Monitoring Space weather and it's possible effect on the aviation industry

The sun has been becoming increasingly active recently as we have seen from reports on TV and the media. Spectacular light shows of auroras, in geographical locations that do not usually experience such phenomena.This solar activity can also cause a disruption to aviation's communications, navigation and surveillance systems.
The sun's activity cycle is around 11 years and the peak of activity is predicted to be around 2014 continuing into 2017. Eurocontrol as part of it's new role as 'Network Manager' is monitoring the solar activity through 'specialist agencies and organisations'.

One such organisation is Goddard's Space Weather Laboratory which has recently been funded by NASA's Space Technology Program to forecast solar events.

The new forecasting system, which is based on 'ensamble forecasting' currently used for hurricane tracking, should be completely implemented in 3 years.
Solar storms can create unusually high levels of ionising radiation - up
to a hundred times higher than usual. This can affect flight crews and
passengers, but radiation can also impact on electronics and aircraft

The 'Network Manager' is keeping a close watch on the situation and ready to take instant action if anything happens.


You can read the article from Eurocontrol here
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