Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.
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.Tags: gps services, insurance industry, solar flare, uv solar radiation, x ray