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LWS TR&T Focus Teams:

Extreme Space Weather Events in the Solar System

Team Chair: Yingjuan Ma
Next Team Meeting:

Team-Maintained Web Site:
Team Publications:
Team Members:

  • Paul Withers
  • Donald Reames
  • John Bieber
  • Mukul Kundu
  • Ming Zhang
  • Alexander Ruzmaikin

Target Description: The quest to understand extreme space weather events and their effects throughout the solar system presents a broad range of challenges in heliophysics and the planetary sciences. Some involve the challenge of figuring out how the Sun creates such extreme activity in the form of very major flares and coronal mass ejections, and their related large Solar Energetic Protons (SEPs). This includes the question of the limits of extreme heliospheric space weather: Just how bad can it get? And how frequently can extreme space weather occur? From a planetary perspective the challenges involve the understanding of the long-term consequences of the interaction of extreme solar wind events at each solar system body since they each present themselves differently to the solar wind (with/without atmospheres and magnetospheres with distance from the sun).

Goals and measures of success: This program seeks broadly interdisciplinary, first-cut modeling efforts that can contribute toward initiating future more detailed research in this subject area. It is anticipated that these studies will lead to a better understanding for the potential for life elsewhere in the solar system and the hazards and resources present as humans explore space.

Types of solicited investigations: While the study of extreme solar wind events at each planetary body could in itself represent a complete research project, this program seeks to obtain a first overall look at the problem. Its goals are to 1) demonstrate the major issues in modeling solar system-wide response to extreme space weather events from the Sun to the orbit of Neptune, and 2) consider some first-order planetary responses that are of potential importance to present, past and future planetary characteristics, and 3) obtain some initial insights as to what solar conditions give rise to extreme effects, and what may determine the limits of their effects.


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