Developments in Aviation Space Weather Services

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Bryn Jones, SolarMetrics Limited, Chedworth, Glos., United Kingdom; and C. Dyer, A. Hands, R. Iles, K. Ryden, M. Smith, M. Stills, and G. Taylor

In 1998, the first Polar route test flight between Asia and North America was carried out. By the end of 2009, over 10,000 Polar flights will have taken place. However, as cross polar traffic continues to increase, the aviation industry is realising the impacts that space weather has on high-altitude, high-latitude, flights (>50N) and polar operations (>78N). Effects include disruption in High Frequency (HF) communications, satellite navigation system errors, and radiation hazards to humans and avionics.

These concerns not only apply to current operations, but become even more important at all latitudes when considered within the framework for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), an interagency initiative to transform the U.S. air transportation system by 2025.

The AMS/SolarMetrics report, Integrating Space Weather Observations and Forecasts into Aviation Operations (published March 2007), offers recommendations to increase the safety, reliability, and efficiency of aviation operations through more effective use of space weather information. This report highlighted several policy issues that need to be addressed to ensure the best use of current and future space weather information, namely:

Communication of space weather information

Standardization of information and regulations

Education and training

Cost benefit and risk analysis

SolarMetrics is working with the airline and space transportation industries to identify and develop new integrated space weather services that will meet their demands for real-time operational decision tools and products.

This poster will present some of the operational issues raised above and how they are being tackled.