Space missions aiming to improve predictions of solar storms



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Satellites launched into outer space can send improved warnings of dangerous solar storms thanks to a breakthrough in the way scientists use space weather measurements.

Experts from the University of Reading found that using satellite data which are less reliable but are returned to Earth quickly and can be used to improve the accuracy of the solar wind Precipitations – which are harmful streams of charged particles sent from the sun – increased by nearly 50%.

Their research is published today in space climateIt could pave the way for agencies, such as the Met Office, to provide more accurate forecasts of severe space weather, which can cause power outages and harm human health.

Lead researcher Harriet Turner, from the University of Reading’s Department of Meteorology, said, “We know a lot about how to prepare for storms that form on Earth, but we need to improve our forecasts of the dangerous weather we encounter from space. Space weather threatens our technology-focused lifestyle because it can It can cause power grids to fail, damage satellites, such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), and even make astronauts sick.

Our research has shown that using rapid satellite measurements for weather forecast Space weather is active. By sending spacecraft farther from Earth, we can use this new technology to get better predictions of solar storms and make sure we’re prepared for what’s to come.”

Simon Machin, Met Office Space Weather Director, said, “This is a great example of the value that can result from our collaborations with academia. By bringing scientific research into the operational realm, improving space weather forecasting will ultimately enhance our nation’s ability to prepare space weather events and their mitigation.

Old dogs, new tricks

To predict space weather, scientists need to predict the conditions of the solar wind on Earth. To do this, they unite Computer simulation With observations from space to estimate what the space weather would be like. This is known as data ingestion. High-quality observations are only available several days after they are made, as they are processed on the ground and “cleaned up,” which means predictions take longer to come true.

To get faster predictions, the research team tried using near-real-time (NRT) data. NRT data does not undergo any processing or cleaning, which means it is less accurate but can be made available within a couple of hours. The research team found that the predictions produced using the NRT data still produced reliable predictions and allowed for a longer warning time. This could enable authorities to better prepare for power outages, which could cost up to $2.1 trillion More than a century in the United States and Europe.

to the stars

The scientists behind this new study say that using this new technology on upcoming space missions will allow for better predictions.

The European Space Agency (ESA) will launch “vigilance” In mid-2020, a mission is the first of its kind that will monitor potentially dangerous solar activity using a number of UK-made instruments.

By launching the spacecraft to a location 60 degrees behind Earth in longitude, the Met Office will be able to improve space climate Predictions using data assimilation of solar wind data for nicotine replacement.

It is hoped that Vigil’s unique location will allow scientists to see the solar wind that will later reach Earth, increasing forecast accuracy and warning time.

more information:
Harriet Turner, Matthew G Owens, Matthew Simon Lang, and others. Understanding Solar Wind Data in an Operational Context: Using Near-real-time Data and Projected Value for an L5 Display., space climate (2023). doi: 10.1029/2023SW003457

Introduction of
University of Reading

the quote: Space Missions Aim to Improve Solar Storm Forecasts (2023, May 18) Retrieved May 18, 2023 from

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