Geomagnetic storms are a common space weather phenomena and the probability of relatively powerful storms, like that of the Carrington Event in September 1859, hitting Earth in the near future is high..
Geomagnetic storms are a common space weather phenomena and the probability of relatively powerful storms, like that of the Carrington Event in September 1859, hitting Earth in the near future is high. The Carrington Event’s coronal mass ejection (CME) caused the largest geomagnetic storm on record and was recorded to have caused severe disruptions in early communication technologies by creating powerful geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) in the surface of the Earth that were transmitted though the telegraphing infrastructure and caused sudden, permanent damage. Today, with so many vital functions of modern society in the US being handled entirely on the power-grid (from communications, to banking, to healthcare), extreme GICs caused by powerful CMEs have the ability to create permanent damage to and blackouts over massive areas in the US private and public power systems and could have severe implications for the homeland security of the US. This paper introduces the mechanics of such CMEs and GICs, analyzes the likelihood of a Carrington-like event occurring in the near future, and explores the implications of such an event using data and simulations from other studies in space weather and GICs conducted in Sweden and projections of the possible geoelectric field magnitudes for extreme GIC scenarios.