Met Office to give space weather
The UK is to join the small number of countries that forecast the weather in space on a day-to-day basis.
A £4.6 million investment by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will, in their words, 'help protect the technologies our day-to-day lives rely on'.
Space weather forecasts - running all day, every day from spring 2014 - will provide data for government and businesses to take swift action to ensure services are maintained.
Solar flares, space storms and solar wind can disrupt satellites, GNSS, power grids and radio communications, which in turn can upset timing - vital to the likes of mobile phones and financial trading.
The investment, spread over the next 3 years, will allow the Met Office to build on its partnership with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service - sharing knowledge and expertise in space weather forecasting.
As well as international partners such as NOAA, the Met Office is developing the forecasts in collaboration with a range of UK partners such as the British Geological Survey (BGS), Bath University and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) Space.
Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, comments:
'The Sun is in constant flux, and the possibly damaging impact of this solar activity is growing as people become more reliant on satellite technology. Space is one of the "Eight Great Technologies" of the future and I'm pleased that this worthwhile project has received the funding it's due. These forecasts will ensure that businesses can plan ahead, keeping us at the forefront of the global race.'
Details from the Met Office below.