ICAO Space Weather (SWX) Information System
Effective from November 2019. However, some information in this summary may change at times and updates will be issued as and when required.
Space weather is a consequence of the behaviour of the Sun, the nature of Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, and our location in the solar system. There are various phenomena that originate from the Sun that can result in space weather storms. Outbursts from huge explosions on the Sun - Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) - send space weather storms hurling outward through our solar system. The Sun also emits a continuous stream of radiation in the form of charged particles that make up the plasma of the solar wind.
From an operations perspective, space weather events occur when the Sun causes disruptions to aviation communications, navigation and surveillance systems, radiation-sensitive electronics and elevates radiation dose levels at flight altitudes. Space weather events may occur on short time scales, with the effects occurring from seemingly instantaneous to a few days hence.
Space weather advisories for international air navigation address particular types of disturbances, such as solar radiation storms, geomagnetic storms, ionospheric storms, and solar flares. These advisories enable operators to maintain awareness of potential hazards and to formulate alternative plans should the impending conditions be of a magnitude and/or type that could disrupt normal operations.
Space weather for aviation impacts on communications, navigation, surveillance, radiation-sensitive electronics, and human exposure. The impacts may include:
ACFJ Consortium - Australia, Canada, Japan & France
Two centres – Melbourne, Australia: will issue HF Advisories; and Toulouse, France: will issue all other SWX advisories.
PECASUS Consortium - Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom
Lead centre in Finland supported by UK (backup) and Belgium (data hub).
United States: Centre based in Boulder, Colorado, USA
1. China/Russian Federation consortium (may become a global centre in the future)
2. South Africa
Each of the three global centres will operate for a two-week period every six weeks and when not active they will operate as a backup centre or secondary backup centre for two-weeks each respectively. This is referred to as a rotational (or roster) arrangement.
SWX advisories are issued when impacts to HF communications, communications via satellite, GNSS-based navigation and surveillance systems, or heightened radiation occurs or is expected to occur.
The advisory message informs users of:
Forecasts included in SWXA are for 6, 12, 18 and 24 hours beyond the observed time, i.e., +6 HR, +12 HR, +18 HR and +24 HR.
SWX SIGMETs will not be issued by MWOs.
ADVISORY NR: 2016/2
NR RPLC: 2016/1
SWX EFFECT: HF COM MOD AND GNSS MOD
OBS SWX: 08/0100Z HNH HSH E18000 – W18000
FCST SWX +6 HR: 08/0700Z HNH HSH E18000 – W18000
FCST SWX +12 HR: 08/1300Z HNH HSH E18000 – W18000
FCST SWX +18 HR: 08/1900Z HNH HSH E18000 – W18000
FCST SWX +24 HR: 09/0100Z NO SWX EXP
RMK: LOW LVL GEOMAGNETIC STORMING CAUSING INCREASED AURORAL ACT AND SUBSEQUENT MOD DEGRADATION OF GNSS AND HF COM AVBL IN THE AURORAL ZONE. THIS STORMING EXP TO SUBSIDE IN THE FCST PERIOD. SEE WWW. SPACEWEATHERPROVIDER.WEB
NXT ADVISORY: NO FURTHER ADVISORIES
ADVISORY NR: 2016/2 NR
SWX EFFECT: RADIATION MOD
