Statement of Task

An ad hoc committee, operating under the auspices of the Space Studies Board (SSB) of the National Academies, will convene a public workshop that will feature invited presentations and discussion to assess the nation’s current and future ability to manage the effects of space weather events and their societal and economic impacts.

Although cost/benefit analyses of terrestrial weather observing systems and mitigation strategies have a long history, similar studies for space weather are lacking. Workshop sessions will include an analysis of the effects of historical space weather events, and will use the record solar storms of October and November 2003 to focus the presentations and provide data to project future vulnerabilities. The inclusion of historic events and intervals will be important to capture the breadth of space weather impacts, which can be different from event to event, and impacts that occur during non-storm times. There will also be sessions on how space weather impacts might change as technologies evolve and new technologies appear.

Topics to be addressed at the workshop include:

  • What are the socioeconomic consequences to the nation of severe space weather events?

  • What were the specific effects of the October-November 2003 events?

  • How likely are events that are more intense than the 2003 events and what might be the consequences of such events?

  • Given existing space weather services, what losses were avoided, or could have been avoided, in recent events?

  • Are there specific ground- or space-based sensors that might mitigate or avoid the effects of future severe space weather events? In particular: How will assimilation of data from the Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR) and the Frequency-Agile Solar Radiotelescope (FASR) be used? How might the arrays of instruments envisioned for implementation of the Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments (DASI) concept be employed? How would the loss of Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) data affect forecast capabilities? What steps might better facilitate the transition to operations of the current and planned solar and space physics missions that have application to monitoring and prediction of severe space weather events?

A report of the workshop will be written.

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