Space weather - a new natural hazard for the 21st century

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A public lecture by Dr Mike Hapgood

As human society becomes more dependent on high technology, we face a new threat from Mother Nature. Many modern technologies are vulnerable to the effects of what scientists now term "space weather" - the ever-varying levels of radiation and magnetic fields in space. Like ordinary weather, space weather exhibits long periods of calm conditions which pose few problems, but occasionally there are large storms that can disrupt human activities and damage the infrastructures on which society depends - both those in space and many on the surface of the Earth. This talk will discuss the nature and history of space weather and how it has become a hazard to human society, especially over the past forty years. It will show that extreme space weather events are very rare, but also potentially very damaging. They must now be considered a major threat alongside other extremes of nature such as floods, tsunamis, hurricanes and other dangerous events.


Mike Hapgood is Head of the Space Environment Group in STFC's Space Science and Technology Department and Visiting Professor at Lancaster University. He has long experience of space weather working with other scientists, industry and government bodies in the UK and across Europe.