OFRAME / SPACE WEATHER

What is OFRAME ?

The objectives of OFRAME are to organize the French scientific community working on space weather to respond in a visible, efficient and structured manner to the needs of the academic world, national and international institutions and companies for whom space weather represents a technical, scientific and economic challenge. In doing so we aim to promote recent achievements in this research area. OFRAME will link with potential users of space weather services and will bring scientific expertise on these issues.
OFRAME stands for French Organisation for Applied Research in Space Weather (Organisation Française de Recherche Applicative en Météorologie de l’Espace)
OFRAME is supported by CNES, CNRS, CEA and ONERA.

What is Space Weather ?

Following the World Meteorological Organisation, "Space Weather" designates the physical and phenomenological state of the natural space environment, including the Sun and the interplanetary and planetary environments. The associated discipline aims at observing, understanding and predicting the state of the Sun, of the planetary and interplanetary environments and their disturbances, with particular attention to the potential impacts of these disturbances on biological and technological systems.
The effects of Space Weather can range from damage to satellites arising from charged particles to disruption of power grids on Earth during geomagnetic storms, radio black-out on trans-polar aircraft routes, or disturbance of satellite positioning systems. Space Weather monitoring, study and applications are more and more important with the increasing use of space in day-to-day life for telecommunications, observation and navigation.

Impact on infrastructures

Communication, navigation and surveillance services can be disrupted by SW phenomena, with effects varying according to the frequencies used (HF vs VHF communications), the type of technology (old generation radar vs. modern radar), geographical location (proximity of the geomagnetic equator vs. temperate latitudes for satellite precision landing services).
Defense systems or capabilities could also be potentially affected (performance degradation or even service interruptions in some cases) include telecommunications links (UHF/HF bands, SYRACUSE links), positioning, navigation and precision of satellite-guided weapons and Search and Rescue (SAR).
France has a more favourable geology than northern Europe in terms of induced currents, with a relatively low average crustal conductivity profile, on average ten times lower than that of the United Kingdom. Similarly, France has a low magnetic latitude compared to the United Kingdom, so the hexagon is geographically less close to the auroral and polar zones. It relies on a very meshed transmission network (RTE) and distribution network (mostly ERDF) in France but also in Europe, thus distributing the flow of homopolar currents.