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WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
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rriley Offline

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Post: #71
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
(03-05-2012 10:30 PM)SuperSleeper Wrote:  
(03-05-2012 04:55 PM)rriley Wrote:  The 12v marine batteries and inverter are not a very elegant solution to providing backup power. A better way to do this is to use a pure sine wave converter such as the CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD Pure Sine Wave UPS. They come in various capacities and prices, the most powerful is 900w and costs $188 at the "big store" online. Plug in your CPAP to the Cyberpower, plug the Cyberpower into the wall and you are done. Easy to move around, enough power for the night, no tangle of cables to fool around with. It stays charged all the time, makes no noise and automatically supplies power if your AC goes off. Simple.


Maybe I'm missing something? It's not the wattage of a backup power supply that matters, but the amp-hour rating of it's batteries. Please see my post on figuring how long a lead-acid battery will last and how to figure what amp-hour rating on a battery system you're going to need. From what I've read, this UPS you mentioned is powered by two 8.5 amp-hour batteries, correct? Most CPAPs without humidifiers draw about 1 amp per hour. Add a humidifier and that can go up to 3 amps per hour or more (depending upon several factors).

I'm assuming those UPS batteries are maintenance-free sealed lead-acid like other similar UPS backups.

Those two batteries add up to 17 amp hours and the formula is amp hours x 90% / hourly amperage draw, which will give you your max hours that will run your battery down to zero percent charge... but you should never run a lead-acid battery that far down (60 % max). So with this Cyberpower UPS, the formula would be:

8.5 AH X 2 batteries = 17 total amp-hours

Then, it's 17 AH x 90% (Peukert's Equation factor) = 15.3 AH remaining. Now if your CPAP draws 1.0 amp per hour, that would give you 15.3 hours of operation time, but there's a problem - that will take your battery down to zero percent charge... you can really only use up to 60% of a lead acid battery, otherwise you'll have a dead doorstop if you do that a few times. So, that supposed 15.3 hours has to be reduced to give you the maximum safe discharge level... 15.3 X 60% = 9.48 hours in operating time... okay for one night on backup power, perhaps, now you have only 40% charge remaining. While doing this will not kill your battery immediately, it will drastically reduce battery lifespan... Ideally, for optimum battery lifespan, it's recommended that you don't discharge a lead-acid battery down below a 70% charge. This means that you really only can use 30% of your total capacity if you want to extend battery life. This means that with the above system, you can only run your 1 amp/hour CPAP draw for 4.59 hours without risking poor battery lifespan. Now, add to this factor a heated humidifier, and it gets worse... assuming you have a heated humidifier where both the CPAP and humidifier draw 3 amps per hour total, your ability to use this backup source for powering your system goes down to 1.45 hours... not a lot of time at all.

So, even a high quality UPS like the one you wrote about cannot power a CPAP with heated humidifier for an entire night of sleep, unless you're willing to destroy the batteries within the UPS. Alternatively, a standard marine deep cycle battery like you get from the local Wal-Mart will power a CPAP easily for several nights before a charge is necessary... many of them are rated at over 100 amp-hours.

Now if you purchase one of those very expensive CPAP backup power systems that use a Lithium Ion Battery, then those are designed to handle a deeper discharge with no risk to battery lifespan... but I'm pretty sure most UPS systems come with lead-acid batteries, not Lithium Ion batteries.

I dunno, maybe I'm wrong here. Dont-know

The Cyberpower system I mentioned has a readout on it that, among other things, will show the minutes remaining under power. When I use the S9 with heated humidifier it indicates that I will be able to use the system for approximately 150 or 160 minutes. In the case of a power failure I could extend that time by disconnecting the humidifier.

Since the power failures in this area are usually less than two hours in duration I suspect that this system will be OK for my use.
05-28-2012 02:23 PM
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mjbearit Offline

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Post: #72
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
(05-28-2012 02:23 PM)rriley Wrote:  Since the power failures in this area are usually less than two hours in duration I suspect that this system will be OK for my use.

