An extreme space weather event, or solar superstorm, is one of a number of potentially high impact, but low probability natural hazards. In response to a growing awareness in government, extreme space weather now features as an element of national risk assessment in numerous countries.
Space weather can cause detrimental effects to the power grid, satellites, avionics, aircraft over polar regions, HF radio communication, mobile telephones, internet and GPS systems to name a few. Consequently it has been identified as a risk to the world economy and society.
SANSA hosted a space weather information sharing session yesterday at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria. Deputy Director General of the Department of Science and Technology, Mr Muofhe, highlighted "investment in space is important to South Africa and is integral to our daily lives".
Space weather refers to a collection of physical processes, beginning at the Sun and ultimately affecting technology on Earth and in space. The Sun emits energy, as flares of electromagnetic radiation and as high-energy charged particles through coronal mass ejections and plasma streams.