A Fact, a Forecast, and a Story
by John Haller
The Solar Storm of 1859.
Nobody living today can remember two significant events that occurred in September 1859. These events were separated by a 24 hour break. Our ever-dependable friend the sun, sent two “death rays” our way, sometimes referred to in technical jargon as CMEs, or Coronal Mass Ejections. Solar storms.
Humankind had not noticed, nor had they ever been affected by these regular solar events in the past, because they didn’t have a noticeable effect upon a world without electrical technology. CMEs were a hitherto unknown electromagnetic hazard waiting to shake hands with humanity, just as soon as we gained a certain level of electrical technical ability.
By 1859 we had just done so. A fledgling transcontinental electrical network fed the telegraph system via large batteries and dynamos, and it was now linking two continents. North America and Europe were online 24/7, albeit comprised of Morse encoded dashes and dots.
The Sun fires CME’s regularly, but only when the sun’s plasma discharges align with the earth do they have any chance of reaching us. When certain types of sunspots near the sun’s surface reach the required peak electromagnetic intensity, they can pose a real threat to us.
The 1859 CMEs really were almost death rays for a few of the telegraph operators at the time. The telegraphers continued their transmissions as expected, even when everything indicated that there was something very unusual happening. These telegraphers did not even have to switch on their battery connections to send and receive Morse code, because the telegraphers could not switch them off. The electrical telegraph systems hummed and buzzed with an overload of uncontrollable electromagnetic energy.
Then there were strange auroras, brightly illuminating the evening skies just like curtains of moonlight as far south as the Bahamas. The population of the Southern hemisphere was also witnessing these purple hued Auroras. Really unusual!
Unfortunately, several telegraphers received intense electric shocks and indeed some telegraph buildings caught fire from the surging electrical current that the sun was sending to them. The sun and the earth had formed a monolithic electric circuit across the vast empty space between them. There was nothing visible to be seen connecting the sun with the earth, but this whole space was alive and pulsing with surging tantric waves of electricity, all ninety-three million miles of it.
The SUN was doing this to us? Who could have guessed?
One resolute contemporary solar observer and astronomer, Richard Carrington, was able to graphically reproduce in real time, the sunspot patterns that represented these CMEs. He observed through a specially constructed telescope which transferred the sun’s surface image onto a wall, just like a movie or slide show. Inspired by Richard Carrington’s devotion to solar observation, The Royal Astronomical Society named this solar phenomenon in Carrington’s honour. The Carrington Event of September 1859 had become a thing.
The Solar Storm of 2029
In 2029 more than a dozen northern hemisphere cities were affected by just such a Carrington-like event, but this time it was even more catastrophic. Whole cities went offline completely. One or two indefinitely, Mad Max territory. The city that Carlos lived in avoided the most destructive outcomes of this CME.
Somehow and by what good fortune, his city seemed to have been out of the direct focus of this CME.
There had been a blackout, but for less than twenty-four hours. “Que Bueno” – what a relief – everyone shouted when the lights turned on again that evening. All the locals including Carlos and the fellow residents of his condominium jumped for joy and fisted the air victoriously. Life could continue. Earlier that evening they had all congregated in the darkened streets, to see how everything might proceed if the day long blackout continued, but also to behold the strange fiery trails of meteors earthward bound. There were some who said that one had crashed into an apartment block just a few kilometres away, but at this stage no one knew anything for sure. Electronic communication had ceased. Everything had been during this momentous day, just word of mouth.
The meteors were low earth orbit satellites of one sort or another and the CME had interfered with or simply cut communication with their earth-based ground control. Unable to make any micro-telemetric adjustments to maintain their orbital integrity, they became prisoners of earth’s gravity. They headed back down faithfully, just like Brown’s Cows for milking, to the ever-loving and welcoming open arms of Mother Earth. Streaks of golden fire marked their self-destructive re-entry into the evening sky, their welcome home. After all, this is where they came from decades earlier.
Now Carlos was facing another more pressing problem. The medication for his ADHD (his monthly supply), was meant to be delivered that morning. Faced with imminent cold turkey, withdrawal from his prescribed Ritalin was an unwelcome but assured outcome. He determined to make a shopping run to the local public charging station/take out restaurant which sold a type of Absinthe spirit. He had used it as a substitute if he had ever overused his strictly prescribed ADHD supply in the past.
The only problem was that the power grid had gone out during the previous evening, and this meant that his e-scooter was not 100% charged. But his scooter had the super battery that could provide extra acceleration if you needed a quick getaway. He set off soon after the city lights returned hoping that the public charging station/restaurant was still operational.