We hardly ever have power outages that last more than an hour tops. That is until some goof ball in Gila Bend Arizona went to service a capacitor without properly discharging it first and took down our whole section of the grid going from parts of Arizona to the beaches in San Diego, as far north as Orange County and as far south as parts of TJ for something like 10 hours before we got power back in our house. Time varied by area of course. This incidence created such an oddball cascade effect, I am surprised that some terrorist outfit didn't claim responsibility! I ended up getting very little sleep that night, not only could I not breathe every time I nodded off, but it was hot and our ceiling fan in the bedroom was obviously not working. I can easily do with out this happening again! I have a medical tag on my meter that keeps them from disrupting my power without adequate notice (a CPAP is considered a life saving device to power companies and I also get a break on my bill) but it cannot cover something like this from happening. I need to come up with an alternative power source, but that is always dictated by $$!
Mike

As always, YMMV! You do not have to agree or disagree, I am not a professional so my mental meanderings are simply recollections of things from my own life.

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05-28-2012 05:26 PM
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Dreamcatcher Offline

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Post: #73
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
There are things far worse than the list above and power outage. One thing that could kill in seconds and may seem quite harmless. It has killed thousands while asleep but put a mask in the mix and its deadly. Im talking about vomit. Vomit in your mask and the pressure will blow it straight back into your lungs, which is leathal. Strange its not discussed very often.
05-28-2012 05:36 PM
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SuperSleeper Offline

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Post: #74
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
There is a lot more talk lately of the deteriorating condition of the U.S. electrical grid and it's susceptibility to terrorist attack or an EMP event, either man-made or due to a Solar event. If you want some good, cliff-hanging & thought-provoking fiction that is based upon the very real possibility of EMP, read the book One Second After by William R. Forstchen.

I've listened to and read articles by a few experts on the grid's condition and it's downright scary. I remember them talking about some sort of equipment that is responsible for relaying electricity to most of the US - that there are only a handful of these huge pieces of equipment (can't remember what they're called).... but he said that there are no extra ones in stock, and there is only one or two suppliers of this critical piece of equipment in the world, and it takes them a full 2 years from order placement to delivery of that equipment.

All a terrorist group would have to do is destroy enough of those critical equipment pieces and we'd be in the dark for two full years. He said it would only take a handful of dedicated terrorists a few weeks of planning and 5 of them could execute their plan and bring the nation into the dark ages (literally) within one day.

It was then that I decided to purchase my cheapie Harbor Freight solar panel kits so I can have an alternative to the grid that will last beyond just a few hours.

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05-28-2012 07:04 PM
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DCwom Offline

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Post: #75
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
(05-28-2012 07:04 PM)SuperSleeper Wrote:  All a terrorist group would have to do is destroy enough of those critical equipment pieces and we'd be in the dark for two full years...

In reality this is not the case, if the entire grid could somehow be tripped "off-line" that would not prevent power from being restored as isolated islands without the interconnects between the power companies. There would be issues of course, but some level of power would be restored. For a widespread extended total loss of power a CPAP would not be my biggest concern, it would be water, food, and security.
05-30-2012 07:38 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

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Post: #76
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
(05-30-2012 07:38 AM)DCwom Wrote:  In reality this is not the case, if the entire grid could somehow be tripped "off-line" that would not prevent power from being restored as isolated islands without the interconnects between the power companies. There would be issues of course, but some level of power would be restored. For a widespread extended total loss of power a CPAP would not be my biggest concern, it would be water, food, and security.


I believe you are mistaken. I do agree that water, food and security would be the primary concern in a grid-down situation, but the risk of long-term major electrical outage is very, very real (and I'm talking for months and years, here).

The issue of concern is what would happen if several of these large "EHV transformers" were to be destroyed, either through natural (solar flare) or man-made means (terrorism). There's several reputable sources which warn of the vulnerabilities of the grid, specifically of these large critical pieces of equipment. I found an article (below) from Dept. of Homeland Security, although there are several other private sources that are saying the same thing.

