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SDL Webinar: Space Weather Readiness: Domestic and International Risk Mitigation Strategies 

As we approach the peak of the current solar cycle, critical ground and space-based infrastructure face an elevated risk of damage from space weather events. While rare, direct impacts from the Sun’s coronal mass ejections are capable of inducing strong currents in the electric grids on Earth and causing widespread power outages. Such events can also damage satellites we rely upon for communications, GPS, weather forecasting, and intelligence.  On Tuesday, November 7th, the Space Diplomacy Lab welcomed a panel of experts to discuss ongoing domestic and international work aimed at improving our systemic resilience to solar storms.


Dr. Britt Lundgren, Moderator Department of Physics and Astronomy – University of North Carolina Asheville, Associate Fellow, Duke RDP Space Diplomacy Lab

Dr. Tamara Dickinson President, Science Matters Consulting 

Dr. Jennifer “Jinni” Meehan  National Space Weather Program Manager, NOAA NWS, Executive Secretary, White House SWORM Subcommittee, Designated Federal Officer, Space Weather Advisory Group 

Mr. William (Bill) Murtagh  Program Coordinator, NOAA NWS  

This webinar was organized by the Rethinking Diplomacy Program with co-sponsorship from the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke Cosmology, and the Ocean Diplomacy Working Group in alignment with the Duke Climate Commitment.  

About the speakers: 

Dr. Britt Lundgren (moderator) is an astronomer specializing in studies of galaxy evolution, the intergalactic medium, and large-scale structure in the Universe. As an associate professor in UNC Asheville’s Department of Physics, Dr Lundgren’s current research is focused on analyzing data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the ground-based Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which she Co-Chairs. Dr. Lundgren served as AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation and is an affiliate fellow with the Rethinking Diplomacy Program’s Space Diplomacy Lab. Dr. Lundgren holds a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an A.B. in Physics from the University of Chicago.  

Dr. Tamara Dickinson is the Founder and President of Science Matters Consulting, LLC. She provides professional services at the intersection of science and government to influence national policy and ensure sound science is available to inform policy and management decisions across Earth, environmental, and space sciences, as well as disaster and climate resilience fields.  Dr. Dickinson currently serves as the Chair of the White House Space Weather Advisory Group (SWAG).  Previously, Dr. Dickinson served as the Principal Assistant Director for Environment and Energy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  Dr. Dickinson oversaw the National Ocean Council, U.S. Global Change Research Program, and interagency committees on earth observing, air and water quality, disaster risk reduction, space weather, ecological services, toxins, the Arctic and, ocean science and technology.  Tamara earned her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico and her B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa.  

Dr. Jennifer “Jinni” Meehan is the National Space Weather Program Manager for the Analyze, Forecast and Support Office at the National Weather Service (NWS) where she provides the coordination needed within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and across the Federal government to ensure a Space-Weather-Ready Nation. Dr. Meehan works with NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center on issues related to global, national, regional, and local policy, products, and services that impact NWS communication with core partners, the space weather enterprise, and the general public. Dr. Meehan also serves as the Executive Secretary of the White House Space Weather Operations, Research, and Mitigation (SWORM) Subcommittee composed of senior officials from 34 different U.S. Federal departments, agencies, and offices, and the Executive Office of the President. She is also the Designated Federal Officer for the 2020 PROSWIFT ACT’s Space Weather Advisory Group. Meehan holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Utah State University and a B.S. in Meteorology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 

Bill Murtagh currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colorado. Bill is NOAA’s space weather lead in coordinating preparedness and response efforts with industry, emergency managers, and government agencies around the world. Bill also serves as the National Weather Service lead in the White House Office and Science Technology Policy (OSTP) interagency committee to develop and implement actions in the National Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan (NSWSAP).  Murtagh also served as the Assistant Director for Space Weather at OSTP where he oversaw the development and implementation of the 2015 National Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan and the Executive Order 13744 “Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events” (2016).  Murtagh joined NOAA in 2003 after retiring from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) with 23 years of service, coordinating and providing meteorological support for the USAF and national security interests around the world. 

The Duke Rethinking Diplomacy Program is grateful for the longstanding support of the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation.  

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