92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012: 1:45 PM
The National Space Weather Program: Implementing National Capability
Room 252/253 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Samuel P. Williamson, Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology, Silver Spring, MD; and M. F. Bonadonna and M. R. Babcock

As we approach the next peak of solar activity expected in 2013, the global community faces multiplying uncertainties from increasing reliance on space weather-affected technologies for communications, navigation, security, and other activities, many of which underpin national infrastructures and economies. The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology-sponsored U.S. 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 and other subordinate groups, 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. In 2011, the NSWP moved decisively to reduce these uncertainties and better prepare the United States for the coming solar maximum and beyond.

The interagency NSWP community continued a number of projects and initiated several new activities in 2011. To accelerate progress in the face of solar maximum, the Council organized the new Unified National Space Weather Capability initiative to rapidly leverage the best capabilities of the agencies to improve space weather services. To build early momentum, take action, and prepare longer term plans, the Council established the Committee for Unified National Space Weather Capability which led development of the Integrated Action Plan to guide coordinated, collaborative activities. In June, the Council organized and hosted the Space Weather Enterprise Forum held at the National Press Club, drawing together more than 210 policymakers, senior government leaders, researchers, government and private sector service-providers, space weather information users, media, legislators, and staff from Capitol Hill to raise awareness of space weather and its effects on society. The fifth of what have become annual events, the 2011 forum's theme was Solar Maximum: Can We Weather the Storm? The forum focused on space weather effects on critical infrastructure and human health, and provided a venue to announce the unified national capability initiative. Also in 2011, the Council responded to a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy study request, derived from the 2010 NASA Authorization Act, by establishing an interagency group that produced an assessment of space- and ground-based data sources necessary for space weather forecasting both today and in 10 years. In 2012, the Council plans to push forward on the unified national capability, host another Space Weather Enterprise Forum, and guide Committee for Space Weather development of the NSWP Implementation Plan which will incorporate elements of the Integrated Action Plan, the National Academies' Decadal Survey on Solar and Space Physics, and agency initiatives.

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