A space weather service for the Swedish Armed Forces - a proposal


  • Sandra Lindström

Publish date: 2008-10-30

Report number: FOI-R--2569--SE

Pages: 44

Written in: Swedish


  • space weather
  • service
  • GPS
  • disturbance
  • satellite communication
  • short wave
  • high frequency
  • solar storm
  • forecast
  • alert
  • warning


By space weather service we refer to, similar to a traditional weather service, a service where forecasts are delivered. The difference is that for a space weather service the information delivered is on the subject of space weather. We conclude that there are two important reasons for why a space weather service should be developed within the Swedish Armed Forces. The first reason is the demand for space weather information related to critical functions during military operations such as communication and navigation. The second reason is that the next solar maximum has an expected increased solar activity around 2011-2012, which coincide with the next Swedish lead Nordic battle group, namely battle group 2011. Before building a space weather service a test phase should be initiated. The test phase should comprehend an operative evaluation of space weather effects, detailed studies on space weather effects on material used by the Swedish Armed Forces, a prioritising of activities, and a choice of forecast distribution paths to be tested and evaluated. The work done has lead to recommendations of how to develop a space weather service within the Swedish Armed Forces. In support of this it is therefore described what participants should be involved, requirements on the information, and a preliminary plan of activities. The work is based on discussions and interviews with personnel from the Swedish Armed Forces. We conclude that it is possible to deliver space weather forecasts that fulfil the needs within the Swedish Armed Forces. Following, there is a need for an evaluation of how critical different space weather effects in fact are. Then it would be possible to decide the level for tailored information in a space weather service that fulfils the specific needs. The participants in this space weather service involves staff from foremost the Swedish Armed Forces but also the Swedish Defence Research Agency, the Swedish Defence Material Administration and the Swedish Institute of Space Physics. All participants have a specific role in this space weather service. Space weather information should be delivered from one place within the Swedish Armed Forces; this would simplify quality control. Competence and expertise would be focused on one permanent unit within the organisation. It is recommended that the centre for Meteorology and Oceanography within the Swedish Armed Forces constitute this information source. The need for information and forecasts can be expressed in a number of information requirements for a space weather service. These are type and content of the information, how the information is presented, how the information is distributed, in between what participants the information is exchanged, time constraints, and environment constraints.