One-in-eight chance of solar megaflare causing trillions of dollars of damage in next ten years, scientists warn

Destructive: A solar flare many times greater than this one could be catastrophic for Earth. There is a 12 per cent chance of one occurring over the next decade

Earth has a 12 per cent chance of being struck by a solar megaflare of such violent proportions over the next decade it could cause trillions of dollars of damage, scientists warned today.

The event would rival the last giant sunstorm, known as the Carrington Event, more than 150 years ago when telegraph stations caught fire and their networks suffered massive black-outs.

In today’s electronic-infused world, the consequences of such a huge magnetic force raining down on the planet could be catastrophic and may take a decade to recover from.

The prediction has even surprised the man who made it, Pete Riley, a senior scientist at Predictive Science in San Diego, California.

‘Even if it’s off by a factor of two, that’s a much larger number than I thought,’ he told Gizmodo after publishing his estimate in Space Weather on February 23.

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