As we could see it previously, a solar storm has heavy impacts on high atmosphere. In this part, we’ll examine the damages on the ionosphere.
In the ionosphere, a solar storm has an impact on the propagation of electromagnetic waves. Low and medium frequency waves (radio waves) will be difficult to use while high frequency waves ( X -rays , UV and gamma ) will be completely unusable.
First of all, in an aeronautic level. In the planes, GPS guidance system will be disturbed. Then, the plane wouldn’t have any way of communicating with airports, which could put in danger passenger’s safety on board. Moreover, risks are increased because the aerial sector is often overloaded. A storm of the same magnitude as that of 1859 would paralyse air traffic in their entirety. For planes passing near the poles, high frequency waves will ensure communication and GPS control instead of satellites. If a solar event occurred, there wouldn’t be any contact with the plane anymore.
Indirectly, the dysfunction of the GPS waves would disturb every activity which needs a precise positioning (drills, etc…).
However, it is not all, an electromagnetic waves perturbation would have an economical and industrial big impact. Indeed, an impossible connection to satellites and thus to GPS systems, would cause many problems in terms of telecommunications. The telecommunication sector would see all its services out of order during at least a few days, which would paralyse it in a mostly part.