Although you can search for numerous online sources about this, as one example, according to this document, these EHV transformers are very vulnerable and currently have a back-log of nearly 3 years to replace them. They are critical key components and the U.S. electrical grid cannot function without them. Here are some quotes from that document:

Quote:restoration of any grid capacity may be very difficult until replacement transformers can be obtained and installed. The current world market conditions for the purchase of new EHV transformers are a major concern for any power system operator that would need to acquire a new transformer under emergency conditions.


Quote:Manufacturing capability in the world for EHV-class transformers continues to be limited relative to present market demand for these devices. Further, manufacturers would be unable to rapidly supply the large number of replacement transformers needed should the U.S. or other power grids suffer a major catastrophic loss of EHV Transformers.

Manufacturers presently have a backlog of nearly 3 years for all EHV transformers (230 kV and above). The earliest delivery time presently quoted for a new order is early 2011. [note, this article was written in Jan of 2009]

Only one plant exists in the U.S. capable of manufacturing a transformer up to 345 kV. No manufacturing capability exists in the U.S. at present for 500 kV and 765 kV transformers, which represent the largest group of At-Risk transformers in the U.S.


I've bolded some of the critical sections that outline the problems that would occur if a terrorist group (or EMP or solar event) were to take out a substantial number of these "EHV transformers", according to this DHS report:


Dept of Homeland Security Wrote:EHV transformers, and the nation's electric grid, are on the Department of Homeland Security's mind

The nation’s electric grid isn’t something most of us think about very often, except perhaps when an event such as the infamous 2003 blackout in the northeast takes place. That event affected an estimated 55 million people in the U.S. and Canada, some of whom went without lights, telephone, transportation, banking, sewage services, and water for days. The cause turned out to be hot summer temperatures and our hunger for more air-conditioning power, which caused a generating plant in Ohio to switch offline putting a strain on overhead transmission lines. Those lines then overheated, expanded and sagged, coming in contact with overgrown trees. In minutes, line after line failed. The cascading effect that resulted ultimately forced the shutdown of more than 100 power plants.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with support from the electric utility industry and the Department of Energy, wants to be prepared for any potential large-scale blackout that could impact the extra high voltage (EHV) transformers. The U.S. electric grid has three main components: generation (creation of electricity), transmission (long haul transport of electricity), and distribution (shorter distances connecting the electricity to the consumer/end user). The electric grid is complex with more connection points than it had even a few years ago. The U.S. has 80,000 miles of extra-high voltage (EHV) transmission lines making up the backbone transmission grid that enables the long-haul transport of electricity for our nation. EHV transformers are critical pieces of equipment on the transmission grid. 90% of consumed power passes through a high voltage transformer at some point. If these transformers fail especially in large numbers, therein lies a very big problem.

EHV transformers are huge, weighing hundreds of tons, making them difficult to transport – in some cases specialized rail cars must be used (and there is a limited supply of these). Many of the EHV transformers installed in the U.S. are approaching or exceeding the end of their design lifetimes (approx 30-40 years), increasing their vulnerability to failure. Although the industry does maintain limited spares, the ability to quickly and rapidly replace several transformers at once would still be a challenge. Because of these issues, the need for emergency replacement EHV transformers was identified as a top priority by the Energy Sector.

Power Grid

Transformers are huge, complex systems, and all are custom built. If several transformers were to fail catastrophically, it would be challenging to quickly replace them.

Sarah Mahmood, a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) program manager, is addressing these issues through S&T’s “Recovery Transformer (RecX)” program. She is overseeing the design and development of a prototype fast-turnaround EHV transformer scheduled to be tested operationally in March 2012.

“The goal of the spring 2012 exercise is to conduct a full, in-grid, pilot demonstration, including the transportation, delivery, installation, and commissioning of the prototype RecX in a matter of days, not weeks or months, as with traditional EHV transformers.” says Mahmood.

The RecX prototype is designed to be modular, smaller and lighter than a traditional transformer, allowing for easier transportation and more rapid installation, enabling faster recovery in the event of an emergency.

Many events could cause such catastrophic failures: terrorism of course, but also such unavoidable events as natural disasters: hurricanes and tornadoes, and even solar plasma flares disrupting Earth’s magnetic field.

