Plenary - Developing societal resilience against space weather

Mike Hapgood, Terry Onsager
Monday 18/11, 16:30 - 18:00

The space weather community has traditionally focused efforts on the operators of technologies at risk from space weather. However, it is now clear that space weather is also an issue of direct interest to governments because many of the technologies impacted by space weather support critical national infrastructures such as power, aviation, satellite timing and location. A number of countries are already integrating space weather into their analysis and planning of national resilience against natural hazards. There is also growing interest at international levels, e.g. through the recent OECD Future Threats study. It is timely to hold a session at ESWW that will simulate stronger links between the space weather and emergency planning communities. A dialogue between these communities will raise awareness of space weather amongst emergency planners, and of modern emergency planning practice among the space weather community. The latter is important, to show how space weather will benefit from integration into an all-hazards approach to resilience and how the space weather community can learn from good practice concerning other natural hazards. This session will engage governmental risk managers and policymakers, as well as the space weather expert community and end users in industry, and encourage a dialogue between all these groups.

Oral contributions

Seq   Time   Title
1    16:30   The Dutch National Safety & Security Strategy: Consequences of Satellite disruption due to solar storm
Talk by a NCTV representative 
2   16:48   Risk Preparedness and Operational Mitigation in the UK
Felton, C.1; Gibbs, Mark2
1UK Cabinet Office, UNITED KINGDOM;

The UK presentation will discuss how the risk presented by severe space weather was first recognised in the UK and how it fits with the UK's overall approach to risk assessment. This will focus on how the UK's existing risk identification system, the National Risk Assessment, has been used to assess the UK's vulnerability and instigate the necessary preparedness planning and how preparation for a severe space weather incident is consistent with the way in which we prepare for other high impact natural hazards. The presentation will also set out how the UK's work has been discussed and compared with that of other countries' and how we are seeking to design an international approach to planning for this risk. Next, it will describe how a space weather warning service has been implemented within the Met Office's existing operational forecast centre, how warnings of severe space weather have been integrated within Government's existing warning systems and how the UK is working with international partners (especially the US) to develop our warning systems. There will be a description of how the process has already and will in the future be exercised within the UK to ensure effectiveness of the planning and preparedness and also exercised with key international partners. Finally, we will highlight the gaps in our current emergency planning knowledge and the ways in which the scientific community can help us to fill these gaps.

3   17:06 Invited  Resilience in Basic Functions when Disaster Hits Risk Governance in Norway
Thomassen, Erik
Directorate for Civil Protection, NORWAY

The presentation focuses on the Norwegian approach to Risk Governance, focusing on the annual National Risk Assessment which includes a Space Weather scenario and identification of deliveries and services basic to society.

From a Government perspective resilience in infrastructures and basic functions can only be achieved through others. Hence governance is the key issue, and systemizing the use of standard government tools the only applicable strategy.

The presentation will focus on governance and on processes, regulations and designations needed to establish a risk management system for critical infrastructures and basic societal functions on a strategic level. The system is in progress, but it will still be a few years before it is implemented on a broad scale.

The Norwegian approach is based on recognizing the fact that what really matters is the functionality of the society; maintaining services which are crucial in everyday life or basic for the security of the society as a whole. Such functions must plan to be operational no matter what might occur.

The value of infrastructures lies in their functionality. Infrastructures are in many cases important as carriers of input factors for services vital to the population and the society, but intact infrastructures don`t necessarily guarantee that the services they should be carrying may be delivered. There might be other problems, such as lack of staff, competence or important inputs to the production. And the other way around: a breakdown in one important infrastructure service doesnt necessarily mean that other services vital to the society need to go down with it. Building resilience is in many cases building redundancy.

The approach is focusing on resilience in enterprises responsible for the deliveries of vital importance to the society. The authorities´ role is to clarify responsibility and ensure that owners and operators of critical infrastructures and basic societal functions take their responsibility seriously. From a Government point of view identifying and designating the vital deliveries in the society will be of crucial importance. To put governance into practice you need to know who to address and more or less precisely what you want them to follow up.

However, nobody can guarantee full functionality of infrastructures or services at all times. Enterprises must take into account the possibility of deficiencies in deliveries from sub-contractors and infrastructure services they are critically dependent of and plan for continuity in their vital services no matter what happens.

The National Risk Assessment (NRA), a public document published annually, offers authorities and enterprises a backdrop for planning. The NRA of 2013 gives an overview of disaster risk in Norway and analyzes 17 specific scenarios ranging from diseases and landslides to terrorism and war-like situations. A severe Solar Storm is one of the scenarios analyzed.

Authorities and enterprises are expected to take these 17 scenarios into consideration when they are planning for continuity in their basic services. In addition to this they should analyze other unlikely but still possible scenarios of importance for their sector or industry. The point is to identify and reduce vulnerabilities.

A third pillar in this system of Risk Governance is audits and reviews. Norway is the only country in Europe where ministries and subordinated agencies are subject to audits from the contingency authorities. The audits focus on resilience in basic societal functions, business continuity and contingency planning, exercises etc.

