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Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report SEVERE SPACE WEATHER EVENTS—UNDERSTANDING SOCIETAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS A WORKSHOP REPORT Committee on the Societal and Economic Impacts of Severe Space Weather Events: A Workshop Space Studies Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study is based on work supported by Contract NNH06CE15B between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agency that provided support for the project. Cover: (Upper left) A looping eruptive prominence blasted out from a powerful active region on July 29, 2005, and within an hour had broken away from the Sun. Active regions are areas of strong magnetic forces. Image courtesy of SOHO, a project of international cooperation between the European Space Agency and NASA. International Standard Book Number 13: 978-0-309-12769-1 International Standard Book Number 10: 0-309-12769-6 Copies of this report are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report OTHER REPORTS OF THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD Ensuring the Climate Record from the NPOESS and GOES-R Spacecraft: Elements of a Strategy to Recover Measurement Capabilities Lost in Program Restructuring (2008) Opening New Frontiers in Space: Choices for the Next New Frontiers Announcement of Opportunity (2008) Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA’s Constellation System: Interim Report (SSB with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2008) Space Science and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Summary of a Workshop (2008) United States Civil Space Policy: Summary of a Workshop (SSB with ASEB, 2008) Workshop Series on Issues in Space Science and Technology: Summary of Space and Earth Science Issues from the Workshop on U.S. Civil Space Policy (2008) Assessment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (2007) An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars (SSB with the Board on Life Sciences [BLS], 2007) Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration (SSB with ASEB, 2007) Decadal Science Strategy Surveys: Report of a Workshop (2007) Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond (2007) Exploring Organic Environments in the Solar System (SSB with the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, 2007) Grading NASA’s Solar System Exploration Program: A Midterm Review (2007) The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems (SSB with BLS, 2007) NASA’s Beyond Einstein Program: An Architecture for Implementation (SSB with the Board on Physics and Astronomy [BPA], 2007) Options to Ensure the Climate Record from the NPOESS and GOES-R Spacecraft: A Workshop Report (2007) A Performance Assessment of NASA’s Astrophysics Program (SSB with BPA, 2007) Portals to the Universe: The NASA Astronomy Science Centers (2007) The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon (2007) An Assessment of Balance in NASA’s Science Programs (2006) Assessment of NASA’s Mars Architecture 2007-2016 (2006) Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Venus Missions: Letter Report (2006) Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments for Solar-Terrestrial Research: Report of a Workshop (2006) Issues Affecting the Future of the U.S. Space Science and Engineering Workforce: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2006) Review of NASA’s 2006 Draft Science Plan: Letter Report (2006) The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon—Interim Report (2006) Space Radiation Hazards and the Vision for Space Exploration (2006) Limited copies of these reports are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board National Research Council The Keck Center of the National Academies 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001 (202) firstname.lastname@example.org www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html NOTE: Listed according to year of approval for release, which in some cases precedes the year of publication.
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Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report COMMITTEE ON THE SOCIETAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF SEVERE SPACE WEATHER EVENTS: A WORKSHOP DANIEL N. BAKER, University of Colorado at Boulder, Chair ROBERTA BALSTAD, Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University J. MICHAEL BODEAU, Northrop Grumman Space Technology EUGENE CAMERON, United Airlines, Inc. JOSEPH F. FENNELL, Aerospace Corporation GENENE M. FISHER, American Meteorological Society KEVIN F. FORBES, Catholic University of America PAUL M. KINTNER, Cornell University LOUIS G. LEFFLER, North American Electric Reliability Council (retired) WILLIAM S. LEWIS, Southwest Research Institute JOSEPH B. REAGAN, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Inc. (retired) ARTHUR A. SMALL III, Pennsylvania State University THOMAS A. STANSELL, Stansell Consulting LEONARD STRACHAN, JR., Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Staff SANDRA J. GRAHAM, Study Director THERESA M. FISHER, Program Associate VICTORIA SWISHER, Research Associate CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Assistant Editor
