Space Weather: From Solar Origins to Risks and Hazards Evolving in Time

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
December 23, 2022
Filed under ,
Space Weather: From Solar Origins to Risks and Hazards Evolving in Time
space weather

Space Weather is the portion of space physics that has a direct effect on humankind. Space Weather is an old branch of space physics that originates back to 1808 with the publication of a paper by the great naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (von Humboldt, 1808).

Space Weather is currently experiencing explosive growth, because its effects on human technologies have become more and more diverse. Space Weather is due to the variability of solar processes that cause interplanetary, magnetospheric, ionospheric, atmospheric and ground level effects. Space Weather can at times have strong impacts on technological systems and human health. The threats and risks are not hypothetical, and in the event of extreme Space Weather events the consequences could be quite severe for humankind.

The purpose of the review is to give a brief overall view of the full chain of physical processes responsible for Space Weather risks and hazards, tracing them from solar origins to effects and impacts in interplanetary space, in the Earth’s magnetosphere and ionosphere and at the ground. The paper shows that the risks associated with Space Weather have not been constant over time; they have evolved as our society becomes more and more technologically advanced.

The paper begins with a brief introduction to the Carrington event. Next, the descriptions of the strongest known Space Weather processes are reviewed. The concepts of geomagnetic storms and substorms are briefly introduced. The main effects/impacts of Space Weather are also considered, including geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) which are thought to cause power outages. The effects of radiation on avionics and human health, ionospheric effects and impacts, and thermosphere effects and satellite drag will also be discussed. Finally, we will discuss the current challenges of Space Weather forecasting and examine some of the worst-case scenarios.

Natalia Buzulukova (1 and 2), Bruce Tsurutani (3) ((1) NASA GSFC, Heliophysics Division, Geospace Physics Laboratory, Greenbelt, MD, USA, (2) University of Maryland, Department of Astronomy, College Park, MD, USA, (3) Heliospheric Physics and Astrophysics Section, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA)

Comments: Review article, 4 figures
Subjects: Space Physics (; Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR); Geophysics (physics.geo-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:2212.11504 [] (or arXiv:2212.11504v1 [] for this version)
Journal reference: Front. Astron. Space Sci., 22 December 2022, Sec. Space Physics
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Submission history
From: Natalia Buzulukova
[v1] Thu, 22 Dec 2022 06:31:54 UTC (2,326 KB)

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