially at high altitudes, causing problems with airplane passengers. Generally, the effect is not harmful enough to cause problems to people who do not fly often, but for pilots and personnel the increased dose of radiation can cause some serious worry.
As response, many airline companies chose to take routes to avoid the polar regions, which are more exposed to solar storms.
Other technical problems can affect telemetry equipments, high resolution photo cameras and airplanes computers. Radio communications can be affected by the effects of the solar storm, especially in the North. Fortunately, the solar storm effects can’t do serious damage to airplane equipments thanks to the protection systems planes are equipped with.
While the precision of GPS systems is affected world wide, the most serious effects will be felt tomorrow, but these effects are not going to be felt by users who use the GPS for personal purposes. Bigger problems will appear on GPS systems used by the military where these equipments have to be very precise.
General blackouts are another major risk for northern countries and Canada and UK are more exposed.
Happily, the intensity of the solar storm that happens these days is not high enough to cause catastrophic effects to endanger the human civilization. The effects are temporary so we don’t have to worry too much but preemptive measures must be taken.