Space weather Operational Airline Risks Service (SOARS)
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Welcome to SOARS

The Space weather Operational Airline Risks Service (SOARS) is one of Service Development Activities (SDA) that form part of ESA's Space Weather Applications Pilot Project - for more details see SWENET. The objective of the project is to review the effects of space weather on the aviation industry and demonstrate a service that could be used by the industry to mitigate the effects of space weather. The Final Report for the SOARS project is available here. [Executive Summary]

Our study has shown that access to Space Weather information that could be used to make decisions about operations is important to the aviation industry. However, we have found that it is difficult to provide it on the time scales that are needed and in a way that is easy for non-specialists to use.

These pages are an attempt to address these issues. We have gathered relevant information already available from a number of sources, generated some additional plots to fill gaps, and tried to present everything in a way that is informative and designed to help users identify Space Weather effects that are important to them.

The aviation industry is affected in two principal areas:

  • Effects on radio frequency (RF) communications
    • Disruption of HF and satellite communications (voice and data)
    • Disruption of satellite navigation systems, e.g. GPS
  • Consequences of enhanced radiation levels
    • Effects of radiation on humans and avionics
The causes with are due to a number of space weather effects:
  • Disruption of HF propagation due to effects on the ionosphere
    • D-Region absorption increasing the lowest usable frequency (LUF) at low/mid latitudes (SWF events) and high latitudes (PCA and AZA events)
    • Ionospheric storms affecting the F-Region and reducing the maximum usable frequency (MUF) at mid/high latitudes
  • Disruption of trans-ionospheric signal propagation
    • Signal delays caused by refraction (bending) in regions of high total electron content (TEC) and high electron density gradients
    • Rapid fluctuations in the signal strength and phase (Scintillation) caused by small scale variations in electron density
  • Variation in the flux of Cosmic Radiation
    • Slowly varying galactic cosmic ray background and enhancments caused by solar activity (flares and CME's)
Use the links on the top bar to access pages that show Space Weather effects in the areas listed above. The information on the pages is as current as we can make it and the pages update automatically. There are also links that allows users to understand current Space Weather conditons. If you have time, please provide us with some Feedback.


  • Mullard Space Science Laboratory of University College London (UCL-MSSL)
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. (VAA)
  • QinetiQ
  • ESYS Ltd
  • National Physical Laboratory (NPL)
  • UK Met Office
Contact/Manager:   R. D. Bentley (UCL-MSSL)    email:

[ Terms of Use (ToU) of SOARS and Acknowledgements]

These pages are still under development...

Current Space Weather Forecast, provided by SIDC(ROB/BIRA)