How secure are we from geomagnetically induced currents?

in STEMGeekslast year

In this pre-peer review paper, Analysis of long-term GIC measurements in transformers in Austria, they are trying to do a risk assessment on our electrical infrastructure as it relates to geomagnetically induced currents.

At the end of August 1859, a weeklong solar spectacle began. It is known as the Carrington Event.

It is a 150-year event. While similar to the impact that destroyed the dinosaurs, which might occur every so many million years, Carrington-level events can happen anytime within a period or not. Either we are over-due for a Carrington-level event, or the conditions of the sun might not be present yet.

How this relates to the article under analysis is critical. How safe would electrical infrastructure be worldwide if Earth received a similar assault?

There are now five years of measurements of DC in transformers at various locations in Austria. Worldwide, there are still few countries with GIC measurements spanning long time periods and multiple locations, with some examples being New Zealand(Rodger et al., 2017), China (Zhang et al., 2015), more recently the USA (Kellerman et72al., 2021) and Finland (Pirjola, 1989).
Analysis: Austria

They found that Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GIC) are damaging at all levels.

GICs with comparable short duration and high amplitudes as well as GICs with comparable low amplitude and long duration can cause the transformer hot spot temperature to increase above the acceptable design limits. A further increase in temperature causes a loss of insulation and internal transformer failures.

This means that not only a Carrington Event can damage the grid, but also sustained low amplitude events over longer durations can similarly cause damage.

What has not been considered is that we are seeing a decline in the magnetic shield protecting Earth from charged particles. Ordinarily, when the solar wind passes, the shield guides the charged particles around Earth the same way your breath is guided in such a way one can blow out a candle around a bottle


What happens when Earth's Field falters?


There will be no protection from even the smallest coronal mass ejections.

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