IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


14th July, 2023 Geography

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The increased interest among scientists regarding the potential consequences of the upcoming Solar Maximum in the current solar cycle.


  • The Sun is set to reach the Solar Maximum in the next two years of the current solar cycle.
  • Heightened interest among scientists regarding the potential impact on Earth.
  • Possibility of disruption to large-scale communication infrastructure and the "internet apocalypse."
  • Lack of comment from NASA on the possibility of an internet outage caused by a solar storm by 2025.

What is the Solar Maximum?

  • Period of peak solar activity with the strongest and most disordered magnetic field.
  • Solar cycles last around 11 years, and the solar maximum occurs roughly in the middle of each cycle.
  • Increased solar activity during the solar maximum can cause large-scale solar storms, eruptions, and flares.
  • Potential impacts on Earth: disruption of radio communications, power grid, internet, and health risks for astronauts.
  • Unlikely for individuals on Earth to experience direct effects of the solar maximum


Internet Apocalypse Concerns

  • Uncertainty surrounding the potential impact of the 2025 solar storm on the global internet.
  • Historical examples: Carrington Event of 1859 caused telegraph line disruptions, 1989 solar storm disrupted the Quebec power grid.
  • The Washington Post report highlights valid concerns about the impact on Earth's interconnected infrastructure.
  • Lack of experience with extreme case events and unknown response of infrastructure.
  • Computer science professor, Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi, mentions the term "internet apocalypse" in her research.
  • Severe solar storms can damage undersea communication cables, leading to long-distance connectivity interruptions.
  • Potential economic impact: reports suggest more than $11 billion in losses in a single day for the US alone.


Q) Consider the following statements about Solar Maximum:

  1. Solar maximum is the period in the solar cycle when the Sun has the most sunspots.
  2. The Solar Maximum is a period of peak solar activity during which the Sun's magnetic field is at its weakest point.

Select the correct statements using the codes below:

(a)    1 only

(b)   2 only

(c)    Both 1 and 2

(d)   Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: A