Carrington Event Exercise

Thanks for participating in this exercise. Please review the following information in order to determine what effects you may suffer. Also, please try to make this as realistic as possible in order to gain the maximum benefit of the exercise. If you’re not a listener to the show, you can catch the episode outlining the exercise start-up here: or here:

Participation is encouraged. Feel free to minimally table top the exercise, go full-blown, or any combination of the two.



Impacts would be felt on interdependent infrastructures, with, for example, potable water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in about 12-24 hours; and immediate or eventual loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, transportation, fuel resupply, and so on. Kappenman stated that the effects on these interdependent infrastructures could persist for multiple years, with a potential for significant societal impacts and with economic costs that could be measurable in the several-trillion-dollars-per-year range.

Electric power grids, a national critical infrastructure, continue to become more vulnerable to disruption from geomagnetic storms. For example, the evolution of open access on the transmission system has fostered the transport of large amounts of energy across the power system in order to maximize the economic benefit of delivering the lowest-cost energy to areas of demand. The magnitude of power transfers has grown, and the risk is that the increased level of transfers, coupled with multiple equipment failures, could worsen the impacts of a storm event.

Kappenman stated that “many of the things that we have done to increase operational efficiency and haul power long distances have inadvertently and unknowingly escalated the risks from geomagnetic storms.” This trend suggests that even more severe impacts can occur in the future from large storms. Kappenman noted that, at the same time, no design codes have been adopted to reduce geomagnetically induced current (GIC) flows in the power grid during a storm. Operational procedures used now by U.S. power grid operators have been developed largely from experiences with recent storms, including the March 1989 event. These procedures are generally designed to boost operational reserves and do not prevent or reduce GIC flows in the network. For large storms (or increasing dB/dt levels) both observations and simulations indicate that as the intensity of the disturbance increases, the relative levels of GICs and related power system impacts will also increase proportionately. Under these scenarios, the scale and speed of problems that could occur on exposed power grids have the potential to impact power system operators in ways they have not previously experienced. Therefore, as storm environments reach higher intensity levels, it becomes more likely that these events will precipitate widespread blackouts in exposed power grid infrastructures. The possible extent of a power system collapse from a 4800 nT/min geomagnetic storm (centered at 50° geomagnetic latitude) is shown in Figure 7.1. Such dB/dt levels—10 times those experienced during the March 1989 storm—were reached during the great magnetic storm of May 14-15, 1921.

The least understood aspect of this threat is the permanent damage to power grid assets and how that will impede the restoration process. Transformer damage is the most likely outcome, although other key assets on the grid are also at risk. In particular, transformers experience excessive levels of internal heating brought on by stray flux when GICs cause a transformer’s magnetic core to saturate and to spill flux outside the normal core steel magnetic circuit. Kappenman stated that previous well-documented cases have involved heating failures that caused melting and burn-through of large-amperage copper windings and leads in these transformers. These multi-ton apparatus generally cannot be repaired in the field, and if damaged in this manner, they need to be replaced with new units, which have manufacture lead times of 12 months or more. In addition, each transformer design can contain numerous subtle design variations that complicate the calculation of how and at what density the stray flux can impinge on internal structures in the transformer. Therefore the ability to assess existing transformer vulnerability or even to design new transformers that can tolerate saturated operation is not readily achievable.

Ham radio licensees – net meet on 10 meters upper sideband 1600Z tomorrow and 2200Z each day after for the rest of the week. primary 28.351 Mhz, secondary 28.468 Mhz. Will make net call every minute for 5 minutes first on the primary, then the next 5 minutes on the secondary.

My call is W1GWL
Net name CX (Charlie Xray Net) (Carrington Exercise Net)

Be prepared to share

Signal report,
*Maidenhead location,
Exercise status Green/Yellow/Red,
Power QRP (batteries or simulated) or Low Power (generator or simulated),
Plus, any comments or recommendations.
Relays are encouraged.
Results will be shared on the next show.

SWL feel free to contact with signal reports and we’ll share them on the next show.

Exercise will terminate Friday at 10:00 PM EDT in order to allow participants to make after action reports to be shared on the next show.

*For Maidenhead Grid search

Point of Contact:

Good Luck!


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