International Space Weather Initiative
Space Weather Societal Impacts


Space Weather Societal Impacts Workshop and Seminar at the COPUOS
Vienna, 8 June 2012
held on the margins of the 55th Meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS)

CONVENER'S NOTE

Space Weather Societal Impacts Workshop and Seminar at the COPUOS

Dr. James N. Head
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
U.S. Department of State

E-mail: HeadJN@State.gov,

The United States organized and convened a workshop on Space Weather Societal Impacts, held on the margins of the 55thMeeting of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), in Vienna on 8 June 2012. The purpose of this workshop was to focus the attention of space weather experts and national delegations participating in the United Nations on the societal impacts of space weather events, with particular attention to the needs of developing nations. In focusing on societal impacts, the workshop helped the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs meet the mandate set forth by the member states in the agenda item on the International Space Weather Initiative (ISWI). ISWI has enjoyed a great deal of success in implementing research observatories around the world, but has had less success in articulating the potential impact of space weather events to developing countries.

The workshop was called to order by Hans Haubold (UN OOSA, retired) who provided a historical background of space weather activities in the UN, highlighting the value this workshop could bring to delegations. This was followed with an introduction to space weather phenomena and an overview of SW impacts, presented by workshop convener Dr. James Head of the United States. A last minute schedule problem did not allow speaker Bryn Jones (Virgin Atlantic) to participate, so some of his material on aviation communications impacts was covered in Dr. Heads remarks.

Next,Dr. Antti Pulkinnen (Finland) discussed the phenomena tying geomagnetic storms to electrical power blackouts. When coronal mass ejections interact with the earths magnetic field they generate currents that can travel in long-distance high-voltage power lines, potentially causing transformer failure.

Next,Dr. Headled a discussion on telemedicine in the unavoidable absence of Dr. Ousseini Diallo of Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso is using telecommunications satellites to deliver health care to its citizens living in areas remote from medical centers and doctors. Since solar storms have a demonstrated ability to render a satellite unusable temporarily or even permanently, health care in Burkina Faso and other countriesusing telemedicine are at risk from solar events.

Following the technical presentations the workshop turned its focus on efforts at international coordination. The first of these was a presentation by Dr. Takahiro Obara (Japan) Chair of the UN Expert Group on Space Weather. The EG will produce a report on space weather as well as a set of guidelines that could be adopted on a voluntary basis. Dr. Obarareported that the Expert Group had reached consensus on the outline for the report and would consider drafts during informal consultations on the margins of the International Astronautical Congress in Naples in October.

Dr. Jerome Lafeuille (World Meteorological Organization) discussed activities underway with the Inter-programme Coordination Team for Space Weather, which the WMO established in 2010. The ICT-SW has produced a set of key measurement parameters, including requirements for measurement precision, accuracy, and cadence. In addition, the WMO has launched a web-based space weather portal that provides a single point of entry for users to access space weather information from around the world. Currently nine nations are contributing space weather products to the portal. The WMO welcomes users from around the world to explore the portal and provide feedback. Space weather organizations are encouraged to participate in the portal as well.

Dr. Hans Haubold provided a description of the International Space Weather Initiative.

Dr. Ken Murata provided a description of the Asia-Oceania Space Weather Association. This association formed recently and held its first conference in 2011. In addition he described the X-class flares from 2012, the Galaxy 15 failure, and ionospheric waves generated by the Tohoku tsunami in 2011.

The workshop concluded with two actions.

First, the workshop will convene via email to craft and discuss a document that provides a framing Vision for the Global Space Weather Enterprise.

Second, the participants will provide a description of space weather impacts, clearly articulating the impacts on infrastructure in developed and developing countries. These descriptions are meant to help communicate to all nations the risks presented by solar activity and to encourage a global response to meet this challenge.

The workshop was reported to the full COPUOS during a special seminar on space weather the following business day.


at that Workshop were presented six reports

Dr. James N Head Space Weather: Origins and Impacts U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Abstract: An introduction to space weather phenomena and an overview of SW impacts.

See this presentation (click here) 9 MB PDF file, 19 slides

Dr Antti Pulkkinen Geomagnetically Induced Currents, The Catholic University of America & NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Abstract: Discussed the phenomena tying geomagnetic storms to electrical power blackouts. When coronal mass ejections interact with the earth’s magnetic field they generate currents that can travel in long-distance high-voltage power lines, potentially causing transformer failure.

See this presentation (click here) 9 MB PDF file, 12 slides

Dr Takahiro Obara Status report of expert group on Space Weather Chair of the UN Expert Group on Space Weather

Outline 1)Scope of expert group on space weather; 2)Draft of the outline of the expert group repot; 3)Identification of risks; 4)Space weather monitoring; 5)Space weather forefast tools; 6)Mitigation of space weather effect

See this presentation (click here) 881 KB PDF file, 14 slides

Dr. Jerome Lafeuille Space Weather Activities Coordination by World Meteorological Organization, WMO Space Programme, Geneva

    Outline:
  • Why is WMO involved in Space Weather coordination ?
  • Inter-Programme Coordination Team on Space Weather early achievements
    • Observation requirements and gap analysis
    • On-line Space Weather Product Portal
  • Future prospects

See this presentation (click here) 2 MB PDF file, 30 slides

Dr. Hans Haubold UN BASIC SPACE SCIENCE INITIATIVE: BSS, IHY 2007, ISWI, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

Abstract: Description of the International Space Weather Initiative

See this presentation (click here) 5.5 MB PDF file, 21 slides

Dr. Ken T. Murata Brief description of activities of UN, WMO, SWW, ISES, ESWW, and AOSWA, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Applied Electromagnetic Research Institute, Space Weather and Environment Informatics Laboratory

    Outline
  • What’s Space Weather ?
  • Activities of UN, WMO, SWW, ISES, ESWW, and AOSWA
  • Examples of Recent Big Events of Space Weather
    • X class flares in 2012
    • Radiation belt prediction
    • Galaxy 15 malfunction
    • Impact on ionosphere caused by big earthquake

See this presentation (click here) 22 MB PDF file, 102 slides

Participants
David Kendall Canada
Guoyu Wang China
Antti Pulinnen Finland
Ken Murata Japan
Takahiro Obara Japan
Dalmiro Maia Portugal
Dumitru Hasegan Romania
Vladimir Kuzetzov Russia
Karel Kudela Slovakia
Peter Martinez South Africa
Werner Schmutz Switzerland
Sharafat Gadimova UN OOSA
Hans Haubold UN OOSA
James Head United States
Doug Whitely United States
Ray Williamson United States
Jerome Lafeuille WMO
Report on Discussion and Action Items, 11 June 2012, Vienna
Excerpt from report to the full COPUOS
THREE VARIETIES OF SPACE WEATHER
  1. SPACE TORNADOS FLARES: photons, energetic ions
  2. SPACE HURRICANES or SOLAR TSUNAMIS CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS (CME): plasma, magnetic field, energetic ions, energetic electrons
  3. SPACE WEATHER SOLAR WIND: thermal plasma, energetic electrons

We have limited forecasting ability that is dependent on the nature of the particular event.

Space Weather Effects Summary
  • Flares (warning time is zero; 10 min to 2 days)
    • EUV swells the atmosphere increased drag, space situational awareness
    • Ionospheric effects can hamper or deny communications and navigation signals
    • Radiation can damage or destroy satellite electronics and solar cells
  • CMEs (warning time is 1.5 to 4 days)
    • Induced currents can cause blackouts, enhance pipeline corrosion
    • Radiation can damage or destroy satellite electronics, solar cells
  • Solar Wind (warning time is an hour to a month)
    • Radiation can damage or destroy satellite electronics, solar cells
Solar events have not increased in strength or ferocity;
Weve increased our reliance upon vulnerable systems
Forecasting Challenges

Prediction and mitigation requires both space-based and global terrestrial instrumentation.

This job is too big for any one nation: International Cooperation is Required.

Action Items from the Workshop
  1. to discuss the nature and potential endstate of international cooperation in SW research, monitoring, and operations.
  2. to generate a document articulating the impacts of solar events on society, in coordination with the Expert Group on Sustainable Space Supporting Sustainable Development on Earth. (EG-A)
View presentation (click here) 1 MB PDF file, 9 slides