Met Office to offer daily space weather forecasts

Sun unleashing a solar flare a minor radiation storm on 7 June 2011 Solar flares and eruptions in the Sun's atmosphere are sources of the potentially destructive storms

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The Met 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 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.

Space weather is driven by energetic particles from the Sun.

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

Start Quote

Space weather is a relatively immature science but understanding is growing rapidly”

End Quote Mark Gibbs The Met Office

They have the potential to damage sensitive satellite components and induce current surges strong enough to knock out power grids on Earth.

A massive blackout in Quebec in 1989 has been attributed to a solar storm.

The Sun's activity peaks about every 11 years, when solar emissions become more intense. It is currently in a "solar maximum" phase.

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."

Andrew Richards, a risk analyst for the National Grid, said: "A round-the-clock UK forecasting service for space weather is essential as part of National Grid's procedures for running the electricity transmission network securely and safely."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    Well they are catching up with me!
    re 126,114, now my original comment 100, now removed!
    Took them long enough
    Long live the Revolution

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    @ 186.beammeup

    You got it ....

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    This current weather is playtime with what's coming.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    We have more problems on earth to understand & prepare for and I'm not talking about the weather. What is it with people anyway, always pointing attention in another direction than towards ourselves. We rely too heavily on technology...its like drug...people can't imagine life without it and will have to deal with it eventually.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    How many people are interested in the solar flux, talking' about space weather right?

    The average person wouldn't care two hoots about the solar flux or if a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) is going to happen....

    for Gods sake lets get our own weather forecasting right first.

    I wanna know the weather on Pluto, that's where I'm off away from Clegg, Cameron and the Met Office that can't spell fog!

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    I'd LOVE to hear of a really big solar flare heading our way so it knocks out EVERY mobile phone out of action!

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    What a total waste of money. They cant even forecast the weather on this planet never mind space.
    Plus its about the only job you can take on and if you mess up, still keep at the end of every day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    phew! did'ent expect that one coming! well all I can say is well done to all those involved in getting that project started! A nice little tickle if there was ever one to be had

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Something very different is happening within the Environment where we all are living in, mostly due to accumulation of large quantum of Debris covering the Earth's atmosphere which we cannot do away with; unless we create a large magnetic field to attract the entire debris to one place. The activities of the Sun is no doubt a factor which we can take care of through such a noble venture of us

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    I'd be interested to know just what they think we can do if we 'know' there's a solar storm on the way - we can't avoid it anyway :-/

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    13 Minutes ago

    168.Davey Trasker
    Did you miss the report? It has been explained and if memory serves me correctly - when the data was probably assessed the answer was that it did warm.

    Oh right. So they said it was going to warm. Then they said it wasn't. Then they said it was after all? Just imagine if the fate of the planet actually did depend on weathermen.

  • Comment number 178.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    A moderation queue on the topic of the Sun? Really? Amazing. Are we all quilty of something until proven innocent? Are comments about the Sun so politically incorrect that they require censorshp? It seems that once you have earned a place on HYS's blacklist for other naughty transgressions especially on middle eastern events it's like being on the NSA's terrorist watch list.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    And why is it that the met office wages are paid by the mod
    It isn't. It is paid for by taxpayers.

    And it is a trading fund of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

    Weather forecasting is needed for government and business planning. It needs to be generally right so shops can have the right stock i.e. salads when it is warm.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    It is important, as the glorious Chinese start to explorer deeper and more often. If the UK sell space weather it is beneficial to all, and the new world leaders (China). It will only last until China copy the technology. Now the Chinese are learning to think like the Americans used too, if you can dream it ,it can be done. America goes backwards mired in litigation and political correctness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    168.Davey Trasker
    Did you miss the report? It has been explained and if memory serves me correctly - when the data was probably assessed the answer was that it did warm.

    Anything that tries to keep us in the front ranks of the techno pack has got to be good. Only problem - you can do even less about space weather tha the type on Earth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    So the Met are at last going to use Solar data:

    Something Piers Corbyn has been doing for decades:

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    Nice work if you can get it......if you're wrong, just blame it on some 'unknown variable'.


  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Related to solar & terrestrial weather

    'UK could be Europe's 'largest' economy by 2030'

    ..... complete with floating offices, homes and roads.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Given that Britain has relatively little in space, why are we coughing up the £s to pay for this? Surely those with the most current investment in space (USA, Russia, China, and possibly India) should pay for the information they need, not get it off Britain for free. Equally those with the biggest Earth based power infrastructures should cough up the money (again USA, Russia, China)


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