Customer Needs and Requirements for Space Weather Products and Services
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Customer Needs and Requirements for Space Weather Products and Services

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    Space weather refers to disturbances originating from the Sun that can impact the Earth and near-Earth environment as well as assets in space. Space weather events have the ability to disrupt technology crucial to important industry sectors, including electric power, satellites, global navigation, aviation, and emergency management (EM), and thus affect the related services those sectors provide. While extreme space weather events with hugely disruptive impacts historically occur once or twice over a 30 to 50 year period, minor and moderate space weather events that still have the ability to impact industries occur far more frequently. As a result, stakeholders in these sectors require the information, products, and services to allow them to better understand the risks associated with space weather and to more effectively respond to future events and mitigate their impacts.

    The focus of this study is to support the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) with identifying and describing the different customers for space weather information products and services, and their evolving requests. SWPC provides stakeholders with specific information about conditions in the environment affected by space weather events, including historical conditions, real-time conditions, and forecasts. This role is similar to that of the National Weather Service (NWS) for terrestrial, meteorological weather. This study assesses the variety of uses and needs for SWPC space weather information across five sectors: (1) electric power, (2) satellites, (3) global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), (4) aviation, and (5) EM. Within most sectors, the uses and needs for space weather information are assessed across two user groups with distinct requirements for space weather products: engineers and operators. Within the EM sector, emergency managers define another distinct user group. For each of these different sectors and user groups, key customers and stakeholders were engaged to explore a range of relevant topics with a focus on clearly identifying pertinent product parameters and specifications for effectively applying and using space weather information.

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