Space Weather: A Low Frequency, High Impact Space Age Hazard

Monday, February 15, 2016: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Wilson A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Policymakers at national and international levels increasingly recognize the threats of space weather – i.e., severe storms in the near-Earth space environment driven by complex magnetic field events from the sun – as among the most challenging to developed technological societies. Alterations in the ionized portion of the upper atmosphere, driven by the interaction of the Earth’s magnetic field with the complicated plasma and magnetic field structures emitted by the sun, can lead to significant disruptions (e.g., availability and accuracy of the global positioning system). This interaction can also impact high-frequency radio communications, forcing airlines to divert aircraft from trans-polar routings to longer, lower-latitude routes at significant cost. The severe storms can also drive strong currents in the electric power grid, potentially leading to blackouts, as well as in long-distance pipelines, worsening corrosion. Understanding of the basic science behind these effects is reasonably good in some areas, but work remains to create a robust, reliable, and effective set of forecast tools.
Michael Wiltberger, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Michael Wiltberger, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Daniel N. Baker, University of Colorado
Basics of Space Weather and Its Economic Impacts
William Murtagh, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
The National Space Weather Strategy
See more of: Physics and Astronomy
See more of: Symposia