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Developing Space Weather products and services in Europe – Preface to the Special Issue on COST Action ES0803
  Developing Space Weather products and services in Europe –Preface to the Special Issue on COST Action ES0803 Anna Belehaki 1,* , Mauro Messerotti 2 , and Maurizio Candidi 3 1  National Observatory of Athens, Institute of Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing,Metaxa and Vas. Pavlou, Palaia Penteli 15236, Greece * Corresponding author: 2 Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Astronomical Observatory of Trieste, Loc. Basovizza n. 302, 34149 Trieste, Italy 3 Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Institute for Astrophysics and Planetology in Space, Via Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, ItalyReceived 13 October 2014 / Accepted 27 October 2014 ABSTRACT COST Action ES0803 ‘‘Developing Space Weather products and services in Europe’’ primarily aimed at forming an interdisci- plinary network among European scientists dealing with different issues relevant to Geospace as well as warning system devel-opers and operators in order to assess existing Space Weather products and recommend new ones. The work that has beenimplemented from 2008 to 2012 resulted in advances in modeling and predicting Space Weather, in recommendations for thevalidation of Space Weather models, in proposals for new Space Weather products and services, and in dissemination, training,and outreach activities.This preface summarizes the most important achievements of this European activity that are detailed in this special issue by thekey scientists who participated in COST Action ES0803. Key words.  Space Weather – modeling – validation – software – services 1. Introduction ‘‘Space Weather’’ as a scientific term became widely used near the end of the 20th century. A definition of the discipline thatwas developed and adopted by the European COSTAction 724states that ‘‘Space Weather is the physical and phenomenolog-ical state of the natural space environments. The associated dis-cipline aims, through observation, monitoring, analysis and modeling, at understanding and predicting the state of thesun, the interplanetary and planetary environments, and thesolar and non-solar driven perturbations that affect them; and also at forecasting and nowcasting the possible impacts on biological and technological systems’’. 1 Research efforts in various countries, including the USmulti-agency National Space Weather Program and severalEuropean initiatives sponsored by the European Space Agency(ESA), the European Commission (EC), and the InternationalSpace Environment Service (ISES), have demonstrated that: d  Adverse Space Weather poses a non-negligible threat tohumans and modern technological systems and assets onthe ground, in the air, and in space; d  Methods to model some aspects of space weather have been developed, although their performance needs to be improved; d  Prediction of the behavior of various Space-Weather-related physical parameters is possible and in some casesit has indeed been achieved. However, for many of these physical parameters the prediction accuracy isinsufficient to allow the transition into reliable opera-tional services and so targeted research and developmentis needed to address this issue.To meet further advances, COST Action ES0803 formed an interdisciplinary network between model developers inEurope, warning system developers, operators, users, and pol-icy makers. Through this network the Action aimed at support-ing further advances for the development of space weather  prediction systems that meet the requirements of the usersand at raising awareness and educating the broader publicabout the implications that adverse space weather phenomenacan cause in our daily life. 2 These objectives have been pursued in the framework of Action ES0803 from 2008 to 2012, with the active participa-tion of more than 80 experts from 24 countries. This paper reports the main scientific results obtained by this Action inthree action lines: (1) advances in Space Weather models;(2) recommendations for new Space Weather products and ser-vices; (3) dissemination, education, and outreach activities.In the final section, we summarize the main achievements thatmay have a future impact in the European Space Weather com-munity and we present some plans for the future. 2. Space Weather prediction models in Europe The main objective of this task was to compile and analyzerecent advances in the field of Space Weather modeling, to 1 Lilensten, and Belehaki.  Acta Geophys. ,  57 (1) , 1–14, 2009. 2 Belehaki, et al.  Space Weather – The International Journal of   Research and Applications ,  7 , S03001, 2009. J. Space Weather Space Clim.,  4 , E1 (2014)DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2014032   A. Belehaki et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2014 O PEN  A CCESS P REFACE This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (,which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the srcinal work is properly cited.  make recommendations for the assessment and validation of  prediction models, and to simulate further upgrades of themodels in order to be implemented in an operationalenvironment. 