01 logo

How likely is the imminent internet apocalypse and what can we do to prevent it?

Imagine a world without the internet, where we can’t access the vast information, communication, and entertainment that we take for granted. That’s the scenario that today’s shocking new story explores, as it reveals the looming threat of an internet apocalypse that could change everything 🤐🛑❕

By InfoPublished 9 months ago 5 min read
2
No More Internet 🤐🛑❕

Bracing for the Internet Apocalypse: How a Solar Superstorm Could Cause Global Blackouts

A solar superstorm powerful enough to disrupt internet access worldwide would certainly feel like an apocalypse for our hyper-connected society. But just how vulnerable are we to losing connectivity from severe solar weather?

While outlandish claims of an imminent doomsday abound online, scientists say a complete societal collapse is unlikely. However, solar storms can and do wreak havoc on electrical systems. With our heavy reliance on technology, a worst-case space weather event would have serious consequences across the globe.

The Solar Storm Doomsday Scenario 🤐🛑❕

The Solar Storm Doomsday Scenario

Here's how theorists envision an internet-ending catastrophe unfolding:

"A giant superstorm is ejected from the star and heads straight toward Earth. The high energy particles and electromagnetic waves slam into our planet’s magnetic field, causing brilliant displays of the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis across the planet. Unfortunately, the immense amount of electromagnetic waves penetrate Earth’s protective field and rip through the infrastructure of our society."

In this scenario, surges of electricity overload power grids and fry electronics worldwide. Without electricity, internet servers shut down. Life abruptly reverts to the pre-digital era. Chaos ensues as we struggle to function without our technology crutch.

While far-fetched as described, massive solar storms can impact power grids and communications. But would the effects really be so devastating? Let's examine what scientists say.

Debunking Imminent Doomsday Hysteria

Much of the apocalyptic speculation originated from one researcher's work being misconstrued.

"Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi is a computer science professor at the University of California Irvine. She wrote a paper in 2021 entitled "Solar Superstorms: Planning for an Internet Apocalypse." The paper itself was a means for Jyothi to examine how ready the planet is for a disaster that may disrupt access to the internet."

Jyothi never predicted imminent catastrophe. But alarmists cited her work to proclaim the world's end was near. NASA research on solar activity further fueled their doomsaying despite containing no actual warnings.

While solar storms will increase as the sun reaches its next maximum activity phase, there is no evidence an apocalypse-level event is about to occur. However, scientists do take more common solar storms seriously.

What Are Solar Storms and How Do They Impact Earth? 🤐🛑❕

What Are Solar Storms and How Do They Impact Earth?

The sun periodically ejects solar flares and coronal mass ejections - bursts of radiation and high-energy particles. When they hit Earth, interactions can cause:

  • Radio blackouts - Loss of high-frequency aviation and polar communications.
  • Power surges - Geomagnetically induced currents overload grid transformers and conductors.
  • Satellite glitches - Electronics fried or damaged; orientation disrupted.

The most concerning effect is power blackouts. Our electrical infrastructure was not built to handle extreme solar weather. Transformers fried by grids overloaded with induced current can take weeks or months to repair or replace.

"What happens when these high-energy particles and electromagnetic waves do reach Earth? Solar radiation, waves, and particles are passing by Earth almost all the time. This is why the Aurora Borealis in the northern hemisphere and the Aurora Australis in the southern hemisphere can be seen pretty much all year round. However, problems arise when there is an abundance of high-energy particles and electromagnetic energy as a result of a massive solar flare or coronal mass ejection."

Historical Solar Storm Grid Impacts

Past solar storms prove the risk is real:

  • 1859 Carrington Event - Surges electrified telegraph systems, shocking operators.
  • 1989 Quebec Blackout - Grid failure plunged 6 million people into darkness.
  • 2012 near miss - A massive ejection barely missed striking Earth head-on.

The stakes are far higher today with society deeply intertwined with electricity and the internet.

"The difference between the solar storms of the past and the impact such an event would have on our planet today is that we are much more reliant on electronics than ever before. 1989 might not seem like that long ago, but we have to remember that the internet really didn’t become mainstream until 1995, and the first iPhone didn’t hit markets until 2007."

Losing power and internet now would have severe consequences such as:

  • Hospitals forced to rely on generators.
  • Vehicles working but traffic lights out.
  • No communication between emergency responders and victims.
  • Economic losses in the billions per day.

Are We Prepared for a Worst-Case Scenario?

Despite our technology dependence, power and internet infrastructure has not been hardened against extreme solar weather:

  • Grid vulnerabilities not thoroughly tested by utilities.
  • Backup plans inadequate for long-duration outages.
  • Trillions of dollars of economic damage possible.

"Scientists and researchers also warn that even though we have become extremely reliant on electronics and technology, we have failed to thoroughly test much of our infrastructure to see how it would respond to an event such as a solar storm."

A robust emergency response to a widespread grid collapse could take weeks or longer. The chaos if communications and transport shut down would be enormous.

Apocalypse Unlikely but Outages Could Feel Like It 🤐🛑❕

Apocalypse Unlikely but Outages Could Feel Like It

A solar superstorm may not usher in the apocalypse, but it could severely impact modern life. As one expert noted:

"What it comes down to is that a solar superstorm could cause some serious damage and lead to chaos on our planet. However, it’s highly unlikely that such an event would bring about the apocalypse."

Losing internet access would be deeply unsettling for many who are heavily dependent on connectivity. Addiction-like withdrawal could set in for some people suddenly deprived of the internet.

"That being said, the internet has become so ingrained in our daily lives that cutting people off cold turkey could lead to some very real consequences. The internet can literally be a drug. In some cases, the body releases dopamine, the pleasure hormone, when a person receives a “like” on a post. This experience can be analogous to an addictive drug. Internet withdrawal is a real thing, and although a solar superstorm is unlikely to lead to a global apocalypse, it could feel like the end of the world to some people if they lose access to the Internet."

Conclusion 🤐🛑❕

Conclusion

Fantastical claims about an imminent "internet apocalypse" are unfounded. But solar storms can absolutely damage critical infrastructure and disconnect society digitally and electrically. Failures could cascade into a national emergency if grids aren't hardened. While not world-ending, the harm to our technology-dependent lifestyles would be highly disruptive. The threat deserves increased preparedness.

future
2

About the Creator

Info

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.