Monitoring of the earth's atmosphere for safer satellite measurements

A new web service which predicts atmospheric changes based on solar activity is the result of a project collaboration between SP, Chalmers and Lantmäteriet (the Swedish mapping, cadastral and land registration authority). The web service is extremely helpful for identifying problems with satellite measurements.

We are now entering a period in which solar activity reaches its peak. The activity causes changes in the atmosphere, which affects satellite signals so that it becomes more difficult to implement correct satellite measurements. During major road construction, house construction and other construction work incorrect measurements cause large and expensive delays when expensive equipment cannot fully be used.

Together with Chalmers and Lantmäteriet, SP has managed a project for several years for identifying the problems and predicting how the situation will appear in the future.

By combining competence within atmospheric physics, signal processing and radio wave propagation with a world-unique Swedish database, the group has prepared models for how the signals from the satellites and consequently the measurements are affected. The result is a web monitor which similar to a weather report calculates and shows where the changes occur. This enables you to quickly determine whether the cause of the incorrect measurement is related to the atmosphere.

The monitor can be accessed freely via the net and has become so popular that a similar service is already being demanded by other countries. It will also be launched as an app for smartphones soon. The service is already being used by Swedish companies, authorities, municipalities and other groups which require careful measurements. 

Measurement Science and Technology

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