A Coordinated Approach to Space Weather Research

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Monday, 3 February 2014: 11:45 AM
Room C110 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Tamara Dickinson, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Washington, DC; and G. Blazey and S. Jonas

Space weather phenomena have the potential to negatively impact many important national security and commercial infrastructure sectors of the United States. A vulnerability of great concern is the impact of space weather on the electric power grid. Certain space weather phenomena could cause cascading failures across large regions of the United States, power outages that could last for days or months, and an enormous economic and human toll associated with prolonged loss of electric power. Disasters such as Hurricane Sandy show that prolonged electricity outages have significant cascading effects that impact the daily functioning of our communities and Nation.

Although significant progress has been made in observation, mitigation, and regulation related to space weather, there are several areas in which we can improve our ability to forecast and respond to such an event. Scientific research can improve our ability to observe and characterize events with longer lead times and can improve our space weather modeling capabilities. Engineering research will improve our ability to respond to and understand the impacts of space weather events on our infrastructure, the electric power grid in particular. Addressing these issues will require collaboration among Federal, state, local, and international governments, industry, academia, and other organizations.