FCST SWX: 08/0100Z HNH HSH E18000 – W18000 ABV FL 350
FCST SWX +6 HR: 08/0700Z HNH HSH E18000 – W18000 ABV FL 350
FCST SWX +12 HR: 08/1300Z HNH HSH E18000 – W18000 ABV FL 350
FCST SWX +18 HR: 08/1900Z HNH HSH E18000 – W18000 ABV FL 350
FCST SWX +24 HR: 09/0100Z NO SWX EXP
RMK: RADIATION LVL EXCEEDED 100 PCT OF BACKGROUND LVL AT FL350 AND ABV.THE CURRENT EVENT HAS PEAKED AND LVL SLW RTN TO BACKGROUND LVL. SEE WWW.SPACEWEATHERPROVIDER.WEB
NXT ADVISORY: NO FURTHER ADVISORIES
ADVISORY NR: 2016/1
SWX EFFECT: HF COM SEV
OBS SWX: 08/0100Z DAYLIGHT SIDE
FCST SWX +6 HR: 08/0700Z DAYLIGHT SIDE
FCST SWX +12 HR: 08/1300Z DAYLIGHT SIDE
FCST SWX +18 HR: 08/1900Z DAYLIGHT SIDE
FCST SWX +24 HR: 09/0100Z NO SWX EXP
RMK: PERIODIC HF COM ABSORPTION AND LIKELY TO CONT IN THE NEAR TERM. CMPL AND PERIODIC LOSS OF HF ON THE SUNLIT SIDE OF THE EARTH EXP. CONT HF COM DEGRADATION LIKELY OVER THE NXT 7 DAYS. SEE WWW. SPACEWEATHERPROVIDER.WEB
NXT ADVISORY: 20161108/0700Z
* fictitious location
FNXX01 KWNP 020100
ADVISORY NR: 2019/59
NR RPLC: 2019/58
SWX EFFECT: GNSS MOD
OBS SWX: 02/0100Z HNH HSH E18000-W18000
FCST SWX + 6 HR: 02/0700Z HNH HSH E18000-W18000
FCST SWX + 12 HR: 02/1300Z HNH HSH E18000-W18000
FCST SWX + 18 HR: 02/1900Z NO SWX EXP
FCST SWX + 24 HR: 03/0100Z NO SWX EXP
RMK: IONOSPHERIC STORM CONTINUES TO CAUSE LOSS-OF-LOCK OF GNSS IN AURORAL ZONE. THIS ACTIVITY IS EXPECTED TO SUBSIDE IN THE FORECAST PERIOD
NXT ADVISORY: 20190502/0700Z=
|1.||FNXX01 KWNP 020100||WMO Header (FNXXii, WMO location indicator of SWXC, UTC date-time of issue of the message). The message header can be ignored by pilots.|
|2.||SWA Advisory||Type of message (Space Weather Advisory)|
|3.||STATUS (conditional – may not be included)||STATUS indicator only included if needed - either test (TEST) or exercise (EXER)|
|4.||DTG: 20190502/0100Z||DTG (Date, time group): Date and time of the SWX Advisory message (yyyymmdd/nnnnZ) – in this case: 0100 UTC on 2nd May 2019.|
|5.||SWXC||Name of Space Weather Centre issuing the product*.|
|6.||ADVISORY NR||Year in full and unique message number, in form yyyy/nnn.|
|7.||NR RPLC||Number of the previously issued advisory being replaced. In the form of yyyy/nnn.|
|8.||SWX EFFECT||Effect and intensity of space weather phenomenon:
|9.||OBS (or FCST) SWX||Date and time (in UTC) and description of horizontal extent** of observed or forecast space weather phenomenon.|
|10.||FCST SWX +6HR: 02/0100Z HNH HSH E18000-W18000||
6-Hour forecast to stated OBS (or FCST) time of horizontal extent** of space weather event.
Or, indication that the SWX phenomenon is no longer expected (NO SWX EXP) or the forecast is not available (NOT AVBL)
In this case, MOD GNSS impact is expected from E18000-W18000 in the latitude regions HNH (from N9000 – N6000) and HSH (from S6000 – S9000).
|11.||FCST SWX +12HR||As for element 10, but for a 12-Hour forecast to stated OBS (or FCST) time.|
|12.||FCST SWX +18HR||As for element 10, but for an 18-Hour forecast to stated OBS (or FCST) time.|
|13.||FCST SWX +24HR||As for element 10, but for a 24-Hour forecast to stated OBS (or FCST) time.|
|14.||RMK||Free-text comment on expected effect and its continuity|
|15.||NXT ADVISORY: 20190502/0700Z||Date and time of next SWX Advisory message (yyyymmdd/nnnnZ) – in this case: 0700 UTC on 2nd May 2019. Otherwise, if no further advisories are expected - NO FURTHER ADVISORIES|
* Note DONLON is a fictional centre.
