Earth stands a one in eight chance of being struck by a solar mega-flare of such violent proportions over the next decade it could cause trillions of dollars of damage, scientists warned today. The dire prediction comes after years of intense studies conducted on our celestial neighbor regarding the volatile nature of the sun and the possibility of it producing a catastrophic solar storm dubbed "The Killshot" by both scientists and government agencies.
The coming event would rival the effects of the famed Carrington Event more than 150 years ago when telegraph stations caught fire and their networks suffered massive black-outs after a dangerous solar flare erupted from the sun. A similar event today would devastate our technology-driven world, collapsing power grids worldwide, knocking satellites out of their orbits in space and grinding the modern world to a complete and total halt. Computers, telephones and other hand-held technological devices would be rendered useless, as the world's population would be forced into living conditions not seen for hundreds of years.
The prediction came as a shock even to the man who made it, Pete Riley, a respected senior scientist at Predictive Science in San Diego, California. "Even if it's off by a factor of two, that's a much larger number than I thought," he told Gizmodo after publishing his estimate in Space Weather on February 23, 2012.
Scientists and experts estimate a solar event similar to the Carrington would create $2 trillion worth of devastation the first year alone, with perhaps hundreds of millions of deaths caused by harsh living conditions, exposure to the elements as well as starvation and dehydration due to an extreme lack of potable drinking water and the inability to transport food.