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Space Weather and its Impact on Critical Infrastructure. REVIEW DRAFT 01/23/14. WCM Presentation. Overview Introduction Solar Cycle Space Weather types and impacts Solar Flares (R Scale) Radiation Storms (S Scale) Geomagnetic Storms (G Scale). Customer Base Breakdown

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Space Weather and its Impact on Critical Infrastructure


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    1. Space Weather and its Impact on Critical Infrastructure REVIEW DRAFT 01/23/14 WCM Presentation

    2. Overview • Introduction • Solar Cycle • Space Weather types and impacts • Solar Flares (R Scale) • Radiation Storms (S Scale) • Geomagnetic Storms (G Scale) • Customer Base Breakdown • Alert and Warning Procedures • SWPC Products

    3. The Solar Cycle Solar Maximum Approximate Size of Earth Solar Minimum 2009/04/30

    4. The Solar Cycle THE EVOLVING LANDSCAPE OF CATASTROPHIC MANAGEMENT

    5. 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 5

    6. Where Does Space Weather Come From? But the sun is a violent place. This gives us the 11-year solar cycle. To our eyes, our sun appears calm and peaceful. Its magnetic poles flip every 11 years. North becomes South and South becomes North. Images courtesy of NASA

    7. Where Does Space Weather Come From? Magnetic loops poke through the visible surface of the sun. We see these regions as dark spots or “sunspots.” The Sun rotates at faster at the equator than at the poles; this causes magnetic field lines to twist and evolve. This creates regions of lower temperature. Images courtesy of NASA

    8. Where Does Space Weather Come From? The energy, particles, and plasma create the three types of space weather that we care about. When a magnetic loop snaps, it creates a solar flare, releasing vast amounts of energy, solar particles, and solar plasma. Images courtesy of NASA

    9. 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 ground­-based technological systems, as well as endanger life or health. Ionosphere Electromagnetic Radiation (Solar Flares) Energetic Charged Particles (Solar Radiation Storms) Magnetic Field/Magnetized Plasma (Geomagnetic Storms) Magnetosphere

    10. Space Weather Affects Critical Infrastructure Image credit NASA

    11. NOAA Space Weather Scales Radiation Storms Geomagnetic Storms Radio Blackouts

    12. NOAA Space Weather Scales – R Scale Top 2 Tiers of R-Scale

    13. Solar Flare 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 ALERT: X-ray Flux exceeded M5 Issue Time: 2000 Jul 14 0918 UTC Current X-ray Flux: X2.1Location: N11W04 Region Number: 9077NOAA Scale: R3 - Strong Image from NASA SOHO Satellite

    14. Solar Flare Radio Blackouts – The Impacts HF Radio Absorption Plot Degradation of communication Communications Ground and Space-based GPS Network Radar Image from NASA SOHO Satellite

    15. Aviation Communication Center: 07Sep05 1800Z:   “Solar activity severely impacted all HF comms.  Higher frequencies utilized with little effect.  24 aircraft position reports and NYC ATC messages were relayed via sat-voice between 1040Z and 1939Z.. Severe operational impact.”  NavCanadaATC: “The flare resulted in significant impacts to the network of air traffic control radars in Canada, causing false targets and interference in the N/S direction on scales of approximately 150 miles in distance.” NY Aviation Communications Center

    16. Solar Flare (Radio Burst) Impact on GPS - 6 Dec 2006

    17. NOAA Space Weather Scales – S Scale Top 2 Tiers of S-Scale

    18. Solar Radiation Storms (S Scale) Issue Time: 2003 Oct 28 1000UTC WARNING: Proton 10MeV above 10pfu expectedValid From: 2003 Oct 28 1100 UTCValid To: 2003 Oct 30 1200 UTCPredicted NOAA Scale: S3 - Strong • Arrival: 10’s of minutes to several hours • Duration: hours to days • Short-term warnings pre-onset • Alert for threshold crossing • Summary post-event • Impacts… • Satellite Operations • Aviation (communications and exposure • concerns) • High latitude HF comm outage

    19. Radiation Storms - Aviation Impacts Airlines avoid polar routes during Radiation Storms due to both exposure and communications concerns Low latitude concerns also exist: ALERT: Solar Radiation Alert at Flight Altitudes Conditions Began: 2003 Oct 28 2113 UTC Comment: Satellite measurements indicate unusually high levels of ionizing radiation, coming from the Sun. This may lead to excessive radiation doses to air travelers at Corrected Geomagnetic Latitudes above 35 degrees north, or south. (Federal Aviation Administration)

    20. Radiation Storms - Impacts on Astronauts In addition to aircrews, astronauts are at risk for radiation exposure as well. They do not have the benefit of the Earth’s atmosphere to protect them so NASA receives a briefing from SWPC when planning a spacewalk to ensure the safety of personnel.

