UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


The threat from space weather

16 June 2015

Space weather is a global threat to the technologically driven financial sector, on the 27th May a symposium was held at the Royal Society to examine the risk posed and the resilience of the financial sector.

The sun produces 'solar wind', a stream of plasma (charged particles) that is produced in the upper atmosphere of the sun. The solar wind flows throughout the solar system, and interacts with the Earth's magnetic field to produce beautiful auroras (e.g. the Northern Lights) at the poles.

However as well as producing auroras, the solar wind can affect our technologically driven life on Earth. High solar wind can affect or damage satellites (including GPS), radio transmissions and power supply systems.

Presentations from researchers at UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Goldman Sachs, the Met Office and the National Grid were given, and a panel discussion allowed the opportunity to understand how current research and forecasting can be used in a practical way.

Article on 'Understanding space weather's threat to the finance industry' by MAPS Faculty.

NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre.

BBC article about the space weather forecast station at the Met Office, Exeter.