Space Weather Services Review

A Review of Bureau of Meteorology Space Weather Services was completed in September 2014, resulting from the Whole(see page 24) of Government response to the option 20 in the 'Review of the Bureau of Meteorology's extreme weather and seasonal forecasting capacity'.

The Review Report and the Management Response from the Bureau of Meteorology are now available for public access.

The Space Weather Services Review Report


  • The review has demonstrated that Australia needs a space weather services capability to support government, industry and the military. The military requirement is overwhelming on its own and security issues preclude shifting this capability offshore. Support to the electricity industry during major and extreme storms is another national security issue – with potentially severe economic repercussions. Moreover, we believe that remediation of space weather effects on the new technologies associated with precision positioning (i.e. Global Navigation Satellite Systems, GNSS) is sufficiently important that it too requires a sovereign capability.
  • The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) Space Weather Service (SWS) is assessed to be in the top tier of global space weather centres and arguably globally preeminent in ionospheric high frequency (HF) space weather services. SWS staff demonstrably understand the environment (see their academic papers) and also have a detailed understanding of the risks that space weather induces on technologies (see their wide variety of customers). The SWS delivers valued environmental services which specify, predict and forecast space weather (as demonstrated through letters of support); and it supports the engineering community through its consultancy business.

The Management Response to the Review


  • Taken together, the review answers the challenge posed by Option 20 of the Munro Review (“cease or reduce the Ionospheric Prediction Service or offer it as a commercial service”) with a convincing case for continuation of the service as a core function of the Bureau.
  • Overall, the Bureau supports the findings and recommendations of the review and is of the view that their implementation will:
    • considerably strengthen the efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of the SWS;
    • ensure improved awareness and preparedness by government in relation to the hazard potential and risks posed by space weather events and steps to assist in mitigating their impact; and
    • deliver improved economic, security and safety outcomes to users of SWS products and services.

Lead Reviewer: Professor Paul Cannon, University of Birmingham, UK

Assistant Reviewer: Dr Terry Onsager, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Space Weather Prediction Centre (SWPC), USA.