The Met Office is working with partners in the UK and US to expand the UK's space weather forecasting capabilities.
The Sun is in constant flux and the impact of this solar activity is more apparent as people become more reliant on technology. Solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and the solar wind affect our technology and systems such as satellites, GPS, power grids and radio communications.
Solar flares can cause high-frequency radio and GPS to perform erratically, extreme CMEs can put power grids at risk. Therefore, space weather forecasts are of crucial importance to the Armed Forces, electricity industry, satellite operators and the aviation industry.
We're working to develop space weather capability and share valuable knowledge and create the UK's space weather forecasting centre with a range of partners in the US. We have a formal collaboration agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) to strengthen collaborative efforts to protect critical infrastructure from the impacts of space weather. As part of the agreement the Met Office is implementing the state of the art 'ENLIL' computer model that is used by NOAA to predict the arrival time of Coronal Mass Ejections. Our space weather forecasters liaise on a daily basis with NOAA forecasters to exchange views on the expected space weather conditions for the next few days. We also work with and receive solar imagery from NASA.
In the UK, we're working closely with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the British Geological Survey (BGS). As a member of the International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC), the Met Office is supporting collaboration in the use of Earth Observation data and other satellite technologies. A major focus of our activities in ISIC will be in support of Space Weather.
As we develop an operational space weather prediction centre, we're also working with different industry sectors to make them aware of their potential vulnerability to space weather, or - if they're already aware of it - find out how forecasts and warnings can help them mitigate the risks.
As operational space weather prediction experts and as a partner of ISIC, we are able to understand the needs of industries that are affected by space weather. This enables us to tailor services to meet specific industry requirements and help ISIC support and facilitate innovation in the space sector.