UN COPUOS Space Weather Expert Group

Space Weather Workshop: From Scientific Discovery to Applications, Services, and Infrastructure Protection


Workshop and UN Space Weather Expert Group Meeting on the margins of the 53rd United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC)


February 15 - 17, 2016 (Mon. & Tues: 10am-1pm & 3pm-6pm; Weds: 10am-1pm).


Room C4, Vienna International Center (VIC), Vienna, Austria. Note all participants must contact their national delegations in advance to obtain accreditation and badging needed for access to the VIC (in case of problems please contact the organisers)


A Space Weather Expert Group was established at the 52nd COPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC) Assembly in February, 2015 with the mandate to promote awareness, provide guidance, and enable communication and cooperation in space weather related activities among Member States and related national and international organisations. The report of the first meeting of the Expert Group (A/AC.105/C.1/2015/CRP.27) described the background for this effort and defined the initial Work Plan.

Workshop Goal:

To advance the work of the Space Weather Expert Group and to refine its Work Plan. The Expert Group is tasked: to examine the guidelines and recommendations made by various international bodies, including COPUOS and COSPAR/ILWS; to identify the role of the STSC in space weather related activities and ensure complementarity with the activities of other international organizations; and to promote Member State involvement in space weather efforts.

Workshop and Meeting Agenda:

We solicit active participation from all interested scientists, engineers, space weather service providers, national and international space agencies, and related international organizations with interests in space weather, from COPUOS Member States, to promote and enhance coordinated space weather efforts. Topics of discussion will include: 1. Assessment of recommendation and priorities established by international bodies; 2. Overview of national and international efforts; 3. Actions to advance the priorities of the COSPAR/ILWS Space Weather Roadmap including possible routes to implementation; and 4. Refining the Expert Group Work Plan and establishing actions for the following year.

Day 1: Monday 15th February 2016 - Morning
Overview and National and International Space Weather Activities

Goals of the Workshop and Motivation:

10:00 - 10:10 Overview of Goals of the Workshop
Lika Guhathakurta/Ian R. Mann/Terry Onsager
10:10 - 10:35 Science needs for understanding Sun-society connections: COSPAR/ILWS roadmap.
Carolus Schrijver, Lockheed Martin, U.S.A.
10:35 - 10:50 UN Space Weather Expert Group C Report - Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities Weather Guidelines and Best Practice
Ian R. Mann, University of Alberta, Canada.

Overview of National and International Efforts (1):
National operational requirements to parallel science needs:

10:50 - 11:05 U.S. National Space Weather Action Plan and Impact Assessment
Terry Onsager, NOAA, U.S.A.
11:05 - 11:20 UK Space Weather Plans and Impact Assessment
Peter Thorne, Meteorological. Office, U.K.
11:20 - 11:35 BREAK
11:35 - 11:50 Recent space weather activities in Australia
Richard Marshall, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Australia
11:50 - 12:05 Introduction of Japanese new activity for SWx –PSTEP
Mamoru Ishii, NICT, Japan
12:05 - 12:20 Space weather activities in Switzerland
Margit Haberreiter, PMOD/WRD, Switzerland.
12:20 - 12:35 Space Weather Activities in Germany
Norbert Jakowski, German Aerospace Center, Germany.
12:35 - 12:50 Space Weather Activities in South Africa.
Lee-Anne McKinnell, SANSA, South Africa.
12:50 - 13:05 Space Weather Activities in Canada. Pierre Langlois, CSA, Canada.
Space Weather Activities in Italy. Vincenzo Romano, INGV, Italy.
Korean Space Weather Center. kichang Yoon, RRA, Korea.

Day 1: Monday 15th February 2016 - Afternoon
Overview and National and International Space Weather Activities (Continued)

Overview of National and International Efforts (2):

15:00 - 15:15 Space weather studies in the Russian Academy of Sciences
Sergey Bogachev, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation.
15:15 - 15:30 Chinese Space Weather Plans and Impact Assessment
Siqing Liu, National Space Science Center, CAS, China.
15:30 - 15:45 Update on recent and future actions about Space Weather in Austria
Manuela Temmer, University of Graz, Austria.

International Agency Activities:

15:45 - 16:00 ESA Space Situational Awareness
Juha-Pekka Luntema, European Space Agency.
16:00 - 16:15 WMO Update on Space Weather Activities
Terry Onsager, NOAA, U.S.A.
16:15 - 16:30 Report of ICAO/WG-MISD and ISTF
Mamoru Ishii, NICT, Japan.
16:30 - 16:45 BREAK
16:45 - 17:00 Report on UN/Japan Workshop on Space Weather held in March 2015
Werner Balogh, U.N. OOSA
17:00 - 17:15 Update on International Space Weather Initiative (ISWI)
Nat Gopalswamy, NASA, U.S.A.
17:15 - 17:30 QB50 - Achieving space weather science with constellations of cubesats?
Jan Thoemel, VKI, Belgium.
17:30 - 18:00 DISCUSSION
  • How to coordinate international efforts, and examine role of UN COPUOS Expert Group in this context.
  • Introduce desired next steps following the COSPAR-ILWS Space Weather Roadmap Report and how new science could impact improved space weather services.
  • Tomorrows Workshop will examine initial approaches and steps to achieve implementation of the GIC Pathway I from ILWS-COSPAR roadmap. Space Radiation and Ionosphere/Radio (Roadmap pathways II and II) to be addressed in the future.

