Friday, December 27, 2013

UK Met Office to offer Space Weather forecasts

Solar flares and eruptions in the Sun's atmosphere are sources of potentially destructive storms

The UK Meteorological Office is to begin offering daily forecasts about the weather in space.

The 24 hour service will aim to help businesses and government departments by providing early warnings of solar storms that can disrupt satellites, radio communications and power grids.

The first forecast is expected to be available next spring.

The Department for Business will support the scheme with £4.6m of funding over the next three years.

The UK Met Office will aim to develop better ways of predicting space weather in collaboration with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

UK partners involved in the project include the British Geological Survey, Bath University and RAL Space.

Met Office - Space Weather from If...Media on Vimeo.

Solar flares and eruptions in the Sun's atmosphere - known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) - are powerful sources of potentially destructive solar storms.

Mark Gibbs, head of space weather at the Met Office, said: "Space weather is a relatively immature science but understanding is growing rapidly."

He said the Met Office collaboration aimed to "accelerate the development of improved space weather models and prediction systems to make more effective use of space weather data".

Mr Gibbs added: "This investment will enable the Met Office to complete the space weather forecasting capability that it has been developing over the past two years and begin delivering forecasts, warnings and alerts to key sectors to minimise the impact to the technology-based services we all rely on."

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