4   17:24   Building Capacity for Preparedness
Andersson, E.
Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, SWEDEN

The Swedish emergency preparedness system is primarily built on the principle of responsibility, which means that whoever is responsible for an activity under normal conditions should maintain that corresponding responsibility, as well as initiating cross-sectoral cooperation, during major emergencies. Our system is therefore based on a close cooperation between sectors and the continuous building of networks with relevant public and private stakeholders, and with scientists and experts. MSB's work to improve the management of space weather impacts, involves a continuing communication with the stakeholders about the risk and about response and recovery efforts. It is through exchange of knowledge and trust that we further enhance cross-sectoral coordination, which is an important tool when dealing with the cascading effects of a space weather event. Sweden is, as many other countries, in the process of improving our preparedness in regards of space weather events by integrating the risk into an all-hazards approach. But it is still a fragile system that is dependent on a few people's expertise. Preparedness requires a common purpose and a common capacity, which can be achieved by synchronizing with our international partners for cooperation, networking and exchange of information. There are existing networks of scientists, but how can we build a working level network of stakeholder organizations?

5   17:42   International Space Weather Service Coordination during Extreme Events
Lafeuille, J.; Onsager, T.; Sharma, M.
US Department of State, UNITED STATES

Societal resilience against space weather requires a close collaboration among emergency managers and space weather service providers. Effective planning and response to extreme space weather will rely on accurate and coordinated information provided by the forecast centers and a close relationship with emergency managers. This presentation will describe efforts underway to identify the actions that must be taken by the space weather service providers to ensure that coordinated information is available to support the actions of emergency managers. This could include establishing criteria for joint procedures based on disturbance level, defining a standard set of actions, and ensuring effective coordination. As this effort among the service providers is progressing, ongoing interactions with research activities to improve services and emergency managers to define targeted services will be required.


Seq   Title
1   Interactive Web Application for Visualization of Geomagnetically Induced Currents
Katkalov, Juri1; Wik, Magnus2; Viljanen, Ari3
1Polar Geophysical Institute, RUSSIAN FEDERATION;
2NeuroSpace, SWEDEN;

We have developed a web application for visualization of geomagnetic fields and their time derivatives, modelled geoelectric fields, and modelled geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) on a geographical map. This interactive tool was created as a part of the EU/FP7 EURISGIC project to demonstrate the occurrence of GIC in the European prototype power grid model in 1996-2008. The user-friendly server provides a starting point for a further development for operational or educational use by power companies, universities, authorities and civil contingency agencies.

2   The EURISGIC Forecast Service
Wintoft, Peter1; Wik, Magnus2; Pulkkinen, Antti3; Chigomezyo, Ngwira4; Viljanen, Ari5; Clarke, Ellen6; Thomson, Alan6
1Swedish Institute of Space Physics, SWEDEN;
2Neurospace, SWEDEN;
4Catholic University of America & NASA GSFC, UNITED STATES;
5Finnish Meteorological Institute, FINLAND;
6British Geological Survey, UNITED KINGDOM

One of the goals with the EU/FP7 EURISGIC project is to provide short-term realtime forecasts of geomagnetic and geoelectric fields covering Europe. The models are driven by ACE solar wind data and provide approximately 30 minute forecast of the time derivate of the geomagnetic field and the electric field at several locations in Europe. The forecasts are also compared with real time geomagnetic data from a number of stations. Two different types of forecast models have been implemented: empirical models based on neural networks and the Solar Shield model based on MHD simulations. The observed and forecast data are provided on a dynamic web page that shows the observed or forecast data selected by the user. The provided service could be used by power grid operators and emergency agencies as a tool to monitor current and short-term forecast of disturbances related to geomagnetically induced currents.

3   Solar Activity and Transformer Failures in Greece (3): New Results on non Linear Regression Analysis
Zois, Ioannis

We want to assess the effects of solar activity onto large transformers in the Greek National Electric Grid. For short term effects we present specific cases of transformer failures during days of storm (namely days with Dst less or equal to -100) and we briefly analyze them. For long term effects we use statistical and analytic methods. During the 8th European Space Weather Week linear regression and correlation was applied. In the 9th European Space Weather Week last year we presented our results on non linear regression analysis (types of functions used include polynomials, exp, log, hyp etc). Now we have some further new results: (1.) We try to push polynomial regression to the limit, namely increase the polynomial degree up to the maximum value for which the least squares method can be successfully applied (i.e. the coefficients can be determined-namely one does not have an over-constrained or over-determined system, that the coefficients are unique and without singularities, Runge's phenomenon appearing etc).
(2.) Based on the Stone-Weierstrass theorem in functional analysis, we try to use another, more elaborate unital subalgebra of C([a,b],R) which separates points in [a,b], like the algebra of orthogonal polynomials (Gegenbauer algebras) instead of the algebra of ordinary (raw) polynomials (see for example Zois 2009 and Zois 2010). We used the code written in R (see Chambers & Hastie 1992 and Kennedy & Gentle 1980). However in order to do that, one has to prove that this new algebra satisfies the Stone Weierstrass theorem and this required the use of some heavy mathematical machinery (like K-Theory). Our task was highly rewarding: We get coefficients of determination as high as 0.89 (compared to about 0.5 using ordinary polynomials) when we use the annual number of days with Dst less or equal to -40 as a long term, earth affecting solar activity index.