Space Climate

Date: Wednesday 13 December 2017

Time: 19:00 - 21:00


University of Reading
Sutcliffe Lecture Theatre
Department of Meteorology
Earley Gate, Whiteknights
Reading RG6 7BE


SPEAKER | Prof Mathew Owens, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading.

ABSTRACT | Space weather, variability in the near-Earth space environment over minutes to days, can adversely effect space- and ground-based technologies and poses health risks to humans in space and on high-altitude flights. To predict how the space weather may vary in the future, we first need to understand how it has varied in the past. Reconstructing "space climate" further back in time necessitates relying on increasingly indirect proxies, from direct spacecraft measurements (~60 years), to geomagnetic measurements (~150 years), sunspot observations (400 years) and, finally, cosmogenic isotope records in ice sheets and tree trunks (~10,000 years). I'll review what these are, what exactly they tell us and how much they can be trusted. I'll also, possibly imprudently, speculate about the most likely scenario for solar activity over the coming decades.

BIOGRAPHY | Mathew Owens is a Professor of Space Physics in the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading. He has wide interests across solar and heliospheric physics, both with a view to better forecasting of space weather and understanding stellar magnetism in general. He has also been known to dabble in research into possible coupling between the space environment and atmospheric electricity, particularly lightning.

This meeting is part of the Royal Meteorological Society Meetings programme, open to all, from expert to enthusiast, for topical discussions on the latest advances in weather and climate.

VENUE INFORMATION |  Directions on how to get to the University of Reading can be found here.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED | As part of the registration process you will be asked to provide personal information (name and contact email address).  Any information you provide to us will only be used by The Royal Meteorological Society and appointed representatives.

If you have registered and are no longer able to attend, please email


POSTER | Space Climate