He passed the local playground park, which was now a shanty town of tents and makeshift lean-to dwellings and had become the inferior sub-section of the modern city that Carlos lived in. It had been like that for many months – it smelt like it too. Public toilets were unavailable because of security reasons. Discarded trash and human waste was deposited in surprising locations. If he was desperate enough, he might be able to score home-baked meth-amphetamine from there to substitute for his prescription, but at what price and at what risk?
He pressed on but noticed that he had menacing and unwelcome looking company in his vicinity – three of them riding e-scooters formed up behind him.
The bright shiny net zero carbon future, promised to us by all those future fakers from the climate alarm ranks, had gotten everything wrong – a full 180 degrees out of alignment with reality. Global cooling, not warming, was upon us. A mini–Ice Age.
Unnoticed back in 1859 the Carrington event had another surprise for humanity and for animal life susceptible to it. The magnetic North and South poles were inexorably moving from their stationary historical locations. The ever-reliable compass points were imperceptibly on the march. Those solar pulses of 1859 had affected earth’s invisible magnetic shield aka, the Magnetosphere, as if there was a giant unseen hand sliding a contact lens on a monolithic eyeball (The Earth’s surface) to readjust it for comfort. Thus: the magnetic North pole was heading south, and the South magnetic pole was heading north.
Migratory animals were affected by this, especially herds of Pilot whales and Sperm whales. They relied on their internal magnetic pointers to guide them safely through deep water channels and bays. The gradually shifting North South magnetic axis was sometimes just enough out of expected alignment to cause the whales to beach in an unfamiliar bay, which when it drained at low tide, prevented them from returning to safety.
The drifting magnetic North and South poles liberated by the Carrington event in 1859 were also causing serpentine deviations in the usually linear patterns of the circumpolar vortices and jet streams. They pulled down unusually intense Arctic and Antarctic oceans of frigid icy atmosphere to lower latitudes. Thus, positioned they hung in place week after week, month after interminable month.
The climate pundits had set our future as if we were going to be inhabiting an imaginary tropical island, “Christmas in Heaven”. The reality was more like World War Two. Stalingrad January 1943. Hitler’s doom. The Nazis vs the frozen Soviet Russian Front!
The climate was unambiguously growing colder and no one in their right mind could deny it.
The practical outcome of this steadily intensifying coldness meant that due to increasing demand, electricity was becoming a luxury that many could no longer afford. For those who could purchase the outlandishly expensive E-cars, they were being subsidised by the average consumer who was charged ever increasing electricity bills to offset the cost of recharging these cars. Charging one consumed many times the usual domestic daily household usage. Private car ownership was now out of the question for most and there was almost no private traffic on the roads either, especially after dark.
Energy demand became higher. Electricity supply had become more like a rare commodity than the ubiquity it once had been.
One of the first effects of this “Net Zero Carbon” was over-husbanding of electrical power. This meant that the original voluminous streetlights, once seemingly fit for purpose, were replaced by tiny LEDs which barely illuminated the base of the poles that they were attached to. Big pools of scary darkness broken only by something that resembled a star in the night sky. They were almost indistinguishable from the rest of the distant firmament.
Carlos had just flashed underneath one of these impotent miracles of efficiency, when he noticed that his escorts, potential muggers on e-scooters, were gaining on him.
The time had come for him to crank open the super battery function of his scooter and go for broke. Onwards to the public facility not far ahead and to hell with his less-than-optimal charge status for the moment! With a certain grandiosity, and accelerating himself clear of his pursuers, Carlos arrived at the public facility easily. He watched as his trackers forlornly slid past, drifting back into the darkness and unlikely to bother him now that he had reached this bright oasis of light.
There were people enjoying the relief of the return of the light, wining, and dining in the restaurant corner of the public bar and there was the unmistakeable magic hum of excited voices, as if to greet him, when Carlos pushed open the entrance door to the garish interior of the public. It was a great relief to be in a world of light again.
Carlos slumped on one of the benches and ordered “A beer, please”!
He was safe, for now.
The Carrington Event:
Sun Shockwaves Can Take Out The Modern World:
Born and raised in Melbourne Australia, John Haller is one of the baby boomer generations. He became interested in journaling and keeping meticulous daily weather records at age eleven. Weather recording gave him a deeper understanding of the seasonal and often-complex Melbourne /Southern Victorian, weather patterns that few seem to comprehend, but many complained about. He became interested in climatology and especially just how variable the Earth’s climate had been over the millennia and distant past. Ice Ages, Solar, cycles and the work of Milutin Milankovitch in accurately explaining these phenomena, became well known to him. Now retired in Western Australia, he spends much of his time in musical composition, mindfulness meditation instruction and debunking many of the alarmist and erroneous views that seem to have pervaded the media of today about climatology. He is a member of the Saltbush Club and also follows closely the published works of Valentina Zharkova, a highly credentialed Solar Physicist. Professor Zharkova believes that we are entering a mini-ice-age now.