A new path for space weather cooperation among federal agencies

A new path for space weather cooperation among federal agencies

Space weather scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and experts across the government celebrated a new collaborative effort to improve space weather forecasts and services to mitigate the effects of space weather. Timing is crucial as we approach what has already been proven to be active solar cycle 25.

NOAA Assistant Administrator for Weather Services and National Weather Service Director Ken Graham and NOAA Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services Stephen Volz joined leaders from other federal agencies to sign a historic Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) designed to encourage and support interagency collaboration to advance research and operational capabilities in space weather. in the country. The December 7 event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building was hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

SUVI images from NOAA's GOES-16 satellite on April 21, 2023.
(Image credit: NOAA)

“Reaching this interagency agreement will lead to action to improve space weather predictions and predictions,” said Ken Graham, director of NOAA's National Weather Service, who signed the memorandum of understanding. “We have a common goal of enhancing our nation's preparedness for space weather, and this can only happen through better coordination and expansion of existing efforts to improve space weather observations, research and modeling.”

The absence of a formal interagency process for transitioning from space weather research to operations and from operations to research has long been recognized as a critical gap in developing the nation's capacity to improve space weather forecasts and warnings. This agreement provides a structure through which NOAA, NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of the Air Force (DAF) can coordinate and collaborate on space weather research, from operations to research. This involves working together to move capabilities – such as models, observations, forecasting applications, techniques and technology – from research to operations. It also means providing feedback, sharing data and operational information about the impacts of space weather on infrastructure and acknowledging them.

“Enhancing cooperation and coordination across the federal government in transitioning space weather research to operations is critical to minimizing and mitigating the potential consequences of space weather events, and supporting the growing commercial space enterprise,” said Stephen Volz, director of satellites and information at NOAA. . service.

The need for a framework was identified by the White House Space Weather Operations, Research, and Mitigation Subcommittee. It has been identified as a critical gap in the nation's ability to improve space weather forecasts and warnings to support our important federal space activities as well as the rapidly expanding commercial space economy. To fill the gap, the Promoting Space Weather Research and Observation to Improve Forecasting of Tomorrow (PROSWIFT) Act (Public Law No. 116-181, October 2020) directs federal agencies to develop formal mechanisms for transferring space weather research models and capabilities to operations.

NOAA's Space Weather Observatory Office develops and deploys advanced operational satellite systems that monitor space weather and protect society. The Space Weather Follow-On is NOAA's environmental satellite program that collects space weather measurements in order to predict and minimize the impacts of space weather here on Earth.

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center protects the community with actionable space weather information. It is the official civilian source for space weather forecasts, watches, warnings, alerts and impacts. Their forecasts inform electric grid operators, satellite operators, airlines and others about the potential impacts of space weather so they can take action and protect infrastructure and the public. Visit www.spaceweather.gov for updates.



Maureen O'Leary, NOAA Communications, maureen.oleary@noaa.gov

(tags for translation)Weather

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