Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plasma flows may shed light on predicting sunspot cycles

Date:
March 23, 2012
Source:
North Dakota State University
Summary:
A geophysics researcher wants to look inside the sun. More accurately, she wants to simulate the sun to study plasma flows associated with sunspot cycles. With the help of simulations scientists recently warned about a series of solar storms in early March, concerned that it could affect global positioning systems, power grids, satellites and airplane travel.

Geophysics researcher Cherish Bauer-Reich wants to look inside the sun. More accurately, she wants to simulate the sun to study plasma flows associated with sunspot cycles. The cycles play a role in solar storms, which can affect satellites and disrupt a host of modern communication technologies, from cell phones to power grids.

Related Articles


Scientists recently warned about a series of solar storms in early March, