Space Weather is a term that refers to the influence on
systems of conditions on the Sun and in the solar wind, magnetosphere,
etc. The effects of Space Weather are widespread, but the significance
of their impact varies for different systems and geographical
locations. One sector of industry that is affected that is of immediate
concern to the general population is the aviation industry.
Envisaged advancements in aircraft design, performance and avionics
systems, plus the likely development of a satellite-based airspace
management system to meet the expected growth in demand for air travel,
all mean that airline operations will become more susceptible to Space
This susceptibility is in many areas, most of which will be covered by
this proposal. The dangers to health caused by the exposure to Cosmic
Radiation are already the subject of European legislation and an area
of intense study. Beside the health risks, the industry is subject to
other types of risk from space weather events, including radiation
damage to avionics, loss of GPS signals used for navigation, and
interference to communications.
This proposal assesses the quantifiable risks and the impacts the
airline industry can expect to see on current and future commercial
operations. It will then develop a prototype service for the airlines
through operational risk modelling.
The study has two phases covering different aspects of the project.
Phase I involves an industry survey to ascertain the level of knowledge
and understanding of Space Weather and its hazards, and the risk
assessment of the Space Weather hazards and their impacts. Each hazard
will be investigated, and probability and risk factors derived, and
then an assessment made on the operation of a “virtual airline”.
In Phase II, using these assessments derived from the surveys, etc, the
requirements for Space Weather data and information that will be
determined. Upon this we will design and evaluate a prototype model of
an Airline Space Weather Service. This model will provide a clear
statement of all the necessary components, information, regulatory
structure and safety standards required within the airline industry.
It is envisaged this approach will aid the development of the required
services from the Space Weather science community. It is our intention
to fully integrate SOARS with the Space Weather European Network
(SWENET), and other networks and Grids that could supply the necessary
information for a forecasting service.