• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • End of the World 2013? National Geographic on EMP

    An EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack could permanently disable the electrical systems that run nearly all civilian and military infrastructures. If a large nuclear device exploded high in the atmosphere above the United States it would cause a catastrophe. A similar disaster could result from space weather, according to an article in National Geographic.

    A solar storm begins with hot gas from the sun hitting the earth’s atmosphere, causing an electromagnetic catastrophe. A few weeks ago, the world experienced the largest solar storm since 2007; it caused radio communications problems and a disruption of civil aviation. The sun has an 11 year sun-spot cycle; the time of peak activity of sunspots and solar flares is called the Solar Maximum. The peak of the 11-year solar storm is expected to hit in 2013; since 2000, the world has become even more dependent on global positioning systems for navigation and cell phone networks.

    Scientists are estimating that a solar EMP today could cost the world economy up to $2 trillion! These scientists have been warning countries like the U.S., the U.K. and Sweden to be prepared for any such storm and to take precautions against it. This storm could shut down communications satellites, cause surges in power lines, and cause power grid failures.

    In addition to dealing a devastating blow to the U.S. military, a solar storm could cause the destruction of the U.S. financial system and industries; today our financial structure relies on an advanced information technology system to accommodate millions of daily transactions. Effects on the transportation system would immediately disable millions of vehicles, rail cars, and planes. A disabled transportation system would inevitably lead to mass hunger and chaos, due to the amount of food that is transported on public transportation networks.

    Finally, telecommunications—via wireless, wired lines, satellite, and radio—are vital to our everyday lives and would be destroyed under an EMP storm or attack. If nothing is done to protect the country from a solar pulse storm, the destruction of this infrastructure could have a devastating effect in the United States. Our government has not even started taking common-sense measures to deal with this danger.

    Furthermore, the Administration is doing too little to deal with the threat of a manmade EMP from a nuclear-armed missile. In 2010, the Pentagon reduced the overall budget for missile defense by $1.6 billion, down 16 percent from 2009 levels. Building more robust long-range missile defense systems would help protect against the dangers of a possible nuclear EMP attack.

    Haley Parks is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to End of the World 2013? National Geographic on EMP

    1. Pingback: End of the World 2013? National Geographic on EMP

    2. Pingback: » Financial and World News Update – 03/07/11 NoisyRoom.net: The Progressive Hunter

    3. Edward Winegart, Pol says:

      You say that EMP could distroy the financial network. How can you distroy something that has already been distroyed by an anti-American government? Might be a good thing?

    4. Cincinnati OH says:

      Oh, but this is far less a threat than AGM (man-made global warming). Just ask Rev. Al.

      Unfortunately the Obama administration won't address the issue until they can figure out a way to use it to exert more control on our lives. God forbid the EMP event described above should take place. The only thing worse would be to have the current administration in power at the time.

    5. tim gabriel says:

      EMP has long been an issue. For that reason most comm. Has gone hardwired via fiber optics underground which is sheilded. Unfortunantly it will do little for sat. Comm.

      The solar storms have no defence.

      • North Carolina says:

        And it will do little for your communications devices. What good does it do to bring the fiber to the house if your devices are fried and there is no way to replace them?

    6. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I think it is a High Crime, Obama operating in the Foreign Interest to cut our Missile Defense Budget, make us vulnerable for the very thing predicted to hurt us! People don't know the details of EMP, that it induces such a powerful current in wires it burns up electric circuits. We have countermeasures, the B-52 was designed to withstand EMP sixty years ago! What is nettlesome to me is Iran's Space Program! The doomsday EMP can be more easily achieved than other disaster scenarios. Just put a nuke in orbit and blow it up above the United States! It is electrical fact that the higher a radio source, the more powerful it's Signal!

      When you consider President Obama wants the American Economy to go down so bad he will spend money as we go off the fiscal cliff! It is no surprise therefor he cuts the very defense we need to avoid and defend the EMP threat! There is no such thing as the End of the World, just the end of the American way of life! "Now you be good little peasants and go back to sleep!" Why does this President get away with Treason? If you can't see it, it is Sorcery, sophisticated deception well above the American People's heads! Obama serves the Foreign Interest exclusively! High Crime, and nobody sees?

    7. Joanna Tester Ohio says:

      Although the dangers of an EMP are real, the last paragraph leads me to believe that Miss Haley is trying to drum up public support for the pentagon's insanely huge budget. In these tough economic times we are facing, all gov't sectors should CUT the fat from their budgets, not scare the sheeple into agreeing to give more!!!

    8. Wes in cincy says:

      This type of solar activity effects climate change a whole lot more

      than cars and factories.

    9. Paul says:

      If we've not self destructed from fictictous global warming, we're now subject to being left in the dark following an EMP. Has there ever been so much doom and gloom?

      A solar radiation EMP is hardly the same as what could happen were a nuclear device detonated high (100-200 miles)above the CONUS. That would indeed turn off the lights for very likely a long time as our unhardened/unprotected electrical grid network would be fried along with all electronic ignition systems in vehicles/machinery. The resulting chaos for a society having been suddenly thrust back into the 18th century is forecast to cause massive death, i.e. 90% of the population dead within one year. Read the book "One Second After" for a detailed look at what could happen in such a drastic scenario. The Islamo-Nazis are doubtless working to that end with their currently unchecked nuclear development program.

    10. Bobbie says:

      Seems like a tremendous set-up with operations in place forcing everything to be electronic and in the mean time destroying American currency until the day comes that will shut down the world.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.