BoM Launches Space Weather Services

Wait, what? Weather IN space? Well, not quite.

“Space Weather” is the term used to describe the current conditions in space that affect our lives here on Earth. The Sun is not only the source of our heat and light, it’s also an active star and has solar flares, coronal mass ejections and other interesting phenomena that effects our modern technology. The pretty side is aurora which can be visible under the right conditions in southern Tasmania and further north if conditions are right. For aviation it can be much more annoying. Solar activity can wreak havoc on HF radio communications, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), satellite communication systems. At the extreme end it can even start having effects on power grids and other electrical systems.

To help all industries, the Bureau of Meteorology has been developing it’s capability to monitor and alert Australians and other nations of impending adverse space weather. Recently they launched a global service that can help aviators in line with ICAO requirements. 3 centres around the globe provide rotating coverage to give 24/7 notifications. The USA, a collection of European countries and a quad-national teaming of Australia, Canada, France and Japan staff theses centres. When on watch they provide global alerting for space weather events and monitor things like HF, GNSS, solar radiation amongst a host of technical readouts.

If you use GNSS (especially if IFR) or HF then it’s highly recommended that you add the BoM SWS website to your pre-flight routine! There has also been an AIC issued on the subject. Check out the links below.

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