National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Living With A Star

Targeted Research and Technology

Integrated Real-Time Modeling System for Heliospheric Space Weather Forecasting

ROSES ID: NNH11ZDA001N      Selection Year: 2012       Duration: 5 years

Program Element: NSF Partnership

Principal Investigator: Dusan Odstrcil

Affiliation(s): NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Heliospheric space weather forecasting is lagging behind the atmospheric one and until recently there was no physically based model able to predict arrivals of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) faster than real time. This is caused by huge spatial domain, lack of suitable observations needed to initialize models, and computational challenges posed by number of coupled processes at various spatial/temporal scales. Heliospheric forecasting is in infancy and requires basic research to increase understanding. Urgent societal needs are expressed in National Space Weather Program. Until recently these needs were satisfied only by a real time monitor, ACE spacecraft at L1-point which provides 20-40 min warnings of CMEs approaching geospace. Desired lead time of 1-3 days can only be achieved by following their propagation from Sun though heliosphere. Due to various dynamic interactions, numerical simulation is needed.

Within our previous AFOSR/MURI, NASA/LWS and NSF/CISM projects we developed the WSA-ENLIL-Cone modeling system that met above needs by proper combination of available observations with analytic, empirical, and numerical models. This hybrid system does not simulate CMEs origin but uses appearance in coronagraphs, fits geometric/kinematic parameters and launches a CME-like structure into the solar wind computed using WSA coronal model. This system was validated at NSF Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling and implemented at NASA based multi-agency Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC). Run-on-Request service at CCMC exposed the modeling system to community (>50 users, <1500 runs) and resulted in numerous presentations, papers, thesis, and educational materials. This together with validation by CCMC, contributed to selection of WSA-ENLIL-Cone as the first numerical model to be transitioned into operation at NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) and NASA Space Weather Center (SWC). Recent operational results show that improvement in predicting the CMEs arrival has been achieved.

However as these results begin to accumulate, it also shows that accurate predictions are achieved mostly if the solar wind is stable and if multi-spacecraft observations of CME onset obtained by STEREO are used. Since operational STEREO-like system is not yet planned, space weather forecasting is facing a serious problem. Further this system as incorporated at NOAA and NASA does not cover other phenomena important to heliospheric research and forecasting, and does not take full advantage of available observations.

We propose to develop an integrated real-time modeling system for heliospheric space weather forecasting that will significantly improve current operational capabilities and will provide valuable tool to research and education community. Our five-year project will (1) Develop the critical but missing components for real-time prediction of the southward IMF component at geospace and solar-energetic particle fluxes at planets and spacecraft; (2) Improve the semi-automatic CME parametrization, ensemble modeling, and probabilistic forecasting; (3) Increase the predictive accuracy by on-the-fly comparison of simulated scenarios with remote and in-situ observations. This system when transitioned to SWC will provide operational support to NASA missions. Simulations of all CMEs observed during STEREO era will support research community. While these objectives look very ambitious, many elements are already working in a preliminary state. Proposed project improves them and brings together, and produces new system that will exercise their collective capabilities in both research and operational settings. Project brings together model developers, experienced observers, users familiar with validation and operational use, graduate students, and domestic/foreign collaborators. Most of team members are at NASA/GSFC which will facilitate collaborative development and smooth transition to NASA/SWC and ultimately to NOAA/SWPC.


Performance YearReferenceInvestigation TypeActions
1Vršnak, B.; Temmer, M.; Žic, T.; Taktakishvili, A.;...
not set


Performance YearReferenceActions
1Odstrcil, Dusan; (2013), Helio Weather: Development of the I...
1Odstrcil, D.; Helio Weather Team; (2013), HelioWeather: ...
1Odstrcil, Dusan; Vandas, Marek; (2015), Modeling Detache...
1Odstrcil, Dusan; (2016) Modeling Detached Magnetic Structure...
1Wold, A. M.; Mays, M. L.; Taktakishvili, A.; Jian, ...
1Yu, H. S.; Jackson, B. V.; Buffington, A.; Hick, P. P.; Toku...

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