** Note that there is no vertical extent description possible for SWX, except for radiation events.
|Element to be forecast||Range||Resolution|
|Flight level affected by radiation||FL250 – FL600||30|
|Longitude for advisories (degrees)||0000 – 1800 (E & W)||15|
|Latitude for advisories (degrees)||EQ – 900 (N & S)||10|
|Latitude bands for advisories (degrees and minutes)||High latitudes northern hemisphere (HNH)||N9000 – N6000||30|
|Middle latitude northern hemisphere (MNH)||N6000 – N3000|
|Equatorial latitudes northern hemisphere (EQN)||N3000 – N0000|
|Equatorial latitudes southern hemisphere (EQS)||S0000 – S3000|
|Middle latitudes southern hemisphere (MSH)||S3000 – S6000|
|High latitudes southern hemisphere (HSH)||S6000 – S9000|
The area affected may also be described as DAYLIGHT SIDE, meaning the extent of the planet that is in daylight (used for short wave fadeout events).
|TAC Advisory||IWXXM Advisory|
|ACFJ - Australia||FNXX01 YMMC||LNXX01 YMMC|
|ACFJ - France||FNXX01 LFPW||LNXX01 LFPW|
|PECASUS||FNXX01 EFKL||LNXX01 EFKL|
|USA||FNXX01 KWNP||LNXX01 KWNP|
SWX Advisories will be disseminated to users via the ROBEX distribution mechanisms rather than directly to end users via AFTN/AMHS.
SWXCs will send advisories to their National OPMET Centre (NOC), who will forward the message to their Regional OPMET Centre (ROC). The ROCs will forward the message to the Inter-regional OPMET Gateway (IROGs) and other regional ROCs (who will make SWXA available to NOCs within their area of responsibility). The IROGs will distribute the message to their neighbouring IROGs and internet-based services (SADIS and WIFS).
Users will access Space Weather Advisories through their normal national aviation briefing service but it should be noted that airlines may request their NOCs to deliver SWXAs directly to the airline, via AFTN/AMHS, like other OPMET.
The ICAO Global Space Weather Service does not specifically define the operational responses to space weather events and the receipt of SWA. Such responses are the responsibility of aircraft operators, which may choose to have operational procedures in place in order to be ready in case of space weather events.
The following general guidelines may however be useful:
The following European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Safety Information Bulletins may also be of interest:
|AFTN||Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network|
|AMHS||ATS Message Handling System|
|CME||Coronal Mass Ejections|
|EQN||Equatorial latitudes northern hemisphere (N30.00 – N00.00)|
|EQS||Equatorial latitudes southern hemisphere (S00.00 – S30.00)|
|GNSS||Global navigation satellite system-based navigation and surveillance (degradation)|
|HF COM||High frequency communications (propagation, absorption)|
|HNH||High latitudes northern hemisphere (N90.00 – N60.00)|
|HSH||High latitudes southern hemisphere (S60.00 – S90.00)|
|IROG||Inter-regional OPMET Gateway|
|IWXXM||ICAO Meteorological Information Exchange Model|
|MNH||Middle latitudes northern hemisphere (N60.00 – N30.00)|
|MSH||Middle latitudes southern hemisphere (S60.00 – S90.00)|
|MWO||Meteorological Watch Office|
|NOC||National OPMET Centre|
|OPMET||Operational Meteorological Information|
|RADIATION||Radiation at flight levels (increased exposure)|
|ROBEX||Regional OPMET Bulletin Exchange|
|ROC||Regional OPMET Centre|
|RODB||Regional OPMET Data Bank|
|SADIS||Secure Aviation Data Service|
|SATCOM||Communications via satellite (propagation, absorption)|
|SWXA||Space Weather Advisory|
|SWXC||Space Weather Centre|
|TAC||Traditional Alphanumeric Code|
|WIFS||WAFS Internet File Service|
For further information on space weather, see the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s brochures on space weather and space weather advisories. The advisories are expected to be issued, when necessary, from 07 November 2019.
For more detailed information, including how MOD and SEV SWX intensities are defined, see:
ICAO Doc 10100 - Manual on Space Weather Information in Support of International Air Navigation(external link).