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The University of Southampton

Multi-million pound research to enhance UK Met Office modelling of extreme space weather

Published: 30 June 2020
Space debris
Space debris image from Prof Lewis's DAMAGE model

Two major research projects supported by the University of Southampton will significantly upgrade the UK’s ability to predict solar superstorms and other severe space weather events.

Professor Hugh Lewis, of Southampton’s School of Engineering, will contribute to investigations into the thermosphere, the neutral part of the Earth’s upper atmosphere affecting the orbits of satellites, which can result in satellite collisions without suitable modelling.

The £3.7 million research, led by the University of Birmingham, is part of a new £20 million programme funded by UK Research and Innovation. By the end of the grant the developed models will be deployed operationally at the UK Met Office.

“With so much of our day to day lives relying on services we get from space, it’s more important than ever to improve our understanding of the upper atmosphere, home to many critical satellites,” Hugh says.

“With the SWIMMR-T project, our hope is to improve our knowledge of the important processes taking place in the thermosphere and their implications for satellites and space debris.”

Read the full story on the main news page.

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