Technology at risk from Space Weather
08 Nov 2010
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After a prolonged period of solar inactivity, the sun will embark on a new 11 year solar cycle starting in 2012.  This new cycle is expected to see a more active sun, producing powerful magnetic storms

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After a prolonged period of solar inactivity, the sun will embark on a new 11 year solar cycle starting in 2012.  This new cycle is expected to see a more active sun, producing powerful magnetic storms with the potential to disrupt power supplies, transport and communication systems.

RAL Space has developed a report with Lloyd’s 360° Risk Insight, highlighting the threat to business caused by space weather. The report, “Space weather: its impact on Earth and implications for business”, examines the risk to business as the weather in space around earth nears its “solar maximum” period;  when its effects are likely to be most severe.

Mike Hapgood, Head of the Space Environment Group at RAL Space and author of the report said:

"Space weather is a serious risk that has long been overlooked and it's time for business to know the wider impact it can have on them."​

"Space weather is a serious risk that has long been overlooked and it's time for businesses to know the wider impact it can have on them. This report outlines the many ways that these space weather disturbances can disrupt business activities and, most importantly, what businesses can do to reduce these risks."

Trevor Maynard, Manager, Lloyd’s Emerging Risks, said: "Space weather, like ordinary weather, varies considerably in its severity and can occur incrementally or as a one off. This isn't a new phenomenon, space weather has always existed, but it is our growing dependence on electricity based technology that has exacerbated the threat and made us more at risk than ever. Awareness of the risk is a first step towards managing it."

The report recommends that businesses need to be aware of the threat to their operations and plan accordingly and using advanced technologies they need to protect themselves by:

  • having good access to specialist space weather services that are targeted on business needs;
  • building protection into the systems at risk so they can withstand the extremes of space weather;
  • thinking through global supply chain issues;
  • adjusting the systems at risk in advance to reduce the space weather impact;
  • being ready to respond quickly to space weather problems, as they arise during the event.​

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries

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