The low frequency array (LOFAR) is a phased array interferometer currently consisting of 13 international stations across Europe and 38 stations surrounding a central hub in the Netherlands. The instrument operates in the frequency range of ~10–240 MHz and is used for a variety of astrophysical science cases. While it is not heliophysics or space weather dedicated, a new project entitled “LOFAR for Space Weather” (LOFAR4SW) aims at designing a system upgrade to allow the entire array to observe the Sun, heliosphere, Earth’s ionosphere, and Jupiter throughout its observing window. This will allow the instrument to operate as a space weather observing platform, facilitating both space weather science and operations. Part of this design study aims to survey the existing space weather infrastructure operating at radio frequencies and show how LOFAR4SW can advance the current state-of-the-art in this field. In this paper, we survey radio instrumentation and facilities that currently operate in space weather science and/or operations, including instruments involved in solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric studies. We furthermore include an overview of the major space weather service providers in operation today and the current state-of-the-art in the radio data they use and provide routinely. The aim is to compare LOFAR4SW to the existing radio research infrastructure in space weather and show how it may advance both space weather science and operations in the radio domain in the near future.
© E.P. Carley et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2020