Impacts of Extreme Space Weather


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Thomas J. Bogdan, 2010 American Astronautical Society Goddard Memorial Symposium

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  • The National Space Weather Program was founded with the explicit goal of applying the newly developed knowledge of the space environment to help reduce the growing impact of space weather on societies’ advanced technologies. NASA, NSF, and DOD have expended tens of millions of dollars to develop models of the local and regional reaction of the space environment to forcing inputs from the Sun; many of these models are now mature and ready for transition to operations. However, at an estimated average cost greater than $1,000,000 per model, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has been unable to fund transitions of these critical models. Lack of resources constrains NOAA’s ability to deliver what customers want; the capability exists in the Space Weather Program, but not the capacity. SWPC unable to meet customer demands for regional specification and forecasts of space weather. The transition to operations of these models will be ongoing as new and improved models are developed in the research community. Some geospace models are already in place. Full physics based models will be introduced into SWPC beginning in 2012.
  • From the government perspective , this is about bringing the benefits of technology to our citizens .
  • Impacts of Extreme Space Weather

    1. 1. Impacts of Extreme Space Weather 48 th Robert H Goddard Memorial Symposium March 10 , 2010 Thomas J Bogdan SWPC Director
    2. 2. “ SPACE TORNADOS” FLARES : photons, energetic ions “ SPACE HURRICANES” or “ SOLAR TSUNAMIS” CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS : plasma, magnetic field, energetic ions, energetic electrons “ SPACE WEATHER” SOLAR WIND : thermal plasma, energetic electrons THREE VARIETIES OF SPACE WEATHER
    3. 3. Evolving Customer Base
    4. 4. SWPC Product Subscription Service
    5. 5. <ul><li>Electric Power Grid Operators : use geomagnetic storm detection and warning system to maximize power grid stability and to mitigate power grid component damage and large-scale blackouts. </li></ul><ul><li>Communications Operators: anticipate and react to space weather over a wide range of communications frequencies used by emergency management officials, search and rescue systems, and many others. </li></ul><ul><li>Aviation: uses crucial information on space weather impacts, such as communication outages, potentially harmful radiation, and navigation errors to adjust routes and altitudes. </li></ul><ul><li>Spacecraft Operations : rely on space weather products to ensure spacecraft survival from electronic problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Navigation Systems : users need space weather data as a critical input to ensure the integrity and safe use of electronic (i.e., GPS, Loran) based navigational systems. </li></ul>Beneficiaries of Program
    6. 6. Worst case scenario… “… blackouts could exceed even that of the very large blackout that occurred in August 14, 2003. And there is no part of the U.S. power grid that is immune to this… we could impact over 100 million population in the worst case scenario.” John Kappenman - before U.S. House Subcommittee on Environment, Technology & Standards Subcommittee Hearing on “What is Space Weather and Who Should Forecast It?” The grid is becoming increasingly vulnerable to space weather events Future Directions in Satellite-derived Weather and Climate Information for the Electric Energy Industry – Workshop Report Jun 2004 $1-2 Trillion | Source: National Academy Workshop on the Societal and Economic Impacts of Severe Space Weather Events held in Washington, D.C., May 2008. Potential loss due to widespread power grid blackout following severe geomagnetic storm 4-10 Years | Recovery time from a widespread power grid blackout following severe geomagnetic storm
    7. 7. <ul><li>Space Weather Products and Services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Watches: The conditions are favorable for occurrence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Warnings: disturbances that are imminent, expected in the near future with high probability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alerts: observed conditions meeting or exceeding thresholds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forecasts and other routine products </li></ul></ul>SWPC Services Text Products <ul><li>Web Services </li></ul><ul><li>Model Outputs </li></ul>
    8. 8. Planned Improvements <ul><li>Solar Wind Disturbance Propagation Model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Geomagnetic storm predictions go from ~1 hour to 18hr - 4 days </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Energetic Particle Transport Model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Model to predict radiation storm peak intensity, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>timing, and spectrum; no models currently exist! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Geospace Response Model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Will replace limited value global predictions with actionable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>regional forecasts and warnings </li></ul></ul>The way forward is to partner with NASA’s Community Coordinated Modeling Center to develop improved space weather models to maximize solar wind and CME data for extended forecast and warnings transition to operations operations & maintenance FY2010 FY2012 FY2014 FY2016+ O&M transition to operations Research and Development (R&D) transition to operations R&D O&M FY2011 FY2013 FY2015 O&M includes Operation to Research (O2R) feedback to continuing R&D
    9. 9. Continuity of Critical L1 Measurements OFCM led Committee for Space Environment Sensor Mitigation Options (CSESMO) to provide recommendations to OSTP and OMB in September 2009 (FY11) EARTH EARTH’S MAGNETOSPHERE MOON GOES 12/13/14/15 IN GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT <ul><li>DSCOVR Trilateral Partnership </li></ul><ul><ul><li>USAF: Launch Vehicle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NASA: DSCOVR spacecraft </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NOAA: Refurbishment, O+M </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Summary Our global economy and national security depend on uninterrupted and reliable access to advanced technologies that are increasingly susceptible to the impacts of severe space weather. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center is pursuing an aggressive partnership-based strategy to make numerical space weather prediction the cornerstone of our ambition to be the world’s trusted source for space weather alerts, watches and warnings.
    11. 11. SWPC’s Goal: Provide the right information… in the right format... at the right time… to the right people… to make the right decisions