2.1. Advances in Space Weather modeling Recent advances on solar dynamics (the origin of spaceweather), space plasma processes (the transmission process),and long-term variability of the Sun, interplanetary space,and geospace (the media which modulate it) have been com- piled and analyzed for a successful description, nowcasting,and forecasting of the state of the space environment and of specific Space Weather events.The main findings are reported in a review 3 on the state of the art for our understanding of phenomena occurring in thesolar atmosphere that are due to solar magnetism and are the basis of Space Weather. The review includes combined multi-disciplinary, multi-instrument, multi-wavelength studiesof these phenomena, ranging from the very first manifestationof solar active region formation and evolution, to the analysisof explosive phenomena (i.e., flares, erupting prominences,Coronal Mass Ejections), to the study of the interaction of magnetized plasma clouds expelled from the Sun with theinterplanetary magnetic field and medium.The geomagnetic response to solar and interplanetary dis-turbances is the topic of another review paper  4 in this topicalissue. Following an analysis of their long-term evolution, theAuthors discuss short-term responses, where they distinguish between responses of the terrestrial environment to solar activ-ity (and specifically to solar energetic events) and to the solar wind. Geomagnetic responses at low and high latitudes areconsidered separately. At low latitudes, the evolution of thering current in both the main and recovery phases is analyzed.At high latitudes, achievements in modeling the coupling between magnetospheric and ionospheric processes are stud-ied, with special attention to the polar caps and field-aligned currents.The impact of solar activity on the Earth’s upper atmo-sphere has been systematically studied during this Actionand the results are summarized in a review paper. 5 This review is focused on methods based on data-driven anal-ysis. Medium- and long-term ionospheric response to thechanges in solar and geomagnetic activity provides resultson 27-day response of low latitude ionosphere to solar EUV radiation, response to the recurrent geomagnetic storms,long-term trends in the upper atmosphere, latitudinal depen-dence of total electron content (TEC) to EUV changes, and statistical analysis of ionospheric behavior during prolonged  period of solar activity. Storm-time ionospheric response tothe solar and geomagnetic forcing provides results from stud-ies of ionospheric variations induced by recurrent CIR-drivenstorm, a case-study of polar cap absorption due to an intenseCME, and a statistical study of geographic distribution of theso-called E-layer-dominated ionosphere. Empirical models for forecasting bottomside ionospheric parameters, the electrondensity and the total electron content, are reviewed.A new method for the retrieval of the basic thermospheric parameters from ionospheric sounding data is also presented.The detection, monitoring, and forecast of ionospheric pertur- bations in Europe to support GNSS systems has been alsoreviewed and further studied. 6 Phenomena in the polar cap ionosphere and the effects onSpace Weather were also investigated in this COST Action. 7 The main part of the work has been directed toward the studyof plasma instabilities and scintillations in association withcusp flow channels and polar cap patches, which is consid-ered as a critical knowledge in order to develop forecastmodels for scintillations in the polar caps. The problemhas been approached by multi-instrument techniques thatinclude the EISCAT Svalbard Radar, SuperDARN radars,in-situ rocket measurements, and GPS scintillationmeasurements.An important scientific discovery that came out from thisAction was the confirmation of detection of the thermosphericauroral red line polarization. 8 The study was based on theresults from a special campaign carried out during the winter in 2010/2011 where the polarization of the red line was mea-sured for the first time at the Polish Hornsund polar base with-out contamination. Two methods of data analysis are presented to compute the degree of linear polarization (DoLP) and angleof linear polarization (AoLP): one is based on averaging and the other one on filtering. Results are compared and are inqualitative agreement.Finally, the impact of cosmic rays and solar energetic par-ticles on the Earth’s environment has been studied, 9 withemphasis on numerical models that compute the cosmic rayionization profiles at a given location and time. Intercompari-son of the models, as well as comparison with direct rocketmeasurements of the atmospheric ionization, validate their applicability for the entire atmosphere and for the differentlevels of solar activity. 2.2. Assessment and validation of existing Space Weatherresearch and operational models The assessment requires the development of criteria and met-rics which can objectively be applied to quantify the perfor-mance of the models. Strengths and weaknesses include (butare not limited to) the quantitative accuracy of the modelresults, the weight of constraints on input parameters and  boundary conditions, the validity range of the model, the spa-tial and temporal scales over which useful predictions are pos-sible when the models are predictive.The first systematic effort to review assessment and valida-tion efforts of Space Weather models made by European teamswas held in the third workshop of the Action (Alcala, Spain, 3 Zuccarello, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  3 , A18, 2013,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2013039. 