The National Space Weather Program (NSWP) defines space weather as the “conditions on the sun and in the solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere that can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems and can endanger human life or health.” It further observes that “Adverse conditions in the space environment can disrupt satellite operations, communications, navigation, and electric power distribution grids and lead to a variety of socioeconomic losses [NSWP, 1996].
While the NSWP clearly involves many areas of basic research, it also includes, by definition, an applied aspect. If the program is to have an impact on space weather's adverse effects on technological systems, the scientific community must learn to understand the real problems that users have. Conversely, users must learn what types of information may become available. Practical solutions to the problems space weather poses depend on a continuing dialogue between both communities.