Space Weather Storms: Responding to Global Concerns


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2011 American Astronautical Society Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium--William Murtagh, NOAA

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  • The above list of recent registrants all signed up in the last 6 months for SWPC products. The list represents the very diverse community impacted by space weather. We had wondered how the interest would grow after we started seeing some space weather events again after the long minimum. The rise in 2010 was largely due to a small increase in activity. Even during solar minimum when space weather storms are rare, interest in space weather is growing. Through this period of extended solar minimum, the amount of traffic to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center Product Subscription Service has been steadily increasing. The sample list above represents the very diverse community impacted by space weather, and we expect to see a rapid increase in customers as solar activity increases. Next solar maximum in 2013 – expect more interest, more customers, and more impacts in the coming years.
  • An Evolving landscape: new technologies and capabilities all dependent on space weather conditions The world around us is changing at lightning speed. In order to respond to society’s needs, we must first understand the changing face of society. It is of no use to our Nation if we advance and modernize our services in support of industries that may in the future engineer around the problems created by space weather. Good strategic thinking coupled with thoughtful planning is vital. We must strategize and plan for the changing face of our technological infrastructure; only then can we focus our research and modernization efforts. The bullets on this slide represent some of the keystones of our changing world—those industries, sectors, or activities that will have increasing vulnerabilities to disruption by space weather storms. They represent some of the industries or activities that will drive the need for space weather products and services. New or improved Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) planned: China, India, Japan, Russian Federation, United States, and the European Community Ship routes from Europe to Japan, China and other eastern destinations would be 2500 miles shorter. Asia's Pacific coast to Western Europe covers over 12,000 nautical miles, via the Panama Canal . Traveling through the arctic, via the Northwest Passage, would reduce the total distance by 1/3. High latitudes are particularly vulnerable to space weather. The emerging and increasingly complex international airspace systems such as the U.S. Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), and the European SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research), will rely on technology that is vulnerable to space weather. Supporting NextGen is a NOAA priority and a hugely important initiative for our nation. It is an NOAA goal to provide the NAS with a comprehensive weather picture to aid in fast and consistent decision making. The NWS contribution will enable more effective utilization of available airspace resulting in fewer delays and re-routes. Space weather is an integral part of the complete weather package for NextGen. NextGen is actually a great example of the evolving technology we are becoming more reliant on—technology that is increasingly vulnerable to space weather. We recognize the role and importance of integrating space weather information into NextGen. Cross Polar operations are growing at a rapid rate. From 12 UAL flights in 1999, 13 major airlines conducted over 8,500 polar flights in 2009. Considerable growth is predicted through 2020.
  • WSA-Enlil is the first sophisticated numerical space weather prediction model running on NCEP supercomputers, developed from NASA and the Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC) and Air Force Weather Agency supported efforts, designed to meet the fast-growing needs of the Nation This is the first of many new numerical forecast models. We have turned that corner at NOAA thanks to the help from our partners. Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) is a NASA/NOAA/DoD Triagency partnership to replace the NASA Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite and ensure the continuity of critical real time solar wind measurements. The DSCOVR spacecraft will be refurbished and readied for launch in December 2013? Satellite and sensors will be transferred to NOAA Refurbishment of satellite sensors will be performed at NASA/GSFC under reimbursement by NOAA USAF plans to begin acquiring a launch vehicle in 2012 All data will be downlinked to the Real Time Solar Wind Network (RTSWnet) DSCOVR earth science sensors are in the process of being refurbished A commercial partner will be solicited for the mission to help evaluate the potential of commercial service for a follow on mission The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) program is a key element of NOAA’s operations. GOES-R will continue the legacy of critical space weather measurements while adding new particle radiation sensors to meet customer needs. This will result in more accurate and actionable support for the detection and observations of space weather phenomena for the protection of our Nation’s technological infrastructure. The first launch of the GOES-R series satellite is scheduled for 2015.
  • Space Weather Storms: Responding to Global Concerns

    1. 1. Space Weather Storms: Responding to Global Concerns Bill Murtagh NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center Boulder, Colorado 49th Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium March 29-31, 2011
    2. 2. Growing Need for Space Weather Services Sample Recent Registrants Almost 1,000 new customers in Feb 2011 White House Communications Major satellite companies FEMA Boeing FAA Alaska DOT Chrysler Motorola British Petroleum America Bonneville Power Administration Washington St. Dept of Transportation John Deere & Caterpillar, Inc. Major Airlines – UAL, AA, CO, Delta DHS Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Stations
    3. 3. Growing Need for Space Weather Services <ul><li>Evolving technologies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EHV (extra high voltage) Power grids </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Civil precision Global Navigation Satellite Systems applications </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evolving customers and industries: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commercial space enterprise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arctic economic development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Airspace management needs </li></ul></ul>Growing demands for space weather products are driven by the increasingly complex evolution of our Nation’s technological infrastructure
    4. 4. Feb 16-17, 2011 Growing Awareness
    5. 5. Increasing Activity Solar Cycle 24 maximum approaching – peak in May 2013
    6. 6. 1859 Storm 1921 Storm <ul><li>The largest geomagnetic storms on record </li></ul><ul><li>occurred during smaller than average cycles </li></ul>
    7. 7. May 1921 Geomagnetic Storm 13 ◦ Locations for which aurora were reported on 14–15 May 1921 – Silverman, et al. Apia, Samoa, 13 degrees south
    8. 8. Potential impact of a 1859 or 1921 geomagnetic storm
    9. 9. Coordinating on ways forward to develop and implement mitigation strategies to safeguard critical infrastructure from the impacts of severe space weather. High-level government response… <ul><li>The Shield Act (H.R. 668) ( Feb 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>To amend the Federal Power Act to protect the electric infrastructure geomagnetic storm (and EMP) </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting at White House with National </li></ul><ul><li>Security Staff and OSTP (18 Feb) </li></ul><ul><li>Op Ed in NY Times on space weather </li></ul><ul><li>by Holdren and Beddington (10 Mar) </li></ul><ul><li>Electric Infrastructure Security Summit </li></ul><ul><li>(EISS) in Capitol building (11 Apr) </li></ul>
    10. 10. NOAA’s commitment to improved operations <ul><li>Model transition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ENLIL model in operations by 2012 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Working with CCMC on geospace </li></ul></ul><ul><li>model </li></ul><ul><li>Upgrade operational product </li></ul><ul><li>suite </li></ul><ul><li>Continue and expand coverage </li></ul><ul><li>of critical observations </li></ul>GOES-R Interagency Collaboration is critical to achieve above goals
    11. 11. A Nation vulnerable to hazardous space weather – A Nation increasingly reliant on space weather services <ul><li>Technology evolution </li></ul><ul><li>Interconnection/Interdependency </li></ul><ul><li>Reliance on space-based systems </li></ul>