Investing

Sun Storms May Disrupt Global GDP Growth, Or Not

Dr. Thomas Bogdan of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder recently expressed concern that solar activity could disrupt satellite communication, GPS accuracy and electrical power. He said that the sun has become more active, the early stages of sun storms which run in 12 to 13 year cycles. Bogdan expects a peak of this activity in 2013. If it is similar to the largest solar storms recorded 1859, much of the world’s communications and electric grids could be severely damaged.

Solar storms can be added to global warming, commodities price inflation, government unrest in the developed world, and real estate bubbles in China as events which could derail GDP growth. The trouble could be very acute if a number of these things happens together. The ocean could rise several feet and swamp Manhattan’s financial district. Solar flares might prevent people from driving with GPS-based technology.

The numbers of things that might bring the world’s economy to its knees increases almost continuously now, and the growth of them shows no sign of stopping.

Scientists say that solar storms present a danger, but, when pinned down, there is not a consensus. Sun flare predictions are a concern like global warming is. Is the unusually weather unusually warm because of an ozone whole or because of hundred-year cycles that warm and in turn cool the Earth’s atmosphere?

Solar storms could halt modern life as we know it, at least for a time. But, we will have to wait to see if the prediction is half-cocked like forecasts of meteors that will destroy the world, or an event that will stop much of civilization in its tracks.

Douglas A. McIntyre

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