Space Weather: Science and Effects

Norma Bock Crosby

Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Belgium

From the point-of-view of somebody standing outside on a cold winter night looking up at a clear cloudless sky, the space environment seems to be of a peaceful and stable nature. Instead, the opposite is found to be true. In fact the space environment is very dynamic on all spatial and temporal scales, and in some circumstances may have unexpected and hazardous effects on technology and humans both in space and on Earth. In fact the space environment seems to have a weather all of its own, its own space weather. Our Sun is definitely the driver of our local space weather. Space weather is an interdisciplinary subject covering a vast number of technological, scientific, economic and environmental issues. It is an application-oriented discipline which addresses the needs of space weather product users. It can be truly said that space weather affects everybody, either directly or indirectly. The aim of this talk is to give an overview of what space weather encompasses, emphasizing how solar-terrestrial physics is applied to space weather. Examples of space weather product users will be given highlighting those products that we as a civilization are most dependent on.