Britain's Met Office to begin offering space weather forecasts

Dec. 26, 2013 at 4:30 PM

LONDON, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Britain's weather service said it will begin providing early warnings of solar storms that can disrupt satellites, radio communications and power grids.

The 24-hour service offering space weather forecasts and information, to begin next spring, will help businesses and government departments make preparations for potentially destructive solar storms.

The Met Office is working in collaboration with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop better ways of predicting space weather, the BBC reported Thursday.

"Space weather is a relatively immature science but understanding is growing rapidly," the Met Office's head of space weather Mark Gibbs said.

The effort is being funded with $7.5 million over the next three years.

"This investment will enable the Met Office to complete the space weather forecasting capability that it has been developing over the past two years and begin delivering forecasts, warnings and alerts to key sectors to minimize the impact to the technology-based services we all rely on," Gibbs said.

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