When these
clouds reach the Earth, they interact with the geomagnetic field and cause rapid field
variations. This is followed by a chain of electromagnetic surface and atmospheric
induction processes that induce potentially damaging DC currents in ground electrically
conductive networks, such as power supply networks.
These events have only been explored more intensively in the past 30 years. Research
shows that solar storms that would have devastating effects on today's technical
infrastructure have occurred in the past. The repetition rates of such events, however,
are largely unknown. Due to the effects of space weather on ever-increasing air traffic
and growing critical infrastructure such as power grids or satellite navigation, the
importance of space weather is still underestimated.
In the context of this project, researchers and end users in the field of space weather
will be connected to create a national competence group. Possible synergies between
the research groups will be promoted, and Austrian stakeholders in the area of critical
infrastructure will be identified. The state-of-the-art in this domain, specifically in a
national context, will be presented and current research questions will be identified and
formulated together with the stakeholders. The decisive factor here is the cooperation
between information providers and users in order to determine what content is
required. An Austrian Space Weather Platform, which provides an overview of the
content and makes it easily accessible, will be created. This platform is not intended to
replace existing international “space weather warning tools”, but rather to bundle
existing information, the latest research, and information prepared according to national
user needs. Furthermore, based on the latest research into extreme events and the
needs of national stakeholders, an action plan detailing the national response in the case
of an extreme space weather event will be developed. To continue and develop national
collaboration after this project, a road map for the future of space weather in Austria
will also be developed by the consortium. The multidisciplinarity of the consortium,
which is a mix of researchers and stakeholders, is a great strength in this regard.
The national visibility of the topic “space weather”, the objective and well-founded
presentation of current space weather research and data, and the establishment of
sustainable collaborations and opportunities for future cooperation are the core goals
that will be addressed by this project.

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