New meteorological office center in Adelaide

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The Space Weather Center of the Bureau of Meteorology in Lot Fourteen will help South Australia better prepare for solar flares and radiation storms.

The Space Weather Center of the Bureau of Meteorology in Lot Fourteen will help South Australia better prepare for solar flares and radiation storms.

South Australia’s reputation as a space state is set to soar with the announcement that a new tenant will join Lot Fourteen’s thriving space ecosystem in 2022.

The Office of Meteorology’s Space Weather Center will house a team of top scientists and researchers to forecast and help South Australia better prepare for the adverse effects of weather in the space environment between the sun and Earth . Driven by the solar magnetic field, space weather covers solar flares, coronal mass ejections, high-speed solar wind, and solar energetic particles, which can affect our technology here on Earth.

“Space weather can cause the Earth’s magnetic fields to vary, it can cause our ionosphere to vary, which is important for high-frequency communications, and at worst it can affect our energy market, the crosslinking of the earth. ‘energy and communication systems,’ says Stephen Alexander, director general of national security. and space program, Bureau of Meteorology. “It is important that we know what the sun does and how it affects these systems, but also how we can protect ourselves from space weather events.”

The hub will also include customer engagement specialists who will liaise with stakeholders, including the aviation, defense, space and energy sectors. “We will provide forecasts, warnings and alerts to these particular sectors,” Alexander said. “In the energy market, we can regulate grid electricity to support a space weather event. Space weather can also affect aircraft, which may have to operate on a different system if high-frequency radio communications are to be cut due to a space weather event.

“Our national security is also important – we have a lot of systems within defense, such as satellites and ground systems, which are very dependent on knowing the space weather at any given time.”

The hub – supported by the federal and state governments – will be located alongside major space companies already established within the Lot Quatorze compound, including the Australian Space Agency (ASA), Space Discovery Center and South Australian Space Industry Center. “Lot Fourteen is a place where we have recognized that there is growing interest and effort in Australian space companies,” Alexander said.

“We believe our expertise will really help commercial and government agencies working in this area, especially the ASA and the Ministry of Defense. Although we have worked closely with these agencies, it is important that we are on the ground to have the daily conversations and help them with any projects they develop and deploy.

Four more positions will be created in the new hub, bringing the total number of positions in Adelaide to 18 – with more to come. “Some of the staff currently working in Sydney will be moving to Adelaide, and new staff will come on board,” Alexander said. “We are excited to expand our capacity.

“Once we start providing these services to the space industry in particular, I think there will be an increase in demand as companies understand the importance of space weather and how it can affect their systems. “We can see this whole area grow and the possibilities for the Office to grow in this area will be great as well. “


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