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Sino-Russian center for space weather monitoring operational

By LI HONGYANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-11-18 09:26
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A space weather center set up by China and Russia began operating on Tuesday to provide services for aviation operators around the world.

The China-Russia Consortium Global Space Weather Center monitors space weather events including solar activities and releases advisories for aviation operators, said Zhang Xiaoxin, director of the National Satellite Meteorological Center's space weather department.

"Space weather can affect aviation flight safety, aviation communication, positioning and the effectiveness of avionics," he said.

Solar activities including solar flares-explosive events that release energy from the sun's surface-disrupt the functions of infrastructure by altering the Earth's magnetic field and ionosphere.

"Moreover, unfavorable weather can result in radiation more than 10 times the amount flight passengers and staff members would receive on Earth and affect their health," Zhang said.

The China Meteorological Administration, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and their counterparts in Russia jointly operate the center, with offices in Beijing and Moscow.

In China, the CMA monitors and forecasts space weather and researches related technologies.

"China has set up the main framework for a national space weather operation system that combines satellites and ground monitoring networks," Zhang said.

In September, China's Fengyun 3E weather satellite captured its first test pictures of the sun, offering improved assistance in predicting solar activities and their impact on Earth and space weather.

The CAAC provides space weather services for global aviation users, including making advisory products, surveying global users' demands and responding to users' queries.

Last year, the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency that serves as a coordination platform in civil aviation, approved the two countries jointly building the center, the fourth global space weather center.

The other three are run by an Australian, Canadian, French and Japanese consortium; a European consortium; and the United States.

Yu Rucong, CMA's deputy head, said it is hoped that the two sides will cooperate further in data sharing, product integration and forecast verification to provide more accurate space weather services for global civil aviation users.

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