The RecX is being built by the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) contractor, the ABB Group of St Louis, MO, and, when completed, will be loaded onto a series of tractor-trailers and caravanned to Texas. There it will be installed and commissioned in the CenterPoint Energy grid, outside the Houston area. “We’re very excited about the upcoming pilot demonstration and the opportunity to validate our concept and design,” says Mahmood.

copied from:
http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/st-sna...rmers.shtm

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05-30-2012 08:24 AM
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TorontoCPAPguy Offline

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Post: #77
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected; When the power goes out
Steven Wrote:
Alsacienne,(time=1298117317) Wrote:But I'll add another proviso for us CPAP users .... don't forget to recharge your battery when the power comes back!!!
You might also want to keep it attached to a "trickle" charger 24 / 7 when it is not in use.
That way it will always be at full capacity when you need it.

A Super Duper trickle charge costs $10, most are even less.

The trickle charger will not be using electricity once the battery is fully charged, but will periodically very temporarily "top" off the charge as it discharges a tad while just sitting there.


What you want to use is a UPS with sine wave output and a honkin big battery - immediately remove the climate hose and the humidifier which gobble up power (the UPS is going to wake u up with its alarm).

Or a DC source like a HUGE deep cycle sealed battery and a good inverter to provide AC..... but in charging the battery you should NOT use a trickle charger as that will slowly kill the battery. You want a 'battery maintaining trickle charger' that will turn off when the battery is fully charged. They are about $20-$25 and a much better choice than a straight trickle charger.

We have both and our Ford Flex's have inverters built in. We keep them tanked up all the time for emergency and for "bugging out". They shut down as the battery dies... and one need only run the car around for a bit to charge things back up. The spare tank of gas in the garage is for emergencies; we rotate it now and then and put gas stabilizer in it as well.

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05-30-2012 09:20 AM
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DCwom Offline

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Post: #78
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
(05-30-2012 08:24 AM)SuperSleeper Wrote:  
(05-30-2012 07:38 AM)DCwom Wrote:  In reality this is not the case, if the entire grid could somehow be tripped "off-line" that would not prevent power from being restored as isolated islands without the interconnects between the power companies. There would be issues of course, but some level of power would be restored. For a widespread extended total loss of power a CPAP would not be my biggest concern, it would be water, food, and security.

I believe you are mistaken. I do agree that water, food and security would be the primary concern in a grid-down situation, but the risk of long-term major electrical outage is very, very real (and I'm talking for months and years, here).

I am not mistaken about the ability to restart electrical service as isolated islands. This is how they bring the grid back to life after a large scale blackout today, the exception would be that each small grid stay isolated. It wouldn't be without issues and things like rolling blackouts and frequent outages would be persistent, but it would not take years to restore basic electrical service to most areas.
05-30-2012 11:14 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

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Post: #79
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
(05-30-2012 11:14 AM)DCwom Wrote:  I am not mistaken about the ability to restart electrical service as isolated islands. This is how they bring the grid back to life after a large scale blackout today, the exception would be that each small grid stay isolated. It wouldn't be without issues and things like rolling blackouts and frequent outages would be persistent, but it would not take years to restore basic electrical service to most areas.

When you say, "This is how they bring the grid back to live after a large scale blackout today", we must realize that they have only been able to do so in the past because none of the major EHV transformers were destroyed during the blackouts.

The issue is power distribution, not power production. We're talking about the electrical grid (distribution), not electrical power generation (production).

You can't bring an interconnected electrical grid back to life that has no large transformers to transport the electricity outside a very local area surrounding a power plant. That is the function of these large EHV transformers - to step up the voltage enough so that electrical power can be distributed over great distances. Without these EHV transformers, there is no way to widely distribute the power you've generated, at least not beyond a few miles.

90% of the power distribution in the U.S. goes through at least one large EHV transformer. If we lose those, we lose the ability to distribute power to 90% of the population, because 90% of the population does not live close enough to an electrical power generating station.

Starting up "isolated islands" is all well and good, but these "islands" would be extremely isolated without the large EHV transformers to push the electricity out beyond the local community surrounding a power plant. Yeah, they can bring it back up for that local area (if you're lucky enough to live within 5-10 miles of the power plant), but take the EHV transformers out of the picture and it's lights out for 2-3 years for the 90% of the population that depends upon them, because it takes a full 2-3 years to manufacture replacement EHV transformers.

At the very least, terrorist attacks upon a large number of the EHV transformers would bring the nation to it's knees and would destroy the entire just-in-time production and delivery systems of everything we need to survive (as you said: food, water & security). And 90% of the population would not recover for years. We're too dependent upon a faulty system that has many vulnerabilities. Everything depends upon the grid being up and running. Without these EHV transformers, we have no Internet or phone lines - and today's businesses, farms, factories, utilities, banks, etc. cannot be operated without the Internet (and of course, not without electricity). If you think I'm kidding, try living for even one month without electricity, phone, Internet, banks, credit/debit cards, ATM machines, gas stations, grocery stores, etc. Can't be done in today's system unless you've planned for such a self-contained lifestyle for several years in advance of a grid collapse.

There is a reason why Homeland Security and other agencies are pushing to mitigate the risk involved with our current electrical grid distribution system. A major attack upon the grid would put our nation back into the 1800's, and millions of people would die.

This is why I advocate having backup plans that are not dependent upon "the system".

The time to act is now.
Start planning, preparing, acting while the grid is still up and running and it's relatively easy to do things. Create redundancy in the necessities of life that are not dependent upon existing infrastructure: How will you get water when the water goes off from the municipal water supply? Did you even know that most municipal water supplies are dependent upon electricity? How will you obtain food, when there is no electricity to pump diesel fuel or gasoline into the trucks that are responsible for shipping the food to your local supermarket? How will you even pay for that food if there are no banks open? How do you keep warm in the middle of winter with no electrical service and no natural gas (where the pumps are dependent upon electricity)? How will you deal with theft, crime and looters when you can't call 911 on the phone? How will you operate your CPAP machine if the grid goes down for months?

Yeah, I know... sounds like the rantings of a crazed lunatic, perhaps. Dont-know

But then again, maybe not. Anyone who would have warned the population of New York City about the potential of terrorists flying planes into skyscrapers would have been viewed as the "lunatic fringe"... at least up until Sept 11, 2001. But this possibility of complete grid collapse has far more dire and deadly consequences than any jumbo jet flying into a building - this risk has nation-wide repercussions that will cascade to even the most remote hamlet.

It's your life - you are responsible for it and we each must live with our decisions. but if you do decide to take action to mitigate these risks within your own household, I certainly hope that you do so before the lights go out.

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05-30-2012 01:53 PM
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Post: #80
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected - When the power goes out
National Geographic Report: [bolded part is my emphasis]

What If the Biggest Solar Storm on Record Happened Today?

Repeat of 1859 Carrington Event would devastate modern world, experts say.


Richard A. Lovett
for National Geographic News
Published March 2, 2011


On February 14 the sun erupted with the largest solar flare seen in four years—big enough to interfere with radio communications and GPS signals for airplanes on long-distance flights.

As solar storms go, the Valentine's Day flare was actually modest. But the burst of activity is only the start of the upcoming solar maximum, due to peak in the next couple of years.

"The sun has an activity cycle, much like hurricane season," Tom Bogdan, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, said earlier this month at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.

"It's been hibernating for four or five years, not doing much of anything." Now the sun is waking up, and even though the upcoming solar maximum may see a record low in the overall amount of activity, the individual events could be very powerful.

In fact, the biggest solar storm on record happened in 1859, during a solar maximum about the same size as the one we're entering, according to NASA.

That storm has been dubbed the Carrington Event, after British astronomer Richard Carrington, who witnessed the megaflare and was the first to realize the link between activity on the sun and geomagnetic disturbances on Earth.

During the Carrington Event, northern lights were reported as far south as Cuba and Honolulu, while southern lights were seen as far north as Santiago, Chile.