4 Saiz, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  3 , A26, 2013,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2013048. 5 Kutiev, et al.,  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  3 , A06, 2013,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2013028. 6 Jakowski, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  2 , A22, 2012,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2012022. 7 Moen, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  3 , A02, 2013,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2013025. 8 Lilensten, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  3 , A01, 2013,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2012023. 9 Velinov, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  3 , A14, 2013,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2013036.J. Space Weather Space Clim.,  4 , E1 (2014)E1-p2  16–17 March 2011). A comprehensive report was compiled  10 to summarize key issues from the three scientific sessionson: (1) interdisciplinary activities and validation approaches;(2) Space Weather prediction and validation concepts; (3)Space Weather research – models and model support activities.The final conclusion of this activity was presented in the finalmeeting of the Action 11 to provide a recommended methodol-ogy that can be applied to any Space Weather model. Verifica-tion approaches described in their report are taken both fromthe meteorological and Space Weather community practices.A survey of current Space Weather model verification has beencarried out, with focus on models and algorithms developed byinstitutes participating in COST Action ES0803. The mostcommon approach is to use one, or a few, metrics to verifythe models. It is recommended that the more advanced approaches, like the distributions oriented, used in meteorologyare also used for the Space Weather model verification. 2.3. Stimulation of models ’  upgrades and of the developmentof reliable computer codes for predicting important SpaceWeather parameters The assessment and validation of selected models led to stim-ulating the improvement of existing models to enable their implementation in an operational environment.The outcome of this activity was summarized  12 to include both the introduction of new models and the improvements toexisting codes and algorithms that address the broad range of Space Weather’s prediction requirements from the Sun to theEarth. For each case, the following aspects have been consid-ered: input data, output parameters, products or services, oper-ational status of the model, and whether it is supported byvalidation results, in order to provide a solid basis for futuredevelopments. The analysis concerns: d  Advances in Solar Weather predictions: solar activity prediction tools, near-Real-Time detection and trackingof Active Regions and Coronal Holes, Forecasting SEPEvents; d  Advances in Geomagnetic predictions: warnings for geo-magnetic disturbances, nowcasting and forecasting the  K   index; d  Advances in Satellite environment predictions: specifica-tion of the electron density structure up to geosynchro-nous heights, thermospheric monitoring, short-timeforecast of relativistic electrons at geosynchronous orbit; d  Advances in Communication predictions: improvementsin ionospheric mapping techniques, solar wind drivenionospheric forecasting algorithms, geomagnetically dri-ven ionospheric forecasting algorithms; d  Advances in GNSS predictions: ionospheric monitoring based on GNSS data, TEC modeling algorithms; d  Advances in the prediction of Space Weather effects inthe Earth’s atmosphere: now- and short-term forecastingof the Chemical Composition of the Middle Atmosphere,Cosmic Ray Ionization Model for Ionosphere and Atmosphere. 3. Recommendations for new Space Weatherproducts and services Recommendations are based on the experience that ES0803experts already gained from the operation of space weather pre-diction systems (in Regional Warning Centers or at nationalresearch institutes and universities), on systematic contacts withusers in the framework of workshops or focused meetings,and on specific state-of-the-art studies. 13 More specifically, thegroupthatimplementedthespecificsetofactivities,hadthemainobjectives of collecting updated users’ requirements for SpaceWeather products and services, and of proposing models thatcan meet these requirements, based on the work performed for the identification of the new models and the stimulation of their validation. The first systematic effort to perform an organized exchange of ideas with users was held in the second workshopoftheAction,inParis,22–23March2010.Valuableinsightsintothe needs of users in several Space Weather domains includingspacecraftoperations,aviation,andtrans-ionosphericradioprop-agation have been collected and compiled in a comprehensivereport. 14 QualitativeindicationoffutureneedsforSpaceWeather specification and forecasting information have been provided byspacecraftoperators,theEGNOScommunity,theGalileosystemoperators, HF users, and aviation regulatory authorities. Detailscan be found in the web site of the Action ( the specific requirements detailed above and theactivities performed by European research groups to improveSpace Weather prediction models, the following new productsand services for Space Weather have been identified as thosethat have the potential to meet users’ needs: d  Automatic tools to predict solar activity; 15 d  Forecasting SEP Events; 16 d  Warnings for geomagnetic disturbances; 17 d  Nowcasting and forecasting the  K   index; 18 d  Forecast of relativistic electrons at geosynchronous orbitscintillations of Pc5 type; 19 10 Watermann. Scientific report from the 3rd COST ES0803workshop ‘‘Assessment and validation of space weather models’’,Alcala Spain, 16–17 March 2011, . 