A GIANT explosion of energy from the Sun could paralyse Earth in just three years' time, scientists warned yesterday.
They fear a huge solar flare is due to erupt in 2013 — causing blackouts and global chaos.
The once-in-a-century disaster could see power grids crash, communication systems collapse, planes grounded, food supplies hit and the internet shut down.
Everything from home freezers to car sat navs would be affected.
The disaster could mirror the Great Solar Flare of 1859.
That wreaked horrendous damage across Europe and America — burning out telegraph wires across both continents.
The threat of another disaster — which could mirror scenes in Hollywood blockbuster 2012 — is so great that Defence Secretary Liam Fox called an emergency conference in London yesterday.
Dr Fox told experts that incalcul-able damage would be caused if an explosion similar to the one in 1859 occurred in modern times. He called on scientists to build a strategy against the impending disaster.
The talks, organised by the Electric Infrastructure Security Council, heard that the Sun will reach a critical stage of its cycle in 2013.
A surge of magnetic energy in its atmosphere is likely to trigger radiation storms which cause massive power surges.
Such a phenomenon occurs only once about every 100 years.
The last big flare, in 1859, smothered two thirds of the Earth's skies in a blood-red aurora. Such scenes could occur again, causing cloud storms in major modern cities such as London, Paris and New York.
In 1989, a more common smaller solar flare took out power stations in Quebec, Canada.
In the movie 2012, starring John Cusack, a solar flare causes global temperatures to soar. The planet is then battered by tsunamis and earthquakes, threatening mankind.
Yesterday's conference also heard that a hostile power could cause a similar effect by exploding a nuclear weapon in space.
Dr Fox added: "While we all benefit from scientific advances, so we also create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by our enemies.
"However advanced we become, the chain of our security is only as strong as its weakest link."
Last night the electric security council discussed a plan of action.
And former US government defence adviser Dr Avi Schnurr warned: "A geomagnetic storm could shatter nations all over the earth. We cannot wait for disaster to spur us to action."
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ne ... -2013.html