entities to guide and use research observations. It is highly desirable that the National Space Weather Program (NSWP) be augmented to provide a mechanism for coordinating space weather observations, allowing for input to mission definition and payloads from all groups. The SWMI panel encourages the placement and coordination of space-weather-related observing systems on research, commercial, and government platforms to the greatest extent possible. The panel also supports development of mechanisms for real-time data acquisition and distribution from all available platforms.
More generally, to make the most of limited resources, an effective space weather program must be accomplished through coordinated activities within the government as well as with the commercial sectors. Currently several commercial and government groups provide various forms of space weather products with some limited coordination, yet many functions overlap. The panel urges that the NSWP be enhanced and clarified in order to delineate the roles for each agency, e.g., NASA, NOAA, NSF, the U.S. Geological Survey, DOD, and DOE, in producing and distributing data and models providing forecasting and space-weather-related products. The panel strongly endorses the undertaking of a high-level study to design a more complete overarching architecture for the NSWP that would define agency roles and coordinate observations.
SWMI Imperative: Encourage the creation of a complete architecture for the National Space Weather Program that would coordinate joint research, commercial, and operational space weather observations and define agency roles for producing, distributing, and forecasting space weather products. In addition the SWMI panel encourages all agencies to foster interactions between the research and operational communities and to identify funding for maintaining a healthy research-to-operations and operations-to-research program.
Achieving the key science goals of this decadal survey requires identifying the optimum set of operational observations to drive models that will enable specification and prediction of the environment throughout the magnetosphere. This effort may ultimately require an operational “great observatory” of satellites in appropriate orbits for monitoring crucial aspects of the input from and response to solar wind variability. In addition to providing the input necessary for high-fidelity environmental specifications, these measurements would provide routine context information for future targeted science experiments, much as magnetospheric activity indices are used today. Potential elements of such a space weather observatory could include a solar wind monitor (including IMF, energetic particle, and potentially coronagraphic measurements); high-altitude synoptic imaging of the aurorae, ring current, plasmasphere, and of the outer magnetospheric boundary; constellation observations of plasma entry and global tail structure; low-altitude, DMSP-like satellites to observe the magnetospheric input into the ionosphere and its response; multiple geosynchronous measurements of plasma, energetic particles, and magnetic field; RBSP-like monitors of the inner magnetospheric radiation environment; and a fine mesh of appropriate ground-based measurements. One important near-term investment is to determine, based on past observations of this nature, the optimum set of measurements that are required to drive high-fidelity predictive models of the environment.
SWMI Imperative: Implement a program to determine, based on past observations, the optimum set of measurements that are required to drive high-fidelity predictive models of the environment.
The SWMI imperatives presented above would all greatly enhance the ability to accomplish the science goals the panel has outlined, thereby providing the foundation needed for addressing the decadal survey’s