Congress Addresses the Space Weather Threat

Angela Fritz and Joe Kunches wrote an article for the Washington Post, 28 April 2016, titled Extreme space weather could cripple our infrastructure. This bill aims to prevent that.


On April 17, 2016, an active region on the sun’s right side released a mid-level solar flare, captured here by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. This solar flare caused moderate radio blackouts, according to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.


The article discussed the space weather legislation introduced in the Senate in April 2016 and contextualized the threat of space weather by discussing the Carrington Event:

Frighteningly, scientists speculate that a near-miss in July 2012 was...on par with the historic "Carrington Event" of 1859. If that type of event happened in the 21st century, some suggest it would knock us back into the stone age. Power would be out. Cell phones and GPS would be dead. If left unprepared, electrical infrastructure over a large portion of the globe would go dark and could stay that way for weeks or months.
Carrington has been heralded as the “worst case scenario” for solar explosions — but the truth is we don’t yet know what’s possible.

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.

Joe Kunches is based in Boulder, Colo., and was a former lead forecaster and operations chief at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center.

Benjamin Dancer

Benjamin is the author of the literary thriller Patriarch Run, the first book in a series that will include Fidelityand The Story of the Boy. He also writes about parenting, education, sustainability and national security.

Benjamin works as an Advisor at a Colorado high school where he has made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. His work with adolescents has informed his stories, which are typically themed around fatherhood and coming-of-age.

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