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Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report SPACE STUDIES BOARD CHARLES F. KENNEL, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, Chair A. THOMAS YOUNG, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), Vice Chair DANIEL N. BAKER, University of Colorado STEVEN J. BATTEL, Battel Engineering CHARLES L. BENNETT, Johns Hopkins University YVONNE C. BRILL, Aerospace Consultant ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory ANDREW B. CHRISTENSEN, Dixie State College and Aerospace Corporation ALAN DRESSLER, Observatories of the Carnegie Institution JACK D. FELLOWS, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research FIONA A. HARRISON, California Institute of Technology JOAN JOHNSON-FREESE, Naval War College KLAUS KEIL, University of Hawaii MOLLY K. MACAULEY, Resources for the Future BERRIEN MOORE III, University of New Hampshire ROBERT T. PAPPALARDO, Jet Propulsion Laboratory JAMES PAWELCZYK, Pennsylvania State University SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN, University of California, Irvine JOAN VERNIKOS, Thirdage LLC JOSEPH F. VEVERKA, Cornell University WARREN M. WASHINGTON, National Center for Atmospheric Research CHARLES E. WOODWARD, University of Minnesota ELLEN G. ZWEIBEL, University of Wisconsin MARCIA S. SMITH, Director
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Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report Preface On October 30, 2003, the House Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Environment, Technology, and Standards held a hearing on space weather and on the roles and responsibilities of the various agencies involved in the collection, dissemination, and use of space weather data. Testimony was given by representatives from NOAA, NASA, and the USAF as well as by representatives from different industries. Questions included, What is the proper level of funding for agencies involved in space environmental predictions? and, What is the importance of such predictions to industry and commerce? Coincidentally, and rather remarkably, at that very time the Sun exhibited some of its strongest eruptive activity in the last three decades. Enormous outbursts of energy from the Sun during late October and early November 2003 produced intense solar energetic particle events and triggered severe geomagnetic storms, the wide ranging effects of which were described as follows: The Sydkraft utility group in Sweden reported that strong geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) over Northern Europe caused transformer problems and even a system failure and subsequent blackout. Radiation storm levels were high enough to prompt NASA officials to issue a flight directive to the ISS astronauts to take precautionary shelter. Airlines took unprecedented actions in their high latitude routes to avoid the high radiation levels and communication blackout areas. Rerouted flights cost airlines $10,000 to $100,000 per flight. Numerous anomalies were reported by deep space missions and by satellites at all orbits. GSFC Space Science Mission Operations Team indicated that approximately 59% of the Earth and Space science missions were impacted. The storms are suspected to have caused the loss of the $640 million ADEOS-2 spacecraft. On board the ADEOS-2 was the $150 million NASA SeaWinds instrument. Due to the variety and intensity of this solar activity outbreak, most industries vulnerable to space weather experienced some degree of impact to their operations.1 These events reminded scientists and policy makers alike how significantly the space environment can affect human society and its various space- and ground-based technologies. Motivated by the October-November 2003 events (popularly known as the Halloween storms of 2003), the Committee on Solar and Space Physics (CSSP) of the National Research Council (NRC) began to consider the need to assess systematically the societal and economic impacts of what is now known widely as “space weather.” 1 NOAA, Intense Space Weather Storms October 19-November 07, 2003, NOAA National Weather Service, Silver Spring, Md., April 2004, p. 1.