    21. Radiation Storms - Satellite Industry Impacts • Satellites may be rendered useless • Memory impacts • Noise in image data • Loss of orientation • Satellite Loss of life • Mitigating actions: • Instruments and/or spacecraft turned off or safed • Maneuver planning • Anomaly assessments • Orbit determination accuracy • Increased monitoring

    22. NOAA Space Weather Scales – G Scale Top 2 Tiers of G-Scale

    23. 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 - 45 min) warnings based on measurement at ACE spacecraft

    24. NASA ACE NOAA DSCOVR (2015) L1 • Geomagnetic Storm Warning issued upon detection of CME at L1 • 15-45 MIN forecast • Geomagnetic Storm Watch issued upon detection of Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME) • 1-3 day forecast

    25. Manned Spaceflight Aircraft Operations Power Grid Operations Geomagnetic Storms - Impacts Impacts from geomagnetic storms are wide-ranging with potentially significant consequences. Satellite Operations GPS Pipelines

    26. 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

    27. Geomagnetic storms - Produce Aurora G2-G3: Northern tier states G4: Mid-latitude states G5: Lower latitude states Horace Smith, Oct 1, 2012, Clinton County, Michigan Shawn Malone, Oct 1, 2012, U.P. Michigan Jennifer Brindley, Sep 30, 2012, Fredonia, WI

    28. What causes the aurora? Increased solar wind speeds cause stress on the night side of the Earth’s magnetic field. This eventually causes the field lines to snap and reorganize, which causes particles to be accelerated back toward the poles. These particles 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, but on a much larger scale. Slide Credit – Dan Miller, NWS, Duluth

    29. Customer Base Breakdown • Space Weather user groups continue to change and new uses emerge…. • Power Generation and Transmission • GPS/GNSS • Commercial Aviation • Commercial Space/Manned Space Flight • Satellite-based Communication • Emerging Technologies and Applications…

    30. Electric Power Grid The vulnerability of the electric power grid is perhaps greatest in the Northeast US, but a severe geomagnetic storm could have significant impacts just about anywhere in the U.S. • Factors for Vulnerability of US grid • Latitude • Geology • Interconnectivity • Proximity to oceans (Credit: K. Turnbull / J. Wild / ESA)

    31. October 31 - Sun storm causes problems for Swedish power system. The solar storm has caused technical glitches in Sweden's power system in the past few days and may be to blame for a blackout that affected 50,000 people on Thursday, October 30. Significant grid problems have occurred… Information Notice No. 90-42: FAILURE OF ELECTRICAL POWER EQUIPMENT DUE TO SOLAR MAGNETIC DISTURBANCES Specific events occurred at the Three Mile Island Unit 1, Hope Creek Unit 1, and Salem Unit 1 nuclear power plants. …inspection of the generator step-up transformer… severe overheating, melted low -voltage service connections in phases A and C, and insulation discoloration in phase B. On September 19, at Salem Unit 2 nuclear power plant, a second solar storm damaged the generator step-up transformer. Sep 1990 Transformer winding failure Transformer exit-lead overheating

    32. “Halloween Storms” Oct 2003 Nuclear plant operators around the Nation respond… U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Power Reactor Status Report, Oct 30, 2003

    33. Space Weather Event Alert & Notification – FEMA Alert Conference Call Notification Action Subscriber Email Alerts S 5 G 5 S 4 G 4 R 5 S 3 G 3 Solar Radiation Storms Geomagnetic Storms R 2 Radio Blackouts S 2 G 2 No notifications recommended at these levels S 1 G 1 FOC – FEMA Operations Center FAOC – FEMA Alternate Operations Center ENS – Emergency Notification System NAWAS – National Warning System WAWAS – Washington Metropolitan Area Warning System

