National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Living With A Star

Targeted Research and Technology

Response of the Atmosphere to Impulsive Solar Events (RAISE)

ROSES ID: NNH13ZDA001N      Selection Year: 2013      

Program Element: Targeted Science Team

  • Science Topic: Short term solar/atmospheric variability and climate

Principal Investigator: Cora Randall

Affiliation(s): University of Colorado

Project Member(s):
Coster, Anthea J. Co-I/Institutional PI MIT Haystack Observatory
Seppala, Annika Collaborator Finnish Meteorological Institute
Langematz, Ulrike Collaborator Freie Universitaet Berlin
Kinnison, Douglas Edward Co-I NCAR
Caspi, Amir Co-I Southwest Research Institute
Schmidt, Hauke Collaborator Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
Harvey, V. Lynn Co-I University of Colorado
Qian, Liying Co-I UCAR
Woods, Thomas N. Co-I University of Colorado
Jackman, Charles H Co-I/Institutional PI NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Solomon, Stanley C. Co-I/Institutional PI University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
Verronen, Pekka T Collaborator Finnish Meteorological Institute
Funke, Bernd Collaborator Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC)
Marsh, Daniel Robert Co-I National Center for Atmospheric Research
Sinnhuber, Miriam Collaborator Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Matthes, Katja Bettina Collaborator GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Liu, Han-Li Co-I University Corporation for Atmospheric Research


The Response of the Atmosphere to Impulsive Solar Events (RAISE) Targeted Science Team will comprehensively address the Focused Science Topic Short term solar/atmospheric variability and climate. Our goal is to answer the broad question of how the Earth's atmosphere responds to impulsive solar events (ISEs). The proposed work has four primary objectives:

(1) How well do coupled chemistry climate models simulate effects of recent ISEs?

(2) What are the primary factors that control the atmospheric response to ISEs?

(3) What is the range and sensitivity of the atmospheric response to ISEs?

(4) Are there long-term, cumulative effects of ISEs on the atmosphere and climate, and with what certainty can these effects be modeled?

Solar energy input is a critical driver of the Earth's climate system, yet the climatic effects of ISEs are poorly understood. The key to improving our knowledge is unraveling the complex response of the atmosphere to ISEs, to clarify the mechanisms by which impulsive radiation and particle variations impact the atmosphere. RAISE is designed to address this challenge, and to explore implications for the climatological response of the Earth's atmosphere to ISEs. The focus of RAISE is variations in energetic particles and short-wavelength radiation that occur during ISEs. The bulk of this energy is initially absorbed in the upper atmosphere. Through dynamical and chemical processes the absorbed energy is redistributed, and its effects amplified through such mechanisms as catalytic cycles and nonlinear wave/mean-flow interactions. This coupling, and the extent to which it causes ISEs, either individually or cumulatively, to influence the atmosphere on time scales much longer than the ISE duration, are poorly understood.

RAISE will investigate these processes using measurements of high-energy solar particles and photons, comprehensive atmospheric models, observations of the atmosphere and ionosphere, and a team with the collective expertise to address the interdisciplinary aspects of this problem. The primary modeling tool is the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) under development at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). This model will be driven with solar and magnetospheric inputs derived from space-based measurements, during quiet times and during ISEs, to investigate the physical mechanisms of ISE effects and their interaction with atmospheric dynamics. We will compare model simulation results with atmospheric observations from many space-based sources, and with ground-based observations of ionospheric changes. The measurement analyses will be performed for model validation and to explore the natural and event-driven components of variability. The interaction of atmospheric dynamics with chemical processes in the middle atmosphere will be investigated with ensemble model simulations and with runs constrained to observed meteorology. Ionospheric effects and changes in the global electrodynamo, driven by flare ionization as well as auroral processes, will be evaluated. Finally, we will ascertain through multiple ensemble simulations whether the model can produce any effects on stratospheric or even tropospheric climate, through episodic or cumulative forcing by ISEs.


Performance YearReferenceActions
1Randall, Cora; Bailey, Scott; Harvey, V. Lynn; Marsh,...

Export to PDF