Effects of Space Weather On Electronic Systems

The insurance industry is looking at the possible effects of space weather on the world’s electronic systems.

The issue arises, say the insurers, because space weather goes in 11 year cycles and severe events are expected in early 2013.


Possible effects of these events are:


Ground currents from geomagnetic storms can flow through electricity distribution networks, resulting in blackouts and damage to transformers.


X-ray and extreme UV solar radiation during a solar flare could block global communications.


Solar radiation trapped in belts around Earth interacts with satellites leading to orbit decay, static electrical discharges and disabling of GPS services.


Clearly the insurance industry would like to get people to insure against the possibility of interference from space weather events but, equally clearly, it hasn’t got a clue about the scale of the risks.


“Accurate assessment of risk still remains in its infancy for all but a few niche sectors,” says Stephen Mildenhall, CEO of Aon Benfield Analytics.


i.e. no one knows how to calculate the premiums.

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  1. David Manners
    January 16, 2013 14:44

    Yes indeed Mr C, that convenient catch-all for claims-shy insurance companies.

  2. Mr Cynical
    January 16, 2013 14:11

    Otherwise known as “An act of God”?

  3. David Manners
    January 16, 2013 11:35

    You skewered it Dr Bob – that’s exactly the way our friends in the City think.

  4. Dr Bob
    January 16, 2013 11:30

    or as is more likely something that they can pin the blame on and then say that you are not insured for it to avoid paying out when something goes wrong

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