Day 2: Tuesday 16th February 2016 - Morning:
Overview of the COSPAR-ILWS Space Weather Roadmap Report

Focus on the GIC Pathway at this workshop:
Space Weather Threat - Geomagnetically Induced Currents

10:00 - 10:15 National Electricity Reliability Council (US): GICs, Power System Impacts and Regulatory Requirements
Antti Pulkkinen/Terry Onsager, NASA/NOAA USA.
10:15 - 10:30 Space weather and the UK electrical transmission system: monitoring, modelling and services
Alan Thompson, British Geological Survey, U.K.
10:30 - 10:45 GIC Impacts and Modelling in Australia
Richard Marshall, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Australia.
10:45 - 11:00 Solar Wind Magnetosphere Interaction: Strong Storm Time GMD Activity and Potential Mechanisms for GIC Creation
Hermann Opgenoorth, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Sweden.
11:15 - 11:30 BREAK

Day 2: Tuesday 16th February 2016 - Afternoon:

Working Group (WG) Meetings - Split into three Working Groups

11:30 - 13:00 Working Group Meetings WG-1: GIC Pathway I-1: “Quantify active-region magnetic structure for nascent CMEs
  • Lead Carolus Schrijver and Sergey Bogachev
WG-2: GIC Pathway I-2: “Solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling inducing strong GICs”
  • Lead Hermann Opgenoorth and Jan Thoemel
WG-3: GIC Pathway I-3: “Global corona and heliosphere to drive models for solar wind plasma and field”
  • Lead Don Hassler and Nat Gopalswamy

Charge to Working Groups.

Work ing groups task statement: starting from the COSPAR/ILWS roadmaps implementation concepts, specify in more detail the scientific needs to reach the identified knowledge goals, then identify required observables, scope required instrumentation and modeling investments, and estimate resources in terms of time and investments needed. Identify opportunities as available.

Initially focus on “Pathway I” - Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GICs)

Each one of the WGs below should address a) maintaining existing capabilities, b) addressing modeling capability, archival research, data infrastructure, open data policy, c) deployment of new/additional instrumentation.
Objective: To obtain forecasts more than 12 hrs ahead of the magnetic structure and triggering of GIC event.
Related Science Topics: Initiation and evolution of incoming coronal mass ejections, interaction and evolution through the heliosphere, interaction with geospace resulting in generation of GICs.
Target: To improve alerts for geomagnetic disturbances and strong GICs.
Goal: Advancing from the COSPAR/ILWS roadmap to develop a draft of a potential implementation plan.
Note: The intention is to proceed and complete Pathways II and III in the COSPAR/ILWS roadmap related to ionospheric variability and geospace energetic particles later.

Day 2: Tuesday 16th February 2016 – Afternoon:

Working Group (WG) Meetings (continued)

15:00 - 17:00 Working Group Meetings (Continued)
17:00 - 17:15 BREAK
17:15 - 17:30 Working Groups Report to Plenary (as needed)
  • Updates from Working Groups to plenary
17:30 - 18:00 Discussion and Conclusions
  • Discussion and plans for completion of assessment and reporting? Input into COPUOS via formal Space Weather Expert Group? Consideration of how to target other areas (e.g., COSPAR-ILWS Roadmap Pathways II and III) in future activities?

Day 3: Wednesday 17th February 2016 – Morning (only)

10:00 - 13:00 Space Weather Expert Group Meeting
Revise Current Work Plan for the UN Expert Group on Space Weather
As approved at the Feburary 2015 United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), an Expert Group on Space Weather was formed with the following initial work plan approved by the STSC:
  • Examine the report and conclusions of the LTS Expert Group C on space weather (A/AC.105/C.1/2014/CRP.15)) and other information related to space weather including the recent report from the COSPAR-ILWS Roadmap team “Understanding Space Weather to Shield Society”. The group will examine the guidelines, recommendations and best practices to identify mechanisms to promote their implementation, including an assessment of prioritization. [year 1]
  • Complete an inventory of relevant United Nations organizations, including the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) and others, and those within States members of the Committee and national and international organizations. Identify and assess their role in the global space weather effort, promote coordination and communication between them, and ensure that the efforts of STSC are complementary. [years 1-2]
  • Recognizing the impacts of space weather, the group will promote increased and expanded member State involvement in providing space weather monitoring, from the ground and in space, and in developing, advancing, and sharing and delivering space weather services. [years 2-4]
  • The group will report yearly to the STSC on its progress, on important issues which have been identified, and where specific action is recommended. The group will also make a recommendation for its continuing and future work plan
Target revision and update to the current Work Plan of the UN Expert Group on Space Weather.
Establish framework for future action under new UN Expert Group on Space Weather
Future directions of further activities for UN Space Weather Expert Group, including input to report to UN COPUOS on UN Space Weather Expert Group activities. As an initial task following the Mon-Tuesday Workshop, the Expert Group meeting will also examine how to coordinate and promote future international space weather activities.
  • Dr. Lika Guhathakurta, NASA HQ/SMD/Heliophysics Division, U.S.A.
  • Prof. Ian Mann, University of Alberta, Canada, and Rapporteur for UN Expert Group on Space Weather.
  • Dr. Terrance Onsager, NOAA/NWS/Space Weather Prediction Center, U.S.A.