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Space Weather Impacts on Critical Infrastructure. Bob Rutledge NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center Boulder, Colorado September 19 th , 2012. Oregon Emergency Management Association Annual Conference. Outline. The Sun/Solar Cycle Sequence of Events NOAA Space Weather Scales/Impacts

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Space Weather Impacts on Critical Infrastructure


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    1. Space Weather Impacts on Critical Infrastructure Bob Rutledge NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center Boulder, Colorado September 19th, 2012 Oregon Emergency Management Association Annual Conference

    2. Outline • The Sun/Solar Cycle • Sequence of Events • NOAA Space Weather Scales/Impacts • Solar Flares (R Scale) • Radiation Storms (S Scale) • Geomagnetic Storms (G Scale) • Changing Technologies/Customers • Information Dissemination/Resources • Near-term Changes

    3. What is space weather? Space weather refers to the variable conditions on the Sun and in the space environment that can influence the performance and reliability of space and ground­based technological systems, as well as endanger human health. Ionosphere Electromagnetic Radiation Energetic Charged Particles Magnetosphere

    4. Sunspots and the Solar Cycle The Sun at Solar Maximum The Sun Today ~27 day full rotation

    5. Solar Cycle Predictions • Cycle 23 began in May 1996 • Peak in April 2000 with SSN = 120 • Solar Minimum in December 2008 • Solar Cycle 24 Underway

    6. Large geomagnetic storms can occur with smaller cycles • The largest geomagnetic storms on record occurred • during smaller than average cycles (no causality implied) 1859 Storm 1921 Storm

    7. Sequence of Events Conditions are Favorable for Activity (Probabilistic Forecasts) Event Occurs Coronal Observations

    8. Sequence of Events Event Onset/ Ground-Based Observation Analysis and Prediction ACE Observation

    9. NOAA Space Weather Scales Radiation Storms Geomagnetic Storms http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/ Radio Blackouts

    10. Radio Blackouts (R Scale)

    11. Solar Radiation Storm (S Scale)

    12. Geomagnetic Storms (G Scale)

    13. Event-Driven Product Definitions • Watches; The conditions are favorable for occurrence • Warnings; disturbances that are imminent, expected in the near future with high probability • Alerts; observed conditions meeting or exceeding thresholds

    14. Solar Flares (Radio Blackouts – R Scale) • Arrival: 8 minutes, photons • Duration: Minutes to 3 hours • Daylight-side impacts • Probabilistic 1, 2, 3-day forecasts • Alerts for exceeding R2 (only) • Summary messages post-event

    15. Solar Flare (Radio Burst) Impact on GPS – 6 Dec 2006 ~10 mins

    16. Solar Radiation Storms (S Scale) • Arrival: 10’s of minutes to several hours • Duration: hours to days • Short-term warnings pre-onset • Alert for threshold crossing • Summary post-event

    17. March 2012 Impacts on Aviation Comms 7 March 2012: INCERFA was issued for Air Canada 003 (Vancouver to Tokyo) until communications were established with the flight. (INCERFA is issued when there is uncertainty as to the safety of an aircraft and its occupants.) 6-7 March 2012: “Severe impact at 2249Z initially affecting CWP [Central West Pacific] but by 2400Z, impact peaked and was affecting all communications. 25 ATC messages were delayed.” - Air Traffic Communications

    18. Forecasting Challenges Decisional Support Call Region 1429 Courtesy of SDO (NASA) and the AIA consortium. Image courtesy of Mike Stills/United Airlines

