Sir John Beddington, United Kingdom (UK)Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office for Science
and Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, Deputy Administrator National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
United States (US) Department of Commerce Regarding Cooperation on Space Weather
The UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir John Beddington,
and NOAA Deputy Administrator, Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan,
On 26 June 2012, following the UK-US Space Weather Policy
Round Table in the United Kingdom, issued this joint statement:
“Space weather is a global challenge requiring coordinated global preparedness. We recognize space weather as a significant natural hazard risk with economic and societal impacts on key infrastructures and technologies including power grids, location and timing systems, aviation operation and security of satellites. Our respective key organizations have numerous common priorities and complementary capabilities on all aspects of space weather, from research to operational services. We recognize the need to develop a long-term vision for space weather activities that ensures the continuity of Sun-Earth-system observations, the development of scientific knowledge and predictive capabilities, the coordinated delivery of operational services, and an understanding of societal risks and mitigation strategies. Following the progress we have made to date in enhancing the coordination of our efforts, we will continue working together and explore new avenues to take advantage of our mutual interests and capabilities to improve our preparedness for space weather hazards.”
The UK Met Office-NOAA Memorandum of Agreement for Collaboration on Space Weather for the Enhancement of Health, Safety, the Environment and Economic Prosperity (MOA), executed in February 2011, initiated staff interactions, data exchange, forecast coordination, and numerical model research and development.
Under the MOA, space weather forecasters from the UK Met Office received training at the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center in November 2011, and April 2012. Current joint research and development efforts under the MOA include cooperation on the development of models of the coupled atmosphere-ionosphere system and techniques to improve prediction of the onset time of space weather storms.
The UK-US partnership has been highlighted in statements released by the White House on 14 March 2012, following meetings between US President Obama and UK Prime Minister Cameron, and previously on 25 May 2011.
In October 2011 and April 2012, the UK’s Science and Innovation Network facilitated two UK-US workshops that enhanced UK-US collaboration by including scientists, forecasters, research funders, and multiple government agencies from both countries. These workshops identified a number of areas where a coordinated and integrated UK-US approach, through observations and modelling, would benefit the development of an holistic Sun-to-Earth approach to improving our understanding and forecasting of space weather in order to inform risk management and mitigation strategies.
Given the need for international cooperation on the complex, global issue of space weather, the UK Met Office and NOAA recognized that it will be worthwhile to explore additional mechanisms to enhance their level of interaction in order to advance scientific understanding and improve the provision of operational space weather services.