- Can Today’s Technology Survive a Major Solar Event?
- What Would Be the Consequences on Today's Technology?
- Steps You Can Take
What Would Be the Consequences on Today's Technology?
The potential consequences of such an event occurring today are eye-opening. In 2004, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences estimated that the economic cost of a repeat of the 1921 (let alone the 1859 storm) would be $2 trillion for the first four years—but with recovery taking up to 10 years for the U.S. alone. In addition, another informative and detailed report can also be found on the web. A report by Aon Benfield states, among other things, that a repeat of the 1859 space weather event would produce a potential economic loss of $44 billion for lost satellite transponder revenue alone, plus about $24 billion for the replacement of geosynchronous satellites. Even the loss of time signals from GPS satellites alone could have major repercussions. Sources note that most financial services, including a local bank’s automatic teller machines, rely on time signals from satellites.
The Aon Benfield report further points out that the global manufacturing capacity for high voltage transformers is estimated to be only about 70 units per year. Because a repeat of the 1921 space weather event might damage hundreds these units worldwide, replacement of so many transformers could take a year or more. How long could you or your organization survive in a power outage for that long?
The report concludes that solar storms are not black swan events—and that both insurers and insureds should take action now to limit their losses. The report even hints that insurers could be liable for unforeseen losses as a result of a solar windstorm across their portfolios, from machinery breakdown to directors and officers.