Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New solar prediction system gives time to prepare for the storms ahead

Date:
September 2, 2010
Source:
University of Bradford
Summary:
A new method of predicting solar storms that could help to avoid widespread power and communications blackouts costing billions of pounds has been launched by researchers in the UK.

A new method of predicting solar storms that could help to avoid widespread power and communications blackouts costing billions of pounds has been launched by researchers at the University of Bradford.

Solar storms involve the release of huge amounts of hot gas and magnetic forces from the surface of the sun into space at around a million miles an hour. The next major solar storms are expected in 2012-13 as part of the sun's 11-year weather cycle. A 2008 US National Academy of Sciences report estimated that modern reliance on electronics and satellite communications means a major storm could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.

Although major solar eruptions (coronal mass ejections) normally take several days to reach the Earth, the largest recorded in 1859 took just eighteen hours. Solar flares -- which can also cause significant disruption to communications systems -- take just a few minutes. So advance warning is of vital importance to enable steps to be taken to avoid the worst effects of solar activity.

Up to now, solar weather prediction has been done manually, with experts looking at 2D satellite images of the sun and assessing the likelihood of future activity. But the team from the University of Bradford's Centre for Visual Computing have created the first online automated prediction system, using 3D images generated from the joint NASA/ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory satellite (SOHO). The system can be seen at work at http://spaceweather.inf.brad.ac.uk

Already in use by both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), the Bradford Automated Solar Activity Prediction system (ASAP) identifies and classifies sun spots and then feeds this information through a model which can predict the likelihood of solar flares. The system is able to accurately predict a solar flare six hours in advance and the team are working to achieve a similar accuracy for the prediction of major solar eruptions in the near future.

Reader in Visual Computing, Dr Rami Qahwaji, who led the EPSRC-funded research, says: "Solar weather prediction is still very much in its infancy, probably at about the point that normal weather forecasting was around 50 years ago.

"However, our system is a major step forward. By creating an automated system that can work in real time, we open up the possibility for much faster prediction and -- with sufficient data -- prediction of a wider range of activity. With NASA's new Solar Dynamic Observatory satellite which came into operation in May, we have the chance to see the sun's activity in much greater detail which will further improve our prediction capabilities."

The ASAP model is based on historical data which was analysed to identify patterns in the sun's activity. Dr Qahwaji is now applying for more funding to further improve the system and ensure it can be adapted to work with the latest sun monitoring satellites.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bradford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bradford. "New solar prediction system gives time to prepare for the storms ahead." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100901073405.htm>.
University of Bradford. (2010, September 2). New solar prediction system gives time to prepare for the storms ahead. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100901073405.htm
University of Bradford. "New solar prediction system gives time to prepare for the storms ahead." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100901073405.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) The smallest of Saturn's main moons, Mimas, wobbles as it orbits. Research reveals it might be due to a global ocean underneath its icy surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins