Terms of Reference

The Mission of the STAC Committee on Space Weather is to advise and serve the AMS in matters related to space weather science, services, education, and impacts. Space weather refers to the variable conditions on the Sun and in the space environment that can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems, as well as endanger life or health. Most space weather occurs because emissions from the Sun influence the space environment around Earth, as well as other planets.

Current space weather predictions are focused primarily on five areas:

  1. solar flares and eruptions impacting communications, radar, and GPS receivers; 
     
  2. radiation storms affecting airlines, astronauts, satellites, and communications; 
     
  3. disturbances in Earth's magnetic field impacting electric power grids, GPS, satellites, and airlines; 
     
  4. atmospheric heating from increased short_wavelength radiation which shortens the lifetime of low_Earth orbiting satellites; and 
     
  5. ionospheric storms which degrade navigation systems, GPS dependent technologies, and high frequency and satellite communications

Research efforts, both nationally and internationally, are underway to gain a better understanding of the causes of space weather and its impacts on the environment, economy, public health and safety, and national security. In addition, increased collaboration between meteorological and space weather communities is showing the benefits of shared data, analysis techniques, and warnings. Commitments to observations, research, and operations will provide benefits to users who can then implement policies to reduce risks and increase cost savings.

Due to our increasing reliance on technologies susceptible to space weather and the demonstrated importance of space weather to society, this Committee promotes activities that further our understanding of this cross-disciplinary science and its practical applications. Areas that require focus include improved modeling and stronger ties between research and operations; continuity of observations; and research on impacts and cost-benefit analyses. Emphasis on education and training is also needed, such as incorporating space weather in meteorology and space physics curricula. In addition, education and outreach activities need to target policy and decision makers in industry and government.

The Committee will: 

  • Raise awareness, encourage, and support efforts relating to space weather within AMS and the broader weather and climate enterprise;
     
  • Provide advice and information to the Council of the AMS on matters concerning space weather and assist in formulating statements and positions on related issues;
     
  • Organize and participate in AMS-sponsored and co-sponsored conferences, symposia, workshops, and sessions to facilitate an exchange of ideas and stimulate space weather research, applications, and services;
     
  • Assist in developing improved linkages between space weather scientists, social scientists, and users of space weather products to facilitate the application of information in decision making and to areas of societal concern; o Interact with AMS committees, other professional societies, and international organizations regarding the space weather enterprise;
     
  • Promote the inclusion of space weather in meteorology curricula; o Nominate deserving individuals for AMS Committees, Awards, and Fellows; and
     
  • Encourage the publication of articles related to space weather research, applications, and societal impacts in scientific journals and popular literature.