The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has begun operations at its new PECASUS space weather center in Helsinki. The center continuously monitors the state of the Sun and near-Earth space with satellites and ground-based observations. The center then sends space weather advisories to aviation operators when disturbances in near-Earth space exceed thresholds specified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The advisories contain information on a space weather storm’s severity and impact area on the globe.
Space weather services are necessary for modern aircraft operations as they are increasingly dependent on satellite-based navigation and communication methods. Strong solar storms can affect the performance of aircraft and air traffic management communication and positioning systems. In extreme conditions, storms may also increase the amount of radiation at flight altitudes in polar areas.
The space weather service is provided jointly by operators in ten countries that form the PECASUS (Pan-European Consortium for Aviation Space weather User Services) consortium. The consortium headquarters is located at the FMI in Helsinki, and it is the only European space sector organization that operates globally.