    19. Energy/Emergency Management Challenges Should emergency managers in Florida be worried about this storm? "UPDATE 1 03/07/2012 @ 0943 EST - LightSquared is currently experiencing a satellite network outage over our SkyTerra 1 satellite. Preliminary investigation reveals that a solar event has created an automatic system safeguard as a measure to protect the satellite. The recovery procedures are underway which could take from 4 to 24 hours.  As soon as we know more, we will provide you with updates. Ground communication with the satellite is intact. Engineers, along with partners at Boeing and Telesat are engaged in resolving the issue. We will provide additional updates as the situation progresses.“"UPDATE 9 03/09/2012 @ 0945 hours EST: -  Per the previous communication LightSquared continues to work the key procedures to restore Skyterra 1 to service.  Based on LightSquared's current progress they now estimate that they will return customers to service by 1200 EST (1600 UTC) on Sunday.  LightSquared understands that this is a significant extension of the previous timeline estimate.  However there are technical reasons why the schedule has been adjusted. LightSquared understands that this delay of the previous timeline will cause concern for customers and end users.  However, the level of commands involved in the overall restoral procedure have taken longer than originally anticipated.  The overall restoral procedure required a fundamental reboot of Skyterra 1"

    20. Geomagnetic Storms (G Scale) • Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) create geomagnetic storms • Arrival: ~18 – 96 hours • Duration: Hours to a day or two • Creates ionospheric storms, geomagnetically induced currents, aurora • 1-2 Day watch products based on coronagraph observations and modeling • Short-term (15 -60 min) warnings based on measurement at ACE spacecraft

    21. GPS IMPACT – U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) • Intense geomagnetic and ionosphere storms occur on 29 and 30 Oct, 2003 • Acceptable vertical error limits were exceeded for 15 and 11-hour periods METERS

    22. Impacts on Electric Power Grid • CME impacts Earth’s magnetic field • Fluctuations generate electric fields on • Earth. These geomagnetically induced • currents (GIC) can flow into power lines • and transformers • Leads to transformer • saturation and • over-heating, voltage • drops, transformer • damage, or protective • device trips Transformer winding failure Transformer exit-lead overheating

    23. High Impact/Low Frequency Threat… Media Release: Loss of Reactive Power, Voltage Instability Most Likely Outcome from GMD, NERC Report Finds February 29, 2012 ATLANTA – Loss of reactive power is the most likely outcome from a severe solar storm centered over North America, a report released by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) finds. Significant losses of reactive power could lead to voltage instability and, if not identified and managed appropriately, power system voltage collapse could occur….. …but is it a 100 year storm…200 year…?

    24. SWPC Product Distribution WECC Reliability Coordinator, Vancouver Midwest ISO, St. Paul NYISO WECC Loveland, CO SWPC G2 Alerts and Warning dissemination

    25. Customer Response Power Grid • Discontinue non-critical maintenance work • and restore out-of-service transmission lines, • wherever possible. • Bring equipment online to provide additional reactive power • reserves. • • Increase dynamic reactive reserves by adjustment of voltage • schedules or other methods. • • Reduce power transfers to increase available transfer capability • and system reactive power reserves. • • Decrease loading on susceptible transformers through • reconfiguration of transmission and re-dispatching of generation.

    26. Space Weather Event Alert & Notification – FEMA • Directly or indirectly cause or exacerbate a major disaster or emergency. • Interfere with or seriously degrade FEMA’s response & recovery • capability. Notification / Action S4-S5 Radiation Storms G4-G5 Geomagnetic Storms

    27. Space Weather Impacts are Global: October 2003 Numerous Polar flights rerouted Failures of GPS based positioning NOTAM Route restrictions due to geomagnetic storm impact on communications Solar cell damage on ESA’s Smart-1 satellite Loss of Japan’s ADEOS II satellite Nuclear power plants reduced power due to geomagnetic storm SatComm and HF outages Widespread HF outage over African continent Numerous anomalies on FedSat and other Australian satellites Oilfield services company reported several cases of survey Instrument Interference around world C.R. Luigs drill ship, loses GPS, resorts to backup systems Transformer damage SatComm and HF outages Over 130 hours of HF communication blackout in Anarctic

