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Space Weather



Specific challenge: Space weather services exist already today in Europe and in several countries outside the EU. New services are also being developed (e.g. in ESA’s SSA programme and in EU Seventh Framework Programme projects). Their goal is to observe and to predict a range of solar events that may impact the near Earth environment including orbiting satellites and ground based systems. Today, the services partly rely on ageing solar observational infrastructure, which may need to be upgraded or replaced by new space based observatories in the coming years. Data from existing and upcoming missions, as well as available GNSS  data,  will open the door for Europe to push ahead in its impressive track record in space weather in general and heliophysics research in particular.

The challenge is to harness the expected much richer and larger volumes of data to enable new and more sophisticated modelling of complex physical phenomena and their impact. This will necessitate new approaches to data processing and international cooperation in this domain.

Scope: Exploratory work studying new ideas for data analysis and modelling of space weather with a view to enhancing the performance of space weather prediction. Proposals can cover the full range of space weather phenomena from the solar cycle, flares and coronal mass ejections to the effects of the solar wind in the near-earth environment and the evolution in between.

Research into further improvement of existing models, their validation and the associated simulation tools in the context of international cooperation with leading space weather service providers and/or related to emerging European space weather services.

There is scope for cooperation with international partners with relevant expertise (also third States’ entities with or without EU funding).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: Proposals are expected to deliver new insights into the detailed processes that generate space weather. This should contribute to new services able to predict, with a significantly higher precision than today, space weather events affecting the Earth and the near Earth space environment.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions