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Title: Understanding space weather to shield society: A global road map for 2015-2025 commissioned by COSPAR and ILWS
Author: Carolus J. Schrijver, Kirsti Kauristie, Alan D. Aylward, Clezio M. Denardini, Sarah E. Gibson, Alexi Glover, Nat Gopalswamy, Manuel Grande, Mike Hapgood, Daniel Heynderickx, Norbert Jakowski, Vladimir V. Kalegaev, Giovanni Lapenta, Jon A. Linker, Siqing Liu, Cristina H. Mandrini, Ian R. Mann, Tsutomu Nagatsuma, Dibyendu Nandi, Takahiro Obara, T. Paul O'Brien, Terrance Onsager, Hermann J. Opgenoorth, Michael Terkildsen, Cesar E. Valladares, Nicole Vilmer

There is a growing appreciation that the environmental conditions that we call space weather impact the technological infrastructure that powers the coupled economies around the world. With that comes the need to better shield society against space weather by improving forecasts, environmental specifications, and infrastructure design. [...] advanced understanding of space weather requires a coordinated international approach to effectively provide awareness of the processes within the Sun-Earth system through observation-driven models. This roadmap prioritizes the scientific focus areas and research infrastructure that are needed to significantly advance our understanding of space weather of all intensities and of its implications for society. Advancement of the existing system observatory through the addition of small to moderate state-of-the-art capabilities designed to fill observational gaps will enable significant advances. Such a strategy requires urgent action: key instrumentation needs to be sustained, and action needs to be taken before core capabilities are lost in the aging ensemble. We recommend advances through priority focus (1) on observation-based modelling throughout the Sun-Earth system, (2) on forecasts more than 12 hrs ahead of the magnetic structure of incoming coronal mass ejections, (3) on understanding the geospace response to variable solar-wind stresses that lead to intense geomagnetically-induced currents and ionospheric and radiation storms, and (4) on developing a comprehensive specification of space climate, including the characterization of extreme space storms to guide resilient and robust engineering of technological infrastructures. The roadmap clusters its implementation recommendations by formulating three action pathways, and outlines needed instrumentation and research programs and infrastructure for each of these. [...]

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Arctic probe into solar storm sat-nav disruption

Scientists in the Arctic have launched an urgent investigation into how solar storms can disrupt sat-nav.
Studies have revealed how space weather can cut the accuracy of GPS by tens of metres.
Flares from the Sun interact with the upper atmosphere and can distort the signals from global positioning satellites.

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System could warn of solar storms

A warning system with the potential to protect against the devastating and costly effects of a massive solar storm could be on the horizon.
That's according to research published in the journal Astroparticle Physics.

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Rising plasma offers clues to sun storms

Doppler measurements that help track storms on Earth may also be useful for understanding storms on the sun.
A Rice University astrophysicist is part of an international team that combined Doppler techniques with images and data from a space-based telescope to observe, for the first time, loops of 1,800,000-degree Fahrenheit plasma flowing up from the sun's surface at more than 12 miles per second.
The loops, rooted in active regions near sunspots and guided by the sun's magnetic field, arch over the sun and may be the first signs of trouble spots, where plasma undergoes "impulsive heating," according to the researchers. They expect their findings will help scientists understand the genesis of solar flares and coronal mass ejections - solar storms - that threaten satellites orbiting Earth and power transmission grids on the ground.

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 Prepare for the coming space weather storm

"We should prepare for a space weather event that might happen only once in 1,000 years".

One of the arguments put forward by Professor Mike Hapgood, chair of an expert group advising the government on space weather risks, in a comment piece for this week's Nature (Thursday 19 April 2012).
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Title: Correlations between CME parameters and sunspot activity
Authors: Z. L. Du

Smoothed monthly mean coronal mass ejection (CME) parameters (speed, acceleration, central position angle, angular width, mass and kinetic energy) for Cycle 23 are cross-analysed, showing a high correlation between most of them. The CME acceleration (a) is found to be highly correlated with the reciprocal of its mass (M), with a correlation coefficient r = 0:899. The force (Ma) to drive a CME is found to be well anti-correlated with the sunspot number (Rz), r = -0.750. The relationships between CME parameters and Rz can be well described by an integral response model with a decay time scale of about 11 months. The correlation coefficients of CME parameters with the reconstructed series based on this model (r1 = 0.886) are higher than the linear correlation coefficients of the parameters with Rz (r0 = 0.830). If a double decay integral response model is used (with two decay time scales of about 6 and 60 months), the correlations between CME parameters and Rz improve (r2 = 0.906). The time delays between CME parameters with respect to Rz are also well predicted by this model (19/22 = 86%); the average time delays are 19 months for the reconstructed and 22 months for the original time series. The model implies that CMEs are related to the accumulation of solar magnetic energy. The relationships found can help to understand the mechanisms at work during the solar cycle.

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NASA Hosts News Briefing About Tracking Space Weather Events
 
NASA will host a news briefing at 2 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Aug. 18, to discuss new details about the structure of solar storms and the impact they have on Earth. The new information comes from NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, spacecraft and other NASA probes.
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U.N. to upgrade "space weather" forecasts

A U.N. plan to upgrade "space weather" forecasts can help the world cope with solar storms that might wreak up to $2 trillion in damage if the sun repeated a giant flare of 1859, experts said.
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New tools to tackle a solar data storm

So great is the wealth of data about the Sun now being sent back by space missions such as SOHO, STEREO and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) that scientists back on Earth can struggle to keep pace. To combat this data overload, scientists from the Visual Computer Centre at Bradford University are developing advanced imaging tools to help scientists visualise what's happening at the Sun, make sense of the data and predict the extreme solar activities that could affect our life here on Earth. Dr Rami Qahwaji will present the tools at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting at Llandudno on Tuesday and Wednesday, 19th and 20th April.
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You could have five hours' worth of tanning in five minutes if caught up in radiation from a solar flare, four of which hit Earth this week, with many more expected for the next three years.
The Southern African Space Weather Centre (SASWC) based in Hermanus has warned people to take precautions when outside.

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