The flares were so powerful that "people in the northeastern U.S. could read newspaper print just from the light of the aurora," Daniel Baker, of the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, said at a geophysics meeting last December.

In addition, the geomagnetic disturbances were strong enough that U.S. telegraph operators reported sparks leaping from their equipment—some bad enough to set fires, said Ed Cliver, a space physicist at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Bedford, Massachusetts.

In 1859, such reports were mostly curiosities. But if something similar happened today, the world's high-tech infrastructure could grind to a halt.

"What's at stake," the Space Weather Prediction Center's Bogdan said, "are the advanced technologies that underlie virtually every aspect of our lives."

Solar Flare Would Rupture Earth's "Cyber Cocoon"

To begin with, the University of Colorado's Baker said, electrical disturbances as strong as those that took down telegraph machines—"the Internet of the era"—would be far more disruptive.

Solar storms aimed at Earth come in three stages, not all of which occur in any given storm.

First, high-energy sunlight, mostly x-rays and ultraviolet light, ionizes Earth's upper atmosphere, interfering with radio communications. Next comes a radiation storm, potentially dangerous to unprotected astronauts.

Finally comes a coronal mass ejection, or CME, a slower moving cloud of charged particles that can take several days to reach Earth's atmosphere. When a CME hits, the solar particles can interact with Earth's magnetic field to produce powerful electromagnetic fluctuations.

"We live in a cyber cocoon enveloping the Earth," Baker said. "Imagine what the consequences might be."

Of particular concern are disruptions to global positioning systems (GPS), which have become ubiquitous in cell phones, airplanes, and automobiles, Baker said. A $13 billion business in 2003, the GPS industry is predicted to grow to nearly $1 trillion by 2017.

In addition, Baker said, satellite communications—also essential to many daily activities—would be at risk from solar storms.

"Every time you purchase a gallon of gas with your credit card, that's a satellite transaction," he said.

But the big fear is what might happen to the electrical grid, since power surges caused by solar particles could blow out giant transformers. Such transformers can take a long time to replace, especially if hundreds are destroyed at once, said Baker, who is a co-author of a National Research Council report on solar-storm risks.

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's Cliver agrees: "They don't have a lot of these on the shelf," he said.

The eastern half of the U.S. is particularly vulnerable, because the power infrastructure is highly interconnected, so failures could easily cascade like chains of dominoes.

"Imagine large cities without power for a week, a month, or a year," Baker said. "The losses could be $1 to $2 trillion, and the effects could be felt for years."


Even if the latest solar maximum doesn't bring a Carrington-level event, smaller storms have been known to affect power and communications.

The "Halloween storms" of 2003, for instance, interfered with satellite communications, produced a brief power outage in Sweden, and lighted up the skies with ghostly auroras as far south as Florida and Texas.

Buffing Up Space-Weather Predictions


One solution is to rebuild the aging power grid to be less vulnerable to solar disruptions.

Another is better forecasting. Scientists using the new Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft are hoping to get a better understanding of how the sun behaves as it moves deeper into its next maximum and begins generating bigger storms.

These studies may help scientists predict when and where solar flares might appear and whether a given storm is pointed at Earth.

"Improved predictions will provide more accurate forecasts, so [officials] can take mitigating actions," said Rodney Viereck, a physicist at the Space Weather Prediction Center.

Even now, the center's Bogdan said, the most damaging emissions from big storms travel slowly enough to be detected by sun-watching satellites well before the particles strike Earth. "That gives us [about] 20 hours to determine what actions we need to take," Viereck said.

In a pinch, power companies could protect valuable transformers by taking them offline before the storm strikes. That would produce local blackouts, but they wouldn't last for long.

"The good news is that these storms tend to pass after a couple of hours," Bogdan added.

Meanwhile, scientists are scrambling to learn everything they can about the sun in an effort to produce even longer-range forecasts.

According to Vierick, space-weather predictions have some catching up to do: "We're back where weather forecasters were 50 years ago."

SuperSleeper
Apnea Board Administrator
www.ApneaBoard.com


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05-30-2012 05:02 PM
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