Solar storms a threat to technology, scientists warn

Solar storms could have “devastating effects” on human technology when they hit a peak in 2013, an expert has warned.

US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assistant secretary Kathryn Sullivan said the storms pose a growing threat to critical infrastructure such as satellite communications, navigation systems and electrical transmission equipment.

Solar storms release particles that can temporarily disable or permanently destroy fragile computer circuits.

Dr Sullivan, a former NASA astronaut who in 1984 became the first woman to walk in space, told a UN weather conference in Geneva that “it is not a question of if, but really a matter of when a major solar event could hit our planet”.


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