NOAA 2007-R521
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NOAA News Releases 2007
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NOAA’s Space Environment Center will change its name to the Space Weather Prediction Center Oct. 1, reflecting the rapidly growing importance of solar storm forecasts to the nation’s well being.

Economies around the globe have become increasingly vulnerable to the ever-changing nature of our nearest star. Solar-related geomagnetic storms can bring down power grids, interfere with high-frequency airline and military communications, disrupt positioning signals, interrupt civilian communications, and blanket the Earth’s upper atmosphere with hazardous radiation.

“The Space Weather Prediction Center is critical to our economy because each time we use a cell phone, check a GPS locator, or take an over-the-pole flight, space weather could have an impact,” said Jack Hayes, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

Monitoring and forecasting solar outbursts in time to mitigate their impact on space-based technologies have become new national priorities. The center is the nation’s official source of space weather forecasts, alerts, and warnings, and provides daily reports on conditions on the sun and within Earth’s space environment. The Space Weather Prediction Center is part of NOAA’s National Weather Service, and is one of its nine National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

“Our new name signals a new era in space weather awareness and the growing need for timely, accurate information and forecasts for our advanced-technology global economy,” said Space Weather Prediction Center director Thomas Bogdan, Ph.D., a solar physicist.

In addition to issuing critical warnings and forecasts of solar activity, the center helps move the latest computer models of solar dynamics and sun-Earth interactions into the daily operations of space weather prediction. Scientists and forecasters work closely with government and university partners to develop prediction models and other tools for improving services to the nation’s space weather community.

Electric power grid operators rely on NOAA space weather products to mitigate grid damage and anticipate possible large-scale blackouts during geomagnetic storms. The U.S. military relies on similar forecasts from the Air Force Weather Agency to know if orbiting satellites have suffered natural effects or human interference.

In 2007 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center: