FAQ – This page is set aside to help you understand the why of solar storms, as Dr. Reid answers the most commonly asked questions:
Q: Why is a large CME harmful to the Earth?
A: During a solar storm, as the CME plasma cloud collides with Earth, large transient magnetic perturbations overlay and alters the normally stable Earth’s magnetic field. These perturbations are known as a geomagnetic storm, can induce voltage variations along the Earth’s surface. Induced electric fields in the Earth create potential differences in voltage between grounding points – which cause Geomagnetic Induced Currents (GICs) that naturally flow through any conductive material between grounding points. Most easily affected are power lines and the transformers they are connected to. Already near capacity, the American power grid will be severely or permanently damaged if enough additional electrical current is induced into the system.