11 Wintoft, et al.  COST ES0803 Scientific Products , November 2011, . 12 Tsagouri, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  3 , A17, 2013,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2013037. 13 Heynderickx.  COST ES0803 Scientific Products , 2012, pdf . 14 Hapgood, M. Web Proceedings of the 2nd COST ES0803Workshop, Paris, 22–24 March 2010, summary.pdf . 15 Ahmed, et al.  Sol. Phys. ,  283 , 157–175, 2013,DOI: 10.1007/s11207-011-9896-1.Colak, and Qahwaji.  Sol. Phys. ,  283 , 143–156, 2013,DOI: 10.1007/s11207-011-9880-9. 16  Núñez.  Space Weather  ,  9 , S07003, 2011,DOI: 10.1029/2010SW000640. 17 Saiz, et al.  Ann. Geophys. ,  26 , 3989–3998, 2008. 18 Kutiev, et al.  J. Atmos. Sol. Terr. Phys. ,  71 , 589–596, 2009,DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2009.01.005. 19 Degtyarev, et al.  Geomag. Aeron. ,  50 (7) , 885–893, 2010.Degtyarev, et al.  Adv. Space Res. ,  43 (5) , 829–836, 2009,DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2008.07.004.Potapov, and Polyushkina.  Geomag. Aeron. ,  50 (8) , 28–34, 2010.A. Belehaki et al.: COST Action ES0803 Special Issue PrefaceE1-p3  d  3D specification of the electron density structure up toGNSS heights; 20 d  System for thermospheric monitoring; 21 d  Nowcasting and forecasting models of ionospheric parameters at the peak height with an accuracy range; 22 d  Maps of vertical TEC calculated in real time with activ-ity index; 23 d  Real-time GIC analyzer software; 24 d  Advanced data analysis techniques to correlate satelliteanomaly data for different orbits with various character-istics of space weather, using rich databases of anomaliesrecordings; 25 4. The education and outreach programme of COSTES0803 The educational and outreach activities held in the framework of this Action are described in detail in a comprehensivereport. 26 In the following, we provide a brief presentation of some key activities. 4.1. Educational activities The Action organized two international schools: (1) the  Inter-national Advanced School on Space Weather Modelling and  Applications  that aimed at providing the scientific knowledgefor monitoring, modeling, and predicting Space Weather butwith special attention to the applied aspects of Space Weather,i.e., to the monitoring and modeling resources based onadvanced data handling for Space Weather. The school wasorganized at ICTP (Trieste, Italy) in collaboration with INAF,and the EC FP7 Project SOTERIA; (2) the  First EuropeanSchool on fundamental processes in Space Weather: a chal-lenge in numerical modeling   that trained the students on basic processes for Space Weather, on the theory of magnetic recon-nection and instabilities in space, and on simulations and com- puting. The school was organized in Spineto (Italy) together with the EC FP7 SWIFF consortium.Our experience from the organization of the two trainingschools shows that training schools are powerful means for dis-semination and education, very effective in raising awarenesson the subject, attract new scientists to the field, and are alsovery effective in synergizing new collaborations. 4.2. Outreach activities The outreach programme of the Action was based on a com- prehensive set of outreach materials that can be used by expertswilling to organize outreach activities in their own country.Main contributions to this material come from the programme  I Love my Sun , and the  Planeterrella  experiment.The  I Love My Sun  programme is a COST example of international collaborative outreach. 27 ‘‘  I Love My Sun ’’ is aneducational outreach tool that has been developed for school-children in the approximate age range of 7 through 11 years.The main objective of this tool is to make children aware of Space Weather, the Sun, Sun-Earth relations and how they,the children, are part of this global picture. Children are givena lecture about the Sun. The lecture is preceded and followed  by the children drawing a picture of the Sun. Several eventshave been organized from COST ES0803 experts in Turkey,Belgium, Ukraine and Serbia, and the results are presented and analyzed.The  Planeterrella  is another important tool for public out-reach. 28 It is based on the Terrella experiment created by the Norwegian scientist K. Birkeland. By this experiment, Birke-land demonstrated the making of auroras. The Terrella has been greatly improved and constitutes now a new experimentcalled the  Planeterrella . It allows to picture many phenomenaoccurring in the space environment. It is flexible and attractive.This experiment had initially been developed to be small and modest, shown to local people by a demonstrator. It met a greatsuccess which relies on two strong points: (i) there is no patenton it and the plans are given freely to any public institution and (ii) the advertisement does not rely on press release, books, or web sites but mainly on national and European scientific net-works such as COST ES0803.Today, nine  Planeterrellas  are operating or under construc-tion in four different countries, and more are foreseen. In fiveyears, about 50,000 people (and much more on TVs) in Europecould directly see the making of auroras, picture the spaceenvironment, and get an introduction to Space Weather withthis experiment. 