Space Weather
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Space Weather impacts

"Space Weather" designates the physical and phenomenological state of the natural space environment, including the Sun and the interplanetary and planetary environments. The associated discipline aims at observing, understanding and predicting the state of the Sun, of the planetary and interplanetary environments and their disturbances, with particular attention to the potential impacts of these disturbances on biological and technological systems. 

The effects of Space Weather can range from damage to satellites arising from charged particles to disruption of power grids on Earth during geomagnetic storms, radio black-out on trans-polar aircraft routes, or disturbance of satellite positioning systems. Space Weather monitoring, study and applications are more and more important with the increasing use of space in day-to-day life for telecommunications, observation and navigation.

Aurora Borealis
Aurora Borealis is a visible space weather phenomenon

WMO's involvement in Space Weather

In June 2008, the WMO Executive Council (EC-LX) noted the considerable impact of Space Weather on meteorological infrastructure and important human activities. It acknowledged the potential synergy between meteorological and Space Weather services to operational users. The Council agreed that WMO should support international coordination of Space Weather activities and urged WMO Members to provide corresponding resources through secondments and Trust Fund donations.

In May 2010, WMO established the Interprogramme Coordination Team on Space Weather (ICTSW) with a mandate to support Space Weather observation, data exchange, product and services delivery, and operational applications. As of May 2016, ICTSW involves experts from 26 different countries and 7 international organizations.
(Click here for details on ICTSW status and activities)

In May 2011, the World Meteorological Congress (Cg-16) acknowledged the need for a coordinated effort by WMO Members to address the observing and service requirements to protect the society against the global hazards of Space Weather. (See Statement on Global preparedness for Space Weather Hazards.)

In July 2014 the potential space weather services to international air traffic navigation were discussed at the conjoint session of the WMO Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM) and the Meteorological Division of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

In May 2015, the World Meteorological Congress (Cg-17) took note of the Four-year Plan for WMO Coordination of Space Weather Activities developed by ICTSW in consultation with CAeM and the Commission for Basic Systems (CBS). Congress agreed that WMO should undertake international coordination of operational space weather monitoring and forecasting with a view to support the protection of life, property and critical infrastructures and the impacted economic activities in an optimized overall effort.

On June 21st, 2016 the Executive Council approved the Four-year plan for WMO activities related to space weather in 2016-2019  (See below).


Space Weather reports and articles

The potential role of WMO in Space Weather
A report on the potential scope, cost and benefit of a WMO activity in support of international coordination of Space Weather services, prepared for the 60th Executive Council, WMO Space Programme, April 2008
(SP-5, WMO-TD N° 1482)

Related links


International Space Environment Service (ISES). The main objective of ISES is to facilitate international monitoring and prediction of the space environment. The ISES web site includes links to thirteen Space Weather Regional Warning Centres and Associate Centres.


ISWI logo
International Space Weather Initiative (ISWI) . An international cooperation program to advance space weather science and education.






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