Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Space weather prediction model improves forecasting

Date:
December 13, 2011
Source:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Summary:
NOAA is now using a sophisticated forecast model that substantially improves predictions of space weather impacts on Earth. Better forecasts offer additional protection for people and the technology-based infrastructure we use daily.

A space weather forecast model, which forecast the arrival of three successive coronal mass ejections - big blasts of plasma from the Sun - in early August.
Credit: NOAA

NOAA is now using a sophisticated forecast model that substantially improves predictions of space weather impacts on Earth. Better forecasts offer additional protection for people and the technology-based infrastructure we use daily.

Explosions in the sun's outer atmosphere -- tracked and forecast by NOAA scientists -- can cause geomagnetic and solar radiation storms at Earth that can impede the operation of electrical power grids, interfere with the normal function of Global Positioning Systems and temporarily hamper radio and satellite telecommunications. Grid and satellite operators and airlines can take protective measures when stormy conditions are forecast.

"This advanced model has strengthened forecasters' understanding of what happens in the 93 million miles between Earth and the sun following a solar disturbance," said Tom Bogdan, director of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo. "It will help power grid and communications technology managers know what to expect so they can protect infrastructure and the public."

Magnetic storms can occur on Earth 1-4 days after a coronal mass ejection -- a burst of charged particles and magnetic field that streams out from the sun at more than one million miles an hour. Before development of this model, forecasters could predict timing of such impacts within a 30-hour window, on average. The new model allows forecasters to narrow that window to 12 hours.

That improvement gives airline operators more reliable information about when to reroute flights to avoid communications blackouts from storms. Satellite operators can avoid changing orbit or orientation when space weather threatens. Oil drilling, mining and other operations that rely on global positioning systems -- which can be made unreliable by space weather -- can avoid conditions that might put operators at risk. Power companies can work to prevent problems.

"The shorter prediction timeframe will enable the electric industry to better prepare for potential issues," said Gerry Cauley, president and chief executive officer of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. "The continued improvement of forecasting through innovation and modernization of the existing satellite infrastructure is vital to support the reliability of North America's bulk electric system."

The new model, WSA-Enlil, combines two advanced models, the Wang-Sheeley-Arge (WSA) and Enlil (named for the Sumerian god of wind). These linked numerical forecast models simulate physical conditions and phenomena from the base of the sun's corona out into interplanetary space, to Earth and beyond. Space weather scientists "inject" solar events into the WSA-Enlil model to understand how the space weather storm system is likely to unfold.

Scientists with NOAA, NASA, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Boston University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and George Mason University collaborated to develop the model.

The model has been used in experimental mode for several months and has accurately forecast the timing of recent space weather events. NOAA began running the new model on its supercomputers officially on September 30.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Space weather prediction model improves forecasting." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020145108.htm>.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2011, December 13). Space weather prediction model improves forecasting. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020145108.htm
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Space weather prediction model improves forecasting." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020145108.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A dozen more bodies were found Wednesday as Japanese rescuers resumed efforts to find survivors and retrieve bodies of those trapped by Mount Ontake's eruption. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A Spanish scientist, who spent 12 days trapped about 1300 feet underground in a cave in Peru's remote Amazon region, was rescued on Tuesday. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — California is the first state in the country to ban single-use plastic bags in grocery, liquor and convenience stores. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins