3.1 The National Space Weather Program: 2010 and the Next Decade

Monday, 24 January 2011: 4:00 PM
4C-3 (Washington State Convention Center)
Samuel P. Williamson, Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology, Silver Spring, MD; and M. F. Bonadonna and M. R. Babcock
Manuscript (38.9 kB)

As the next peak of solar activity approaches, society faces multiplying uncertainties from increasing reliance on space weather-affected technologies for communication, navigation, security, and other activities, many of which underpin the national infrastructure and economy. The National Space Weather Program (NSWP) is a Federal interagency initiative established in 1995 to improve timely and reliable predictions of significant disturbances in space weather and to provide tailored information specific to those who may be affected. The NSWP Council, through its Committee for Space Weather, seeks to speed improvement of space weather products and services through research, transition of research to operations, and improvements in operational capability to better prepare the United States for the effects of space weather on technological systems, activities, and human health. The program marked major milestones in 2010 with the publication of two significant documents. Following White House Office of Science and Technology Policy approval, the Subcommittee for Disaster Reduction published the Space Weather Implementation Plan as the fifteenth and final hazard area in the portfolio of Grand Challenges for Disaster Reduction. This plan and the rest of the portfolio are available at http://www.sdr.gov. Following White House Office of Management and Budget review, the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology (OFCM) published the new NWSP Strategic Plan, defining a fresh vision, mission statement, and five broad goals in the areas of research, observations, products and services, awareness, and communications. The plan is available on the publications page at http://www.ofcm.gov/. Both documents provide the framework for interagency cooperation and collaboration for the next decade. Also in 2010, the Council organized and hosted the fourth Space Weather Enterprise Forum with the theme of Building an Informed and Resilient Society – the Decade Ahead, bringing more than 230 international attendees from government, industry, academia, and the public to Washington, DC, to share information, raise awareness, improve communication, and identify approaches to building resiliency. The forum focused particularly on protecting and supporting critical infrastructure and featured the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator. For the first time, the forum also explicitly addressed the integration of social sciences to improve space weather services, complementing the expanding awareness of such integration benefits in the terrestrial weather enterprise. To address both space and terrestrial weather social sciences integration, the OFCM is establishing an interagency Working Group for Social Science. In 2011, the Council will move forward under the vision of the new Strategic Plan, beginning to chart specific courses to realize these strategic goals and continue raising awareness of and building resiliency against the effects of space weather.
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