Add Sun Spots to Your Worries

Susan Hall

And if there weren't enough to worry about already, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that we're entering an 11-year cycle of heightened solar activity, which is just the government's way of saying there will be lots of sun spots.


This activity increases the likelihood of problems with power grids; critical military, civilian and airline communications; GPS signals; and even cell phones and ATM transactions.


A sun spot is an area of highly organized magnetic activity on the surface of the sun. Activity is expected to gradually increase until it peaks by 2011 or 2012, though devastating storms can occur at any time, the U.S. agency warns.


Said NOAA administrator Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr.:

Our growing dependence on highly sophisticated, space-based technologies means we are far more vulnerable to space weather today than in the past.

There's no word on what you're supposed to do about it, though.

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