Space Weather - what is it?

1. Why did the necessity of the Space Weather monitoring arise? 
Why such great attention is attended to it?
2. What is the firstly impacted by space weather phenomena? What suffers most?
3. How is space weather connected with traditional meteorology?
4. In what way is Space Weather control carried out to day? Why is it necessary to have
international cooperation?

 For thousands years of its existence on the Earth the mankind has got used to depend on weather conditions. Thunderstorms and hurricanes, droughts and floods, sudden frosts and long thaws, fogs and hails – this list is far from being full of various weather phenomena making the most essential impact on our life.    All this has always been well known, and the mankind has learnt to cope with various weather problem, trying to minimize there effects, though, of course,   it’s impossible to avoid victims and destructions. Rapid technical progress especially in the latest half century has materialized one more crucial threat for modern systems (and in special case – people’s health) influence of various phenomena of space weather.  It’s this, comparatively new branch of knowledge that is playing a greater role in the life of the modern high technological society. Why do people begin paying more attention to it? What is the original source of disturbances in space weather?  How are these disturbances endured by the objects we are interested in?    
Under the term of “Space Weather” is usually implied the aggregation of the phenomena and
characteristics on the Sun, in interplanetary medium, near space and in the upper layers of atmosphere.  The solar radiation variations are the source of the disturbances and the transport of them are carried out by waves and particles in solar wind, magnetosphere and ionosphere of the Earth.  First of all these disturbances have an effect on the processes in which the steady-state       
balance of electric currents and magnetic fields plays an essential role.
The disturbances breaking this balance may bring to appearance different emergency situations
not only in the systems of communication,  navigation and electric power transmission, but also in the fields which seen hardly connected, such as putting out wood fires, transfer of raw oil by tubes, or public health service. 
What is the firstly impacted by space weather phenomena? What suffers most?
Strong auroral currents can disrupt and damage modern electric power grids and
may contribute to the corrosion of oil and gas pipelines. Magnetic storm-driven ionosphere density disturbances interfere with high-frequency (HF) radio communications and navigation signals from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, while polar cap absorption (PCA) events can degrade—and, during severe events, completely black out—HF communications along transpolar aviation routes, requiring aircraft flying these routes to be diverted to
lower latitudes. Exposure of spacecraft to energetic particles during solar energetic particle events and radiation belt enhancements can cause temporary operational anomalies, damage critical electronics, degrade solar arrays, and blind optical systems such as imagers and star trackers. The effects of space weather on modern technological systems are well documented in both the technical literature and popular accounts. 
Most often cited perhaps is the collapse within 90 seconds of northeastern Canada’s
Hydro-Quebec power grid during the great geomagnetic storm of March 1989, which left millions of people without electricity for up to 9 hours. This event exemplifies the dramatic impact that extreme space weather can have on a technology upon which modern society in all of its manifold and interconnected activities and functions
critically depends. In October – November 2003 17 intense solar flares accompanied with plasma ejection, proton fluxes, disturbances in solar wind and magnetic field of the Earth were registered. 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. Disabling of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (USA) recently implemented GPS-based Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) for 30 hours during the severe space weather events of October-November 2003. 
Space Weather affecting meteorological satellites environmental satellites are now the main source of observations in support of weather forecasting and global climate monitoring. Efforts are made to maintain operational and long-term continuity of operation through in-orbit redundancy and contingency plans. However there remains always a risk of in-orbit failure of a sub-system, which can have either a limited impact, if only affecting one instrument, or a catastrophic impact when affecting for instance the main communication system or the power feed.
Space Weather is the primary cause of in-orbit failure, which can be of multiple form:

- Differential charging and discharge, or Single Event Upsets causing temporary anomalies
or permanent damage to onboard computers and instrumentation;
- Total Dose effect, which causes aging of electronic hardware and progressively decreases
solar panel efficiency;
- Expansion of the upper layer of the atmosphere causing increased drag on low-orbiting
spacecraft which then require additional maneuvers;

