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Low Earth Orbit Satellite Drag: Science and Operational Impact

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Last updated:
15 November 2017
A NASA LWS (Living With a Star program) Institute on “Nowcast of Atmospheric Drag for LEO Spacecraft” was established in 2015. The institute charter was to (a) review the current status of atmospheric drag research, (b) review operational concerns for LEO satellites, (c) identify and understand the major issues in atmospheric drag estimation and prediction, and (d) provide recommendations to improve our ability to make accurate drag nowcasts/forecasts that meet operational requirements. The institute included scientists and members of the satellite operation community from around the world. The institute had two meetings in 2016 and identified key issues LEO satellite drag and its variations: changes in neutrals (density, composition, and wind) arising from space weather conditions (solar energy inputs including solar radiation, solar wind, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling processes, as well as energy from the lower atmosphere).  This special collection will include contributions from the institute members and the community.  

Space Weather Events of 4-10 September 2017

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Last updated:
21 September 2017

The editors of Space Weather are organizing a special collection to highlight the strong-to-severe space weather of  4-10 September 2017.  This interval was one of the most flare-productive periods of now-waning solar cycle 24.  Solar active regions (AR) 2673 and 2674  both matured to  complex magnetic configurations as they transited the disk.  AR2673 transformed from a simple sunspot on 2 September to a complex region with order-of-magnitude growth on 4 September,  rapidly reaching beta-gamma-delta  configuration.  In subsequent days the region issued three X-class flares and multiple partial halo ejecta.  Combined, the two active regions produced more than a dozen M-class flares.   As a parting shot AR2673 produced: 1) an X-9 level flare; 2) an associated moderate solar energetic particle event ;and 3) a ground level event, as it arrived at the solar west limb on 10 September.   From 4 -16 September the radiation environment at geosynchronous orbit was at minor storm level and 100 MeV protons were episodically present in geostationary orbit during that time frame.  The early arrival of the coronal mass ejection associated with the 6 September X-9 flare produced severe geomagnetic storming on 7 and 8 September.  The full set of events was bracketed by high speed streams that produced their own minor-to-moderate geomagnetic storming.

This interval is covered by, perhaps, the best set of heliospheric and space weather instruments ever to witness a significant event. We call for papers that address the heliospheric and geospace disturbances,  and highlight how ground- and space-based instrumentation, combined with improved models allow us to understand the origin, dynamics and consequences of these storms.  We are particularly interested in “effects and impacts” papers, as there have been a number of media reports that HF radio blackouts caused by the X-flares disrupted emergency communications vital to recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma. We also welcome papers that assess the importance of these impacts and any other practical impacts arising from the space weather events in early September 2017.  Additionally, we encourage papers that address the direction, propagation and arrival time of the heliospheric structures (shock, sheath and/or core) that led to periods of forecast and/or observed strong southward Bz.

The Arctic: An AGU Joint Special Collection

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Last updated:
24 August 2017
The Arctic has become the focus of many new investigations and studies across a number of disciplines. In many cases, this research is integrating diverse new data sets, observations, and modeling, and making connections among and across the biosphere, oceans, atmospheres, space, and geophysical environments. These papers include historical and new research on the Arctic and represent the following AGU journals: Earth’s Future, Earth and Space Science, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (G-Cubed), Geophysical Research Letters, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, JAMES (Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems), JGR: Oceans, JGR: Atmospheres, JGR: Solid Earth, JGR: Space Physics, JGR: Biogeosciences, JGR: Earth’s Surface, Reviews of Geophysics, Space Weather, and Water Resources Research.

Reprise of "Space Weather" 2001 Monograph

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Last updated:
11 August 2017

This year marks the 15 year anniversary of the AGU Monograph on Space Weather.  Our new special collection will provide a 15-year benchmark for the advances in space weather since the 2001 publication of the AGU Space Weather monograph. The original collection serves as the community history and  starting point for documenting research directly related to space weather. Click here to access the Space Weather monograph.

Two types of papers are solicited: 1) Manuscripts that provide a direct comparison to information and data published in the historical articles of the monograph. These should trace the improvement, evolution and advances related to in the original collection. 2) Manuscripts that address cutting edge topics that are likely to carry the enterprise of space weather forward into the next 10-15 years.  

Please contact the Space Weather editorial office (spaceweather@agu.org) to propose and discuss prospective contributions to the Special Collection.

NASA's Living With a Star: Geomagnetically Induced Currents

6 July 2017
Some problems are too big for one scientist to solve--or even one type of scientist.  NASA's Living With a Star Program is experimenting with a series of interdisciplinary Working Groups (also known as LWS Institutes) that tackle some of the thorniest problems in heliophysics. 

This special section reports findings of the first, Working Group on geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) convened to help predict and prevent power outages caused by extreme geomagnetic storms.  

Essential Science for Understanding Risks from Radiation for Airline Passengers and Crews

Last updated:
13 June 2017

This collection highlights essential science and return-on-investment related to radiation risks for airline passengers and crews. The focus is on recent NASA efforts to obtain data on radiation at and above commercial flight altitudes. Given that cosmic ray fluxes will likely be the highest since the dawn of the aviation age during the upcoming solar minimum, measuring high-altitude radiation dose and turning those data into useful information for aviation operators, schedulers, and frequent flyers will provide support for key decisions. 

Initial Results from the NASA Radiation Dosimetry Experiment (RaD-X) Balloon Flight Mission

1 December 2016
The NASA Radiation Dosimetry Experiment (RaD-X) high-altitude balloon mission was successfully launched from Fort Sumner, New Mexico on 25 September, 2015. Over 20 hours of science data were obtained from four dosimeters at altitudes above 20 km. One of the main goals of the RaD-X mission is to improve aviation radiation models. The high-altitude balloon flight data provide measurements for assessing how well aviation radiation models characterize the source of secondary particles which dominate radiation exposure at commercial flight altitudes. The second goal of the RaD-X mission is to facilitate the pathway toward real-time, data assimilative predictions of aviation radiation exposure by identifying and characterizing low-cost, compact radiation detectors. The RaD-X campaign was also supported by ground-based calibration measurements, radiation dose measurements taken on an ER-2 aircraft flown out of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, and dosimeter measurements onboard a King Air C90 aircraft operated by the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility at Fort Sumner. This collection of papers report the dosimeter measurements and initial findings from the RaD-X flight campaign.   

Geomagnetically Induced Currents: Commentary and Research

Last updated:
24 March 2016
Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GICs) have been the bane of technology-dependent societies. In telegraph lines, submarine cables, railroads and electrical power grids, nature has found a way to insert its highly-variable self, via GICs, into the workings of modern systems, often with little advance warning.  In this special collection we have surveyed Earth current and GIC-related manuscripts from all American Geophysical Union (AGU) journals in the last 55 years to highlight what is known about interactions between GIC and technological systems and the present gaps in understanding of GICs as an electromagnetic hazard.