5. Summary and conclusions The main scientific achievements of this COST Action arerespectively: (1) the recommended methodology for the valida-tion of Space Weather models; (2) the stimulation of improve-ments of models based on assessment results; (3) the collectionof updated information concerning users’ requirements and recommendations for new products and services that can bederived from advanced Space Weather algorithms.In parallel, networking and coordination activities orga-nized by the Action further supported the establishment of the European Space Weather scientific community with twoimportant achievements: d  TheorganizationforfourconsecutiveyearsoftheEuropeanSpaceWeatherWeeks(ESWW),incollaborationwithESAand STCE (ESWW6 to ESWW9). ESWWs are now aninternationalevent attracting a largeaudienceofmorethan 20 Belehaki, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  2 , A20, 2012,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2012020.Kutiev, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  2 , A21, 2012,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2012021. 21 Mikhailov, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  2 , A03, 2012,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2012002. 22 Tsagouri, I.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  1 , A02, 2011,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2011110003.Pietrella, M.  Ann. Geophys. ,  30 , 343–355, 2012,DOI: 10.5194/angeo-30-343-2012.Hoque, and Jakowski.  Ann. Geophys. ,  30 , 787–809, 2012,DOI: 10.5194/angeo-30-797-2012. 23 Bergeot, et al.  GPS Solutions ,  15 (2) , 171, 2011,DOI: 10.1007/s10291-010-0181-9. 24 Viljanen.  Space Weather  ,  9 , S07007, 2011,DOI: 10.1029/2011SW000680. 25 Dorman, L.  COST ES0803 Final Report on-line version , 2012, . 26 Vanlommel, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  4 , A05, 2014,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2014002. 27 Tulunay, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  3 , A04, 2013,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2013026. 28 Lilensten, et al.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  3 , A07, 2013,DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2013029.J. Space Weather Space Clim.,  4 , E1 (2014)E1-p4  300 participants consisting of scientists, users, policy mak-ers, all concerned about Space Weather; d  The establishment of the international scientific peer review open access Journal of Space Weather and SpaceClimate (SWSC) published by EDP Sciences. 29 The journal accepted the first submissions ( in 2011. Today SWSC is awell-established journal with more than 90 scientific papers published to date. The first Impact Factor released  by Thomson Reuters in 2014 is 2.519.Future developments in the field will have to take intoaccount the general requirements of Space Weather users thatconcern:(a) Continuous improvements of Space Weather predictionmodels to tailor the accuracy and delivery method according to the continuously evolving needs of users;(b) Standardization of the Space Weather products and ser-vices to encourage the use by a wide user community;(c) Assurance of long-term access to data;(d) Use of validated models to provide quality indicators tothe user;(e) Development of tools to improve operators’ ability toexplore data through the use of advanced data analysistechniques;(f) Increasing awareness of Space Weather and users’ edu-cation about possible effects and what can be done for warning and mitigation.Valuable tools that support these requirements are the datae-infrastructures that have been developed or are under devel-opment by European space science communities, able to pro-vide access to homogenized and standardized space datathrough e-science tools. These data platforms should be sys-tematically exploited by the European Space Weather commu-nity to further meet the requirements of the users and to provide services assured on the long term.  Acknowledgements.  We acknowledge the excellent collaborationfrom the Leaders of the Working Groups Dr. Jürgen Watermann,Prof. Mike Hapgood, and Dr. Petra Vanlommel. We are also extre-mely grateful to Prof. Ronald Van der Linden, who supported thisAction as Grant Holder, as Co-Organizer of the ESWW throughSTCE, and as Co-Leader of Working Group 2. Special thanks aredue to Dr. Jean Lilensten for his enthusiastic contribution and substantial support for the establishment of the Journal of SpaceWeather and Space Climate. Finally, we would like to acknowledgethe support from Dr. Carine Petit through her role as ScientificOfficer of the Action from 2008 to 2011 and the support fromProf. Sylvain Joffre for stimulating discussions while he was Chair of the DC of the ESSEM. Cite this article as :  Belehaki A., M. Messerotti & M. Candidi. Developing Space Weather products and services in Europe – Preface to theSpecial Issue on COST Action ES0803.  J. Space Weather Space Clim .,  4 , E1, 2014, DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2014032. 29 Belehaki, and Lilensten.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  3 , A13,2013, DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2013035.Lilensten, and Belehaki.  J. Space Weather Space Clim. ,  1 (1) , E01,2011, DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2011002.A. Belehaki et al.: COST Action ES0803 Special Issue PrefaceE1-p5
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