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There is a well-recognized link between solar activity, geomagnetic disturbances, and disruptions to man-made systems such as power grids, satellites, communications, and defense systems. As technology evolves, these systems become more susceptible to magnetic disturbances than their counterparts of previous solar cycles. Analysis suggests that these vulnerabilities will continue and perhaps even increase as these systems continue to evolve.

Geomagnetic disturbances can cause geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) to flow through the power system, entering and exiting the many grounding points on a transmission network. This is generally of most concern at the latitudes of the northern United States, Canada, and Scandinavia, for example, but regions much farther south are also affected during intense magnetic storms.