    34. GPS/GNSS Oct 30/1133 UT Oct 30/1729 UT • Space weather accounts for the most • substantial errors experienced by GPS. • Space weather causes GNSS position errors, • or even total loss of lock. • WAAS not usable for over 25 hours on Oct • 29 and Oct 30, 2003 due to space weather. • Impacts on GNSS expected to increase as we • approach the next solar maximum in 2013. Oct 30/2259 UT

    35. Commercial Aviation • Polar: • 11,000+ polar flights in 2013 • HF communication concerns during radiation storms drive flight planning today • Introduction of Iridium will enable communication independent of space weather • Crew and passenger radiation exposure concerns increasing • GNSS/GPS navigation vulnerabilities: • Positioning errors • Denial of service Image courtesy of Mike Stills/United Airlines

    36. Commercial Space/Manned Space Flight • Sub-orbital • Short duration flights • Low altitude, latitude is launch site dependent • Radiation exposure for repeat fliers, crew • Orbital flights • Longer duration, higher altitude • Inclination can be launch site dependent • Specification of near-Earth radiation environment will be needed Image credit Virgin Galactic Image credit SpaceX

    37. 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

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

    39. NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center Boulder, Colorado Space Weather Products and Services • 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 www.spaceweather.gov

    40. SWPC product distribution WECC Reliability Coordinator, Vancouver Midwest ISO, St. Paul NYISO WECC Loveland, CO SWPC G2 Alerts and Warning dissemination

    41. Product Subscription Service

    42. Summary

    43. Extreme Space Weather Has Happened Before • 1847– “Anomalous current” noted on telegraph line between Derby and Birmingham. First recorded impact of space weather on technology. • August 28-29, 1859– Telegraph service disrupted worldwide by geomagnetic superstorm. Then, just four days later. . . . • September 1-2, 1859– Carrington-Hodgson event among the largest solar storms in the last 500 years. Worldwide telegraph service disruption and some reported fires in telegraph stations. • May 16, 1921– The “Great Storm” disrupted telegraph service, caused fires, burned out cables.Storms like this may occur roughly every 100 years. • March 13, 1989– Geomagnetic storm collapsed Quebec power grid in 92 seconds. Northeast U.S. and Midwest power grid came within seconds of collapse. • October 19 – November 7, 2003– “Halloween Storms” interrupted GPS, blacked out High Frequency (HF) radio, forced emergency procedures at nuclear power plants in Canada and the Northeastern United States, and damaged several large electrical power transformers in South Africa. Morse Telegraph Table Photo from www.telegraphlore.com

    44. Technology evolution • Interconnection/Interdependency • Reliance on space-based systems A Nation vulnerable to hazardous space weather – A Nation increasingly reliant on NOAA space weather services

    45. SPACE WEATHER IMPACTS • Electric Power • Aviation • GPS Applications • Satellite Operations • Deep Space Missions • Manned Space Flight

    46. Space Weather Impacts are Global: October 2003 Example 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 SatComm and HF outages Transformer damage Over 130 hours of HF communication blackout in Antarctic

    47. Phenomena Summary/Impacts • Solar Flare Radio Blackout (R Scale): • No advance warning • Effects last for 10’s of minutes to several hours • Impacts High Frequency (HF) communication on the sunlit side of the Earth • First indication significant S and G scale activity may be possible

    48. Phenomena Summary/Impacts • Solar Radiation Storm (S Scale): • Warnings possible on the minutes to hours time scale • Elevated levels can persist for several days • Impacts to the health and operation of satellites and International Space Station operations and crew • Impacts High Frequency communication in the polar regions, affecting commercial airline operations

    49. Phenomena Summary/Impacts • Geomagnetic Storm (G Scale): • Advance notice possible given coronal mass ejection (CME) transit times from Sun to Earth range from just under a day to several days (CMEs being the main driver of significant storms) • In extreme storms, impacts to power grid operations and stability • Impacts to Global Positioning System (GPS) accuracy and availability • Driver of aurora; severe to extreme storms may cause aurora to be visible over most of the lower 48 US states