Document details

Title: The Space-Weather Awareness Dialogue: Findings and Outlook
Authors: KRAUSMANN, E. (EC)

Our modern technological infrastructures on the ground and in space are vulnerable to the effects of natural hazards. Of increasing concern are extreme space-weather events such as geomagnetic storms - a recurring natural hazard caused by solar activity - that can have serious impacts on space- or groundbased infrastructures such as electrical power grids, telecommunication, navigation, transport or banking. In view of the risk of catastrophic technological failure and the upcoming solar maximum expected in early 2013, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre together with the Directorate-General Enterprise and Industry organised a high-level ‘Space-Weather Awareness Dialogue’ in Brussels, Belgium, on 25-26 October 2011. The aim of the event was to raise awareness of the potential impact of space weather on critical infrastructures in space and on the ground, to identify scientific, operational and policy challenges for reducing the risk to susceptible critical infrastructures and services, and to

recommend concrete actions to better protect them. This should address the full disaster-management cycle, including prevention, preparedness and response.

The Space-Weather Awareness Dialogue brought together about 70 high-level representatives from national organisations and authorities, international organisations with assets possibly affected by space weather, operators of critical infrastructures, academia, and European Union institutions. In the course of the discussions consensus was reached on the following points:

* Space weather is a threat to our critical infrastructures that needs to be addressed.

* The analysis of the space-weather threat to ground-based critical infrastructure (power grid, aviation, telecommunications, etc.) is of equal importance as the study of space-based infrastructures.

* There is no central entity that takes the lead in the space-weather community.

* The assessment of space-weather impact on critical infrastructures requires a multidisciplinary effort from all stakeholders (scientists, engineers, infrastructure operators, policy makers).

* Ageing satellites that monitor space weather need to be replaced.

* A framework for better structured communication between the stakeholders is required.

* Open space-weather data sharing is necessary for improving early warning and impact models.

* While there is some preparedness for normal space weather in some infrastructure sectors, nobody is fully prepared for extreme events.

* The topic of space-weather impacts would benefit from cross-sectoral discussion.

* Emergency exercises could help raise awareness of space-weather impact.

* International cooperation is required to cope with the problem as response capabilities may be beyond the capacity of individual countries.

With respect to the many facets of the threat of space weather the JRC will continue and enhance its coordinating efforts and scientific activities.


Insert date: 2011 Dec 5
Uploader: Stijn Calders (228)
technical reports
Security group: Everyone
File: SWAD_OUTCOME_EUR.pdf (609 KB)