Events and Articles
ACSWA periodically publishes news items of upcoming events and space weather related articles that would be of interest to the general community.
The impact solar storms have on man-made objects they cross paths with in space is becoming a matter of concern among U.S. government officials as reported in a Space News article. "What is clearly understood is that space weather can damage or disrupt the electronic circuits that serve as the neural pathways for critical civilian and defense satellites, distort the timing signals of widely used navigation satellites such as GPS, and damage human tissue outside of Earth’s protective magnetosphere. Given a severe enough bout of space weather, electronics on or near Earth’s surface could be affected too." As noted in the article, "... there have been damaging solar storms in the past several decades, including one in 2006 that disrupted GPS signals used by commercial airliners, and one in 1989 that temporarily knocked out the Hydro Quebec power grid that supplies electricity to the entire Canadian province of Quebec.".
"Recognizing that the nation’s electrical infrastructure has grown exponentially [over the past few decades] ...., some U.S. policymakers are pushing to make space weather a matter of national security." There is a substantial need to improve space weather forecasting as current capabilities are only equivalent to the state of the "terrestrial weather community ... in the 1970s." "U.S. agencies are tackling the problem by taking stock of what it would take to transition space weather research into an operational system that could forecast solar events with more precision and advance warning than is possible now. Work on a so-called Unified National Space Weather Capability, an effort to which eight civilian agencies and the Department of Defense are contributing, officially began in 2012 with the signing of an interagency memorandum of understanding." "Meanwhile, the United States has also made some inroads on international cooperation on space weather forecasting ... [by NOAA signing] an agreement with the U.K. Met Office ... to share the U.S.-built ENLIL computer model with British forecasters and [establishing] regular data sharing between the U.K. and NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center [SWPC] in Boulder, Co. "
A recent article in the Courier-Post reports that "[m]ore than a dozen NASA spacecraft suffered data outages or had to be rebooted" when "powerful solar flares pounded the the Earth" for about two weeks in March 2012. "[T]here were fears the space storm would disrupt power networks, commercial aviation and communications systems." The article refers to a 2009 National Academy of Sciences report that warns the "total economic impact in the first year alone could reach $2 trillion, some 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina.”
A recent article in Reuters succintly describes the potential impact of solar storms on power networks, pipleines, radio commnications, and the global positioning system (GPS). '[E]xtreme geomagnetic storms are a classic example of a "low-frequency, high-consequence" event. It is difficult to say how much the industry should invest to avert the risk ...' The complete article can be found here.
ACSWA was present at the Space Weather Workshop in Boulder, Colorado, April 15th - 19th, 2013.
Kent Tobiska, President of Space Environment Technologies and Director of the USU Space Weather Center, gave a short course on Services in the Commercial Sector on January 6, 2013 at the 93rd American Meteorological Society (AMS) Meeting in Austin, Texas. A copy of the short course presentation slides can be found here.
The formation of ACSWA to represent commercial space weather groups and to foster collaboration and communication between various organizations is described in a Space Weather Journal article.