26 Oct 2011
Space-Weather Awareness event explores the road from understanding to action
The Space Weather Awareness Dialogue, a conference co-organized by the JRC and Directorate –General Enterprise and Industry, was held on 25-26th October 2011 in Brussels. Key stakeholders from the public and private sectors discussed the potential impact of extreme space weather events on modern technological infrastructures in space and on the ground.
The main interest of high-level representatives from industry, infrastructure operators, governments and research organisations was to identify related scientific, operational and policy challenges for disaster prevention, preparedness and response, risk mitigation but also to make recommendations for concrete actions to protect susceptible infrastructures. The conference underlined the need for increased coordination between stakeholders – promoted by the JRC and demanded by participants – identifying better the need for scientific support in this area, triggering respective research, awareness, mitigation plans and protection measures in many different industry sectors.
The event was structured into six sessions which presented more than 40 panellists over the two day programme. The first day featured an introduction to the space weather phenomena and geomagnetic storms, as well as panel discussions on the impact of solar activity on ground and space-based infrastructures and services. The sessions of the second day addressed the challenges of forecasting the severity, time of impact and geographical coverage of space weather events and subsequently the preparedness and management of possible damages to infrastructure operators and public services. The final session focused on establishing a roadmap tracing the route from awareness to action at EU policy level and beyond.
Besides EU and Member States policymakers and experts, the Dialogue attracted - as panellists - senior officials from the NASA Ames Research Center, the World Meteorological Organisation and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).