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Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report The nation’s vulnerability to space weather effects is an issue of increasing concern.2 For example, long-line power networks connecting widely separated geographic areas may absorb damaging electrical currents induced by geomagnetic storms. Similarly, the miniaturization of electronic components used in spacecraft systems makes them potentially more susceptible to damage by energetic particles produced during space weather disturbances. The United States also has a continuous human presence in space on the International Space Station, and the president and NASA have put into place a program to expand the activities of the United States as a space-faring nation with a future permanent settlement on the Moon and eventually a mission to Mars. However, despite all of these potential vulnerabilities to the effects of space weather, relatively few detailed studies of the socioeconomic impacts of severe space weather events have been carried out. In 2007 the Committee on the Societal and Economic Impacts of Severe Space Weather Events: A Workshop, operating under the auspices of the Space Studies Board (SSB) of the National Academies, was charged to convene a public workshop that would feature invited presentations and discussion to assess the nation’s current and future ability to manage the effects of space weather events and their societal and economic impacts. Although cost-benefit analyses of terrestrial weather observing systems and mitigation strategies have a long history, similar studies for space weather are lacking. Workshop sessions were intended to look at the effects of historical space weather events; in particular, an examination of the record solar storms of October-November 2003 was intended to focus the presentations and provide data to project future vulnerabilities. The inclusion of historic events and intervals was important in order to capture the breadth of space weather impacts (which can be different from event to event). A goal was also to understand impacts that occur during nonstorm times. The workshop was also to include sessions on how space weather impacts might change with time as technologies evolve and new technologies appear. To meet the goals established within the NRC guidelines, the committee invited a wide range of attendees for a 1½-day public workshop in Washington, D.C., on May 22-23, 2008. Participants were drawn from a broad cross section of those interested in or directly affected by severe space weather events, including government agencies and industry as well as private vendors of space weather services. The workshop provided an initial forum for gathering information on specific space weather effects and on the status and unmet challenges of forecasting. Copies of the presentations made at the workshop can be viewed online at http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ssb/spaceweather08_presentations.html. Because of the original multiagency flavor of the planning for the workshop, there were elements of the study statement of task (given in Appendix A) that raised questions about how certain ground-based (National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored) facilities might be used to forecast or mitigate space weather effects. However, as the planning progressed and the scope of the required work grew clearer, it became obvious that in order to address the task’s primary theme of socioeconomic impacts within the time and resources available, the effort needed to hew to the principal issues of civilian, military, and commercial impacts of space weather and mitigation strategies based on operational capabilities. The workshop and its goals reflect this more focused approach. This approach did elicit discussion of a number of flight instruments such as the solar wind monitor on NASA’s ACE (Advanced Composition Explorer) spacecraft, but little or no discussion of instrument(s) such as DASI (Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments), FASR (Frequency-Agile Solar Radiotelescope), and AMISR (Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar), which were still at the concept stage, under development, or under construction, respectively, at the time of the workshop. The scientific bases for DASI, FASR, and AMISR have been addressed in previous NRC reports,3,4,5 and their utilization for space weather purposes remains an active goal of the NSF as the facilities come fully online. This report of the workshop was prepared by the organizing committee. The report summarizes the workshop 2 Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology (OFCM), Report of the Assessment Committee for the National Space Weather Program, FCM-R24-2006, OFCM, Silver Spring, Md., 2006, p. 1, available at http://www.ofcm.gov/r24/fcm-r24.htm. 3 National Research Council, Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments for Solar-Terrestrial Research: A Workshop Report, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2006 4 National Research Council, The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2003. 5 National Research Council, Ground-Based Solar Research: An Assessment and Strategy for the Future, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1998.
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Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report proceedings but does not offer any recommendations. Instead, the workshop was intended to help gather information and identify issues for analysis in a possible follow-on study that could provide recommendations on future space weather programs, resource needs, and interagency coordination to improve services and knowledge for those affected by space weather. The organizing committee is deeply appreciative of the time and effort contributed by people from industry, government, and academia. It is the committee’s hope that the present report will provide policy makers and the general public with a better understanding of the importance of space weather to a wide range of economic and societal activities and light the way to future analyses and assessments.
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Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Elizabeth Cantwell, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Jack R. Jokipii, University of Arizona, Todd M. La Porte, Jr., George Mason University, Louis J. Lanzerotti, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and William Murtagh, NOAA/National Weather Service. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by George A. Paulikas, The Aerospace Corporation. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 6 2 SPACE WEATHER IMPACTS IN RETROSPECT 16 3 SPACE WEATHER AND SOCIETY 29 4 CURRENT SPACE WEATHER SERVICES INFRASTRUCTURE 35 5 USER PERSPECTIVES ON SPACE WEATHER PRODUCTS 50 6 SATISFYING SPACE WEATHER USER NEEDS 69 7 FUTURE SOLUTIONS, VULNERABILITIES, AND RISKS 76 8 FACILITATED OPEN AUDIENCE DISCUSSION: THE WAY FORWARD 86 APPENDIXES A Statement of Task 93 B Workshop Agenda and Participants 94 C Abstracts Prepared by Workshop Panelists 98 D Biographies of Committee Members and Staff 125 E Select Acronyms and Terms 130
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