SURVEILLANCE: SPACE WEATHER FOR CIVIL AVIATION
INGV is a partner of the European consortium PECASUS (
The increase in air traffic on northern polar routes since the end of the XNUMXth century entails an increasing risk of exposure to adverse space weather conditions for travelers and flight crew. The strong emissions of matter and very high energy radiation from the Sun can have a major impact on the ability to navigate and communicate correctly not only in the polar areas of our planet but also at medium and even low latitudes. Severe solar storms increase radiation levels at flight altitudes, a phenomenon that needs to be taken into consideration when estimating the cumulative dose that can affect flight personnel.
Countermeasures are being implemented by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) involving the integration of space weather hazard warnings into civil aviation regulations. The alerts address specific impact areas: satellite navigation and communication, communication via high frequency (HF) radio waves, and radiation levels. Risks will be flagged as moderate or severe based on thresholds set by ICAO, and alerts contain information on both the ongoing condition and the next 24 hours.
The PECASUS consortium has been designated by ICAO as one of the three centers of excellence capable of providing the surveillance services required by the stringent civil aviation certifications. The monitoring infrastructures of the consortium partners and their ability to create algorithms and physical models guarantee PECASUS the production of surveillance services of the conditions of the circumterrestrial space, especially in the event of strong solar storms, supporting the risk assessment by the civil aviation authority.
INGV, in agreement with ENAC, participates in the provision of space weather services through the usability of both the data, suitably processed, produced by its own ionospheric observatories (link to
In the field of geomagnetism, INGV manages the three national geomagnetic observatories located in the north, central and southern Italy, for the continuous recording of variations in the earth's magnetic field. The rapid variations of the field, with appropriate empirical methods, can provide important indications on the extent, duration and consistency of the changed conditions of magnetic activity and the relative consequences on a planetary scale. In cascade, these strong variations in the Earth's magnetic field can cause ground effects such as the induction of anomalous electric currents on ground-based electric generators and on satellite sensors.