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NOAA LAUNCHES SPACE WEATHER WEEK 2005

NOAA image of a huge solar flare being unleashed from the surface of the sun.April 4, 2005 ó Space weather forecasters and researchers, as well as industry analysts affected by space weather from around the globe, will converge in Colorado for the launch of this year's Space Weather Week. The four-day conference runs April 5-8 in Broomfield, Colo. (Click undated NOAA image for larger view of a huge solar flare being unleashed from the surface of the sun. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Please credit “NOAA.”)

"Space weather affects us all," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "Space weather affects people living and equipment in space as well as those on Earth. A unique and valuable aspect of Space Weather Week is the merging of research and operations."

Researchers funded by NASA, National Science Foundation, Defense Department and numerous international organizations attend Space Weather Week to describe recent advances in numerical modeling, data assimilation and environmental measurements. The presentations and discussions at Space Weather Week focus on identifying the highest priority needs for operational services that can guide future research and on identifying new high-value capabilities that can be transitioned into operations.

Space Weather Week 2005 includes sessions and meetings on space exploration and necessary space weather support; the radiation environment near Earth; effects of space weather on navigation and communication systems, ground-induced currents; airline issues; agency activities; vendors; the state-of-the-art research models and data; the weather-space weather connection, and much more.

This year's conference will focus on the recent solar and geomagnetic activity and will cover specific space weather impacts and scientific understanding of this activity. "Impacts of solar activity on Earth's power systems and spacecraft operations underscore the importance for continued research and monitoring of space weather," said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of the NOAA National Weather Service.

Many distinguished guest speakers will discuss the difficulties and challenges that space weather presents for current and future initiatives. Cary Zeitlin, the Principal Investigator for the MARIE instrument on the Mars Odyssey will talk about space weather observations at Mars. Larry Townsend, team leader for a radiation instrument onboard the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, will discuss space radiation protection for humans on the moon and on Mars. Closer to Earth, representatives from major U.S. airlines will talk about recent difficulties on polar routes during the intense January 2005 radiation storm.

The "Space Weather - Atmosphere Connection" session is expected to garner much attention, with presentations on solar radiation storm impacts on Ozone, and space weather effects on tropospheric weather and climate. Chris Balch of the NOAA Space Environment Center, will present details on the profound impact of the October 2003 geomagnetic storms on the South African electrical grid transformers. These presentations represent the diverse nature of the space weather user community and are just a few of the 2005 Space Weather Week's more than 50 oral presentations and poster presentations.

The Space Weather Week 2005 activities began on April 3 as SEC hosts a day-long meeting of the International Space Environment Services group, a consortium of 11 member nations. The ISES organization facilitates near-real-time international monitoring and prediction of the space environment. On April 4, NOAA personnel will participate in a meeting of the international aviation community to address space weather and aviation issues. On the afternoon of April 4, NOAA/SEC staff will host a special space weather tutorial session that will include several lectures on space weather from its source on the sun to its impact on Earth.

Space Weather Week is co-sponsored by the NOAA Space Environment Center, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, the National Science Foundation Division of Atmospheric Science, and NASA's Earth-Sun System Division.

The NOAA Space Environment Center is home to the nation's early warning system for solar activities that directly affect people and equipment on Earth and in space. SEC's 24 hour-a-day, 7 days-a-week operations are critical in protecting space and ground-based assets. Through the SEC, NOAA and the U.S. Air Force jointly operate the space weather operations center that continuously monitors, analyzes and forecasts the environment between the sun and Earth. In addition to the data gathered from NOAA and NASA satellites, the center receives real-time solar and geophysical information from ground-based observatories around the world. SEC is the World Warning Agency of the International Space Environment Services. NOAA space weather forecasters use the data to predict solar and geomagnetic activity and issue worldwide alerts of extreme events.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nationís coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Space Environment Center

NOAA Solar and Space Page

Media Contact:
Carmeyia Gillis, NOAA Space Environment Center, (301) 763-8000 ext. 7163