January 24th, 2012 • 4:16 PM
Planetary Defense: It's the CME, not the EMP

by Meghan Rouillard

The uptick in solar activity we’ve observed and experienced in recent days underscores the point made in our recent Basement Report on what must be the subject of real Planetary Defense.

Jan. 22nd solar flare

We are in the midst of what was being described at the strongest solar storm since 2005, but with solar radiation levels currently at their highest point since 2003. On Jan. 19th, the sun unleashed a coronal mass ejection which caused a geomagnetic storm and a very intense auroral display on Jan. 22nd, and only a day later, the sun unleashed a strong M9-class solar flare, almost X-class, a radiation storm, and then another CME, due to hit earth today. The auroras exemplify the beauty associated with these events, but they are, in fact, only beautiful warnings. The threat of a new so-called "Carrington event" (a major geomagnetic disturbance, on the order of an event which occurred in 1859) looms over mankind here on Earth, and with it, the possibility that half of the US population could be left without power for months on end, as the electromagnetic atmospheric disturbances resulting from CMEs can induce disruptive and irreversibly destructive currents in transformers, satellites, GPS, and other hardware. The transformers we would need to regain our electricity generating capability, were such a devastating CME to hit Earth, are no longer even produced in the U.S. Polar flights, but even some non-polar high-altitude flights, are currently being rerouted as a result of the effects of the most recent CME, as reported by Bill Murtagh, the Program Coordinator for NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center.

Auroras in Norway

Real planetary defense should deal with such physical economic considerations, in addition to expanding our capabilities in solar forecasting, which, as indicated in our Planetary Defense report, also has implications for earthquake and other kinds of forecasting. Such considerations should draw the attention of any serious President or presidential candidate, and serve as the basis for real policy making in defense of humanity. President Obama is on record as being anti-weather forecasting, disaster preparedness, and has shown callous indifference to any recovery effort which the extreme weather we’ve been experiencing has demanded-- just over the weekend, the same areas hit by the devastating tornadoes of last spring were hit again, not having yet recovered from the earlier blow.

Jan. 23rd CME

However, don’t let yourself be fooled that any of the Republican presidential candidates are any better on this subject. In particular, don’t let yourself be fooled by Newt Gingrich’s emphasis on the threat from a devastating “electromagnetic pulse,” which could cause similar effects as a Carrington event magnitude CME, but which, in Gingrich’s view, would be caused by a kind of atmospheric nuclear detonation by Iran, North Korea, or other so-called “rogue nations.” This is a line which muddled the intention of a recent conference on Space Weather which my colleagues and I attended in Washington, D.C.

To quote Newt, “We are on the verge of catastrophic problems,” he said of electromagnetic attack. “We have zero national strategy to respond to it today. That is why,” Mr. Gingrich added, “I favor taking out Iranian and North Korean missiles on their sites.”

In the face of currently incoming CMEs as we continue to enter into our solar maximum, Gingrich’s line is a dangerous diversion from real planetary defense and space weather threats. The very countries Gingrich would propose to preemptively attack, and others, have requested the cooperation of the United States on meeting such actual threats as asteroids, space weather, and more--this was the substance of the recent Russian proposal to the United States to jointly develop a Strategic Defense of Earth policy, which we further elaborated in our recent basement report, referenced above. Gingrich’s dangerous provocation, in the face of the actual current threats from our Sun, and the calls for international cooperation to meet such kinds of threats, gives us even more reason to think that he might only be a faker, as Kesha Rogers recently warned, and a dangerous one at that.

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The Basement Project began in 2006 as a core team of individuals tasked with the study of Kepler's New Astronomy, laying the scientific foundations for an expanded study of the LaRouche-Riemann Science of Physical Economics. Now, that team has expanded both in number, and in areas of research, probing various elements and aspects of the Science of Physical Economy, and delivering in depth reports, videos, and writings for the shaping of economic policy.