A solar storm like the Carrington event could soon disrupt the underwater Internet and cause severe internet outages for weeks.
At the Carrington Event in 1859, telegraph wires around the world melted due to the emission of large amounts of electromagnetic radiation from the sun.
If that happened again, it would take us a while back to the Stone Age.
Sangeetha Abdu Joythi, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a study on solar storms entitled “Solar Superstorms: Planning for an Internet Apocalypse.”
The study found that solar storms could not affect local internet infrastructure, but submarine internet cables.
This is because local Internet infrastructure, such as fiber optic cables, is often grounded and cannot be affected by geo-waves.
On the other hand, underground internet cables are likely to be cut off.
This is because the Internet cables are connected to the repeater between 50 and 150 km below the sea floor.
Repeaters amplify optical signals, and in the event of a Carrington-style solar storm, the electronics inside the repeater may melt.
If the repeater is badly damaged, the entire Internet cable network under the sea floor will be useless.
It will disrupt the Internet in many parts of the world, and we do not know how bad it will be until this happens.
Professor Sangeetha Abdu Joythi wrote in her paper: “A strong solar storm has the potential to seriously disrupt the Internet. ”
“As we conduct this quantitative study, it is important to be aware of the risks and to plan for their prevention in the long run,” he said.
She told WIRED: “It made me think of this because of the unprepared world in the world for epidemics.”
“The same is true of Internet robustness because there are no procedures in place to deal with it effectively.”
“Our internet infrastructure is not prepared for a major solar storm.”
“Also, it is very limited to understand the extent of the damage.”