Common use of GNSS signals for Space Weather and meteorological observations space-based radio-occultation sounders are increasingly used and have the potential to become a major source of data to retrieve vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature and humidity, particularly for the high troposphere and the stratosphere. High-rate and real-time GPS analysis is rapidly improving in detecting seismic surface waves and co-seismic displacement, and brief or partial loss of tracking because of space weather during a critical event could certainly degrade applications with societal and economic impacts, such as tsunami warning systems. Similarly, ground-based GNSS receivers are measuring the propagation delay of GNSS signals from satellite to ground; hence they allow inferring the total perceptible water, for meteorological purpose, as well as the ionospheric electron density above the receiver, for Space Weather purpose. Incidentally, Space Weather conditions have an influence on the noise level of radar measurements and they should be taken into account when using the Sun as a calibration target for meteorological radars. Solar flare activity also affects pointing angle calibrations. It can be noted that such radio-occultation measurements are not only providing useful sounding data for meteorology and climate, but also measuring the Total Electron Content and the electron density profile.
There also exist organizational challenges for the future; the privatization of systems introduces uncertainty. For example, La Porte noted that ENRON was able to game the power industry in ways the original designers never envisioned. Furthermore many systems are designed based on recent experience and not the potential for extreme events.
It’s absolutely clear that in the frames of only one country it’s impossible to arrange the 24-hour space weather control as the Earth surface situation is to be monitored not only by space observations but also ground based ones. Besides, spread of space weather disturbances concerns crossing the borders of some countries and demands on-line data communication. 
The main organizing structure for space weather international monitoring and prediction of the space environment is International Space Environment Service (ISES). 
ISES was called IUWDS (International URSIgram and World Days Service) until 1996. ISES currently consists of thirteen member nations (Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, India, Japan, Poland, Russian Federation, Sweden, South-Africa and the United States of America) soon to be fourteen with the forthcoming inclusion of Brazil.
ISES Members’ Regional Warning Centres (RWC) are the official government forecast centres for Space Weather in the member countries and are linked to government agencies. For example, in Canada the Space Weather forecast operations are combined with the seismic alerting system in the Canadian Hazards Information Service operated by the federal department of Natural Resources. In some other countries, the RWC is linked to the NMHS. 

Regional warning centers


At present, there are thirteen Regional Warning Centres scattered around the globe. These centres are located in China (Beijing) , USA (Boulder)Russia (Moscow), India (New Delhi )Canada (Ottawa)Czech Republic (Prague)Japan (Tokyo)Australia (Sydney)Sweden (Lund)Belgium (Brussels)Poland (Warsaw)South Africa (Hermanus) Republic of Korea  and Brazil (Sгo Josй dos Campos). The European Space Agency (Noordwijk) is a collaborative expert centre providing a venue for data and product exchange for activities in Europe.
Space Weather suffers in comparison to terrestrial weather in that the data available for real-time products and services are extremely sparse, although the volume, over which Space Weather acts, starting 93 million miles away at the Sun, is very great. There is thus a need to combine observing efforts of the various partners and to ensure efficient sharing of observations. Consequently, it is critical that the measurements that are available be of high quality and in a form that is standardized for all member service providers. Increasingly, the most important measurements are made by satellites, and these platforms must carry the appropriately specified instrument suites that provide the basis from which real-time services can flow, which requires detailed planning, long-term ahead. Harmonizing generic specifications of space-based instruments would improve inter-comparability of measurements and thus increase their usefulness.
The data acquired to support Space Weather services must be palatable to all users globally. A
standard agreed upon format is a necessary ingredient. Currently most Space Weather agencies subscribe to the data formats of the ISES. As these data types increase, given the needs of member states, a mechanism to broker the appropriate formats is a requirement.
In light of current developments of the WMO Information System (WIS) and of the striving for
interoperability within the WIS and the Global Earth Observation system of Systems (GEOSS) it
seems appropriate to consider the WIS as the vehicle for Space Weather data exchange and to
ensure that Space Weather data are properly identified in catalogues and described by metadata in accordance with WIS agreed standards, which will be the key for interoperability and wide access. Scope for integrating Space Weather and meteorological observation
In the context and logic of the WMO Integration of Global Observing Systems (WIGOS), there is particular scope for considering Space Weather observations in conjunction with meteorological observations, having regard to the possibility of sharing observation platforms, either space-based or ground-based, and given the impact of Space Weather events on meteorological satellites, which are a cornerstone of operational meteorological observations. 
The nature of Space Weather services is that these shall be applicable to the needs of each
specific country in spite of the fact that the impacts are much broader -- similar to the synoptic
scale for terrestrial weather. Space Weather effects are global in many ways, i.e., polar airline
usage, and the need for harmonization and coordination is clear. Actions taken by member states are, by necessity, often interdependent. The WMO provides a venue and forum for the necessary discussions and debates. Of particular value would be the adoption of standardized concepts and procedures for the issuance of warnings, as well as for the verification of their accuracy. In light of current progress of the multi-hazard warning approach that is currently supported by WMO, it is anticipated that combining Space Weather warnings with meteorological or other environmental warnings could be beneficial for the visibility of the warning and the reliability of its transmission, i.e. ensuring that it reaches its target in due time.
The WMO has a leadership role in working with all users, from the most knowledgeable and
professionally specialized, to the general public, ensuring that the information contained in Space Weather products is passed efficiently to the end users. The WMO gives both a legitimacy and trademark to the output of the service providers.
In 2009 the Commission for Basic Systems (CBS-XIV) WMO recommended establishing an Inter-programme Coordination Team on Space Weather (ICTSW).  The ICTSW was established in May 2010 with a mandate to support the following activities:

  Standardization and enhancement of Space Weather data exchange and delivery through the WMO Information System (WIS)

  Harmonized definition of end-products and services, including e.g. quality assurance guidelines and emergency warning procedures, in interaction with aviation and other major application sectors

  Integration of Space Weather observations, through review of space- and surface-based observation requirements, harmonization of sensor specifications, monitoring plans for Space Weather observation

Encouraging the dialogue between the research and operational Space Weather communities.