The CISM Summer School is intended to give students a comprehensive immersion in the subject of space weather: what it is, what it does, and what can be done about it. Space weather is many things: beautiful when seen through the eyes of a sun-viewing telescope, fascinating when studied for its alien worlds of magnetic structures and phenomena, awesome when witnessed as a solar eruption or auroral storm, and devastating to the users of services it disrupts. Space weather links the Sun, the Earth, and the space in between in a branching chain of consequences. Weather systems on the Sun can spawn interplanetary storms of colossal size and energy that envelop the whole planet in electrical hurricanes. Such storms attack high-tech, complex, and expensive technological systems that provide much of the infrastructure that allows modern society to function.
Spaceship Earth is wired for power, linked for communications, networked for information, and serviced by squadrons of satellites. All these make up a space-vulnerable technological environment. As we enter the new millennium, we grow more reliant on this environment while it grows more susceptible to disruptions from space weather.
People study environmental sciences to learn about the phenomena that environments generate. Most curricula in four-year programs instead emphasize basics and prerequisites, leaving immersion in the phenomena to spare time and post-graduate work. The CISM summer school therefore supplements standard curricula in environmental sciences relating to the physics, meterology, and climatology of space. It is not intended to repeat or replace standard curricula, but to provide integrated overviews of the solar-terrestrial weather system, its effects and consequences, and state-of-the-art modeling. A unique feature of the school is a series of three-hour computer labs to learn how to use models to study space weather and to make space weather predictions.
CISM (Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling) is a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center whose goal is to build a physics-based computer simulation model that describes the space environment from the Sun to the Earth. The CISM partner institutions are: Boston University; Dartmouth College; Rice University; Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Colorado, Boulder; Alabama A&M University; University of Texas at Arlington; University of Maryland; the National Center for Atmospheric Research; NOAA Space Environment Center; and SAIC. The CISM Summer School is an integral part of CISM’s education and knowledge transfer activities, and is supported through NSF funding. For details on who will benefit from attending the school and on participant support, see logistics.