Solar flares can have a devastating effect on electromagnetic pulses (EMP). These powerful bursts of electromagnetic energy can cause power surges ranging from hundreds of volts per meter to more than one million volts per meter. Such pulses can interfere with communications and damage electronic equipment, as well as physically harm objects like buildings and aircraft. EMP originates from both natural and artificial sources, and can be in the form of an electromagnetic field, electric field, magnetic field, or conducted electrical current.
According to Maxwell's equations, a pulse of electrical energy is always accompanied by a pulse of magnetic energy. Most EMPs have a very sharp edge of attack and quickly reach their maximum level. To achieve the pulse frequency characteristics necessary for optimal coupling to the target, wave-forming circuits or microwave generators are added between the pulse source and the antenna. High-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) weapons are NEMP warheads designed to be detonated high above the Earth's surface.
The first recorded damage caused by an EMP was during the solar storm of August 1859, also known as the Carrington event. A pulse of electromagnetic energy usually contains many frequencies, from a low limit to an upper limit depending on the source.