Space Weather (SWE) is widely recognized as a major hazard for infrastructures and human life. There is a large SWE user community operating in the Mediterranean region that requires accurate and timely space weather information. The project SWE-MED, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) within the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme, aims to identify how the SSA SWE segment customer requirements baseline needs to be enhanced and tailored to best meet the needs of end users operating in the Mediterranean region. (i.e. the region of Europe at lower latitude).
Previous interaction with the users in the Mediterranean region evidences that these users require elements of the SWE Services to be tailored to their needs due to the different regional characteristics when compared to users operating at higher latitudes. For example, the common global geomagnetic indices (like Kp or Dst index) might not provide accurate and timely space weather information for regional applications.
The specific objectives of this project are the following:
- To review the current ESA SSA SWE customer requirement baseline and define tailoring needs for the requirements;
- To identify the means by which these requirements can be fulfilled, utilizing to the maximum extent facilities already in use, or in development, within ESA participating Member states in the Mediterranean region;
- To develop a roadmap which will include both product development based on existing assets and required upgrades to existing assets in order to meet the needs of SWE users in this region.
To achieve this, a user consultation exercise will be performed including workshops in five countries of the Mediterranean region: France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. The targeted sectors include communication and navigation, offshore resource exploration/exploitation, power system operation, pipeline operation, railway operation, aviation, shipping, logistics, space surveillance and insurance.
This project appears as a win-win exercise: ESA will collect information to identify how the SSA SWE segment customer requirements need to be enhanced, and the users will benefit as ESA will try to tailor the requirements to best meet the needs of end users operating in the Mediterranean region.