    28. Changing Customer Base • Space Weather user groups continue to change and new uses emerge…. • Commercial Aviation • Commercial Space • Satellite-based Communication • Application of GPS/GNSS • Power Generation and Transmission • Emerging Technologies and Applications…

    29. Application of GPS/GNSS • Global Positioning System/Global Navigation Satellite System use pervasive for positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) applications • Technology has become ingrained in day-to-day life • As an example, satellite positioning has become an integral part of the multi- $Billion agricultural industry • Some applications have emerged during quiet space weather conditions Image credit John Deere Image credit John Deere

    30. Power Generation and Transmission • Analysis of threat to power generation and distribution is in work but the system is not static • Global generation and transmission demand is growing • Higher voltage (lower impedance), longer lines being brought into service • Transformer risks are better understood and GIC risk is design dependent, but long latency in system turnover • Space weather resilience as design criteria could play a role in long-term system sustainability

    31. Emerging Technologies and Applications… • Technology developments and deployments may have space weather vulnerabilities that aren’t immediately apparent… • Many emerging technologies with some dependence on GPS/GNSS or even Earth’s magnetic field • In the microelectronics industry, feature sizes continue to come down (satellites) • As one example, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle use has seen tremendous growth Decisional Support Call Region 1429

    32. As technology progresses, the overall vulnerability to space weather is increasing… The need for better products, services, and prediction is on the rise.

    33. Information Dissemination • Phone Contact for Critical Stakeholders: NASA, Commercial Airlines, Power Generation and Distribution, FEMA, etc. • Product Subscription Service: Email-based, no cost subscription service open to all (first thing to go out) • Website: Data, products, and models all available there. Tops News heading that will provide updates for elevated space weather • Facebook: Active updates and education, secondary to official product dissemination means

    34. Near-term Changes • Website overhaul underway • New look and feel, modern content management system • More user-friendly, updated content • Updated forecast products • Two forecasts per day with option for out-of-cycle, activity-driven updates • Forecast discussion with plain-language synopsis and explanation of rationale • Auroral model transition to operations (Ovation Prime) • Continued improvement of geomagnetic storm products showing better nowcasts of regional disturbance information

    35. Emergency Manager Perspectives Interest and Appropriate Product Subscriptions Will Vary Based on the Technologies or Systems in Use: • Solar Flare - Radio Blackout • HF/Ham Radio Community (R-Scale Alert – R2, D-RAP Product) • Occasional, Short-Lived Disruption to GPS • Solar Radiation Storms • Polar Aviation (S-Scale Alerts & Warnings, D-RAP Product) • Satellite Operations • Geomagnetic Storms • Power Grid Operations (G-Scale AWW, G3 or Greater, Primarily) • GPS Availability and Accuracy (G-Scale AWW, US-TEC Product) Take What You Read and Hear With a Grain of Salt – When It’s Big, We’ll Be the First to Say So…

    36. NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center Boulder, Colorado www.spaceweather.gov

    37. Thank You robert.rutledge@noaa.gov Presentation @ ftp://helios.swpc.noaa.gov/pub/rutledge

    38. The Northern Lights Scientific Names: Aurora Borealis (Northern Hemisphere) Aurora Australis (Southern Hemisphere) The aurora are caused by excitation of oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the upper atmosphere Slide Credit – Dan Miller, NWS, Duluth

    39. The Auroral Ovals Satellite view of the southern lights (Aurora Australis) Slide Credit – Dan Miller, NWS, Duluth

    40. What Determines the Color? Reconnection in the magnetotail causes particles to be accelerated back toward the poles, which interact with the atmosphere, causing atomic oxygen and nitrogen to be excited. As the molecules return to their ground states, they release visible light which we see as the aurora. This is a similar process to a neon sign. Green: oxygen, up to 150 miles in altitude Red : oxygen, above 150 miles in altitude Blue: nitrogen, up to 60 miles in altitude Purple/violet: nitrogen, above 60 miles in altitude Slide Credit – Dan Miller, NWS, Duluth