Development of space weather reasonable worst-case scenarios for the UK National Risk Assessment

Hapgood, Mike and Angling, Matthew and Attrill, Gemma and Bisi, Mario and Cannon, Paul and Dyer, Clive and Eastwood, Jonathan and Elvidge, Sean and Gibbs, Mark and Harrison, Richard and Hord, Colin and Horne, Richard and Jackson, David and Jones, Bryn and Machin, Simon and Mitchell, Cathryn and Preston, John and Rees, John and Rogers, Neil and Routledge, Graham and Ryden, Keith and Tanner, Rick and Thomson, Alan and Wild, Jim and Willis, Mike (2021) Development of space weather reasonable worst-case scenarios for the UK National Risk Assessment. Space Weather, 19 (4): e2020SW002. ISSN 1542-7390

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Severe space weather was identified as a risk to the UK in 2010 as part of a wider review of natural hazards triggered by the societal disruption caused by the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in April of that year. To support further risk assessment by government officials, and at their request, we developed a set of reasonable worst-case scenarios and first published them as a technical report in 2012 (current version published in 2020). Each scenario focused on a space weather environment that could disrupt a particular national infrastructure such as electric power or satellites, thus enabling officials to explore the resilience of that infrastructure against severe space weather through discussions with relevant experts from other parts of government and with the operators of that infrastructure. This approach also encouraged us to focus on the environmental features that are key to generating adverse impacts. In this paper, we outline the scientific evidence that we have used to develop these scenarios, and the refinements made to them as new evidence emerged. We show how these scenarios are also considered as an ensemble so that government officials can prepare for a severe space weather event, during which many or all of the different scenarios will materialise. Finally, we note that this ensemble also needs to include insights into how public behaviour will play out during a severe space weather event and hence the importance of providing robust, evidence-based information on space weather and its adverse impacts.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Space Weather
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? space weatherreasonable worst case scenariosnational risk assessmentextreme conditionstechnological impactsspace and planetary scienceatmospheric science ??
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Deposited On:
08 Feb 2021 11:10
Last Modified:
20 Jun 2024 00:49