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Suggested Citation:"Extended Summary." National Research Council. 2009. Severe Space Weather Events–Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report: Extended Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12643.
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Page 1
Suggested Citation:"Extended Summary." National Research Council. 2009. Severe Space Weather Events–Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report: Extended Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12643.
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Page 2

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 EXTENDED SUMMARY Genesis of a major space storm. On October 28, 2003, a large sunspot group in the Sun’s southern hemisphere (upper left) erupted, producing an intense x-ray flare (upper right) and a large, fast “halo” coronal mass ejection (CME). Within less than an hour of CME lift-off/flare eruption, solar energetic particles (SEPs), accelerated by the shock wave preceding the CME, began arriving at Earth, causing a polar cap absorption event and initiating ozone- destroying chemistry in the middle atmosphere over the poles. The SEP event was still in progress the following day, when the CME slammed into Earth’s magnetic field, triggering a powerful geomagnetic storm. The geomagnetic field was recovering when, late on October 30, a second CME, launched from the same active region as the first, arrived, unleashing another intense magnetic storm. All images were obtained with instruments on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Clockwise from the upper left: Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) white light image of the photosphere; Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) image of coronal Fe XII emissions; Large Angle and Spectrographic Corona (LASCO) C3 coronagraph image, showing “snow” caused by solar energetic particle bombardment; and a LASCO C2 near-Sun image of the halo CME. (Images courtesy of NASA/ESA.)

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The adverse effects of extreme space weather on modern technology--power grid outages, high-frequency communication blackouts, spacecraft anomalies--are well known and well documented, and the physical processes underlying space weather are also generally well understood. Less well documented and understood, however, are the potential economic and societal impacts of the disruption of critical technological systems by severe space weather.

This volume, an extended four-color summary of the book, Severe Space Weather Events--Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts, addresses the questions of space weather risk assessment and management.

The workshop on which the books are based brought together representatives of industry, the government, and academia to consider both direct and collateral effects of severe space weather events, the current state of the space weather services infrastructure in the United States, the needs of users of space weather data and services, and the ramifications of future technological developments for contemporary society's vulnerability to space weather. The workshop concluded with a discussion of un- or underexplored topics that would yield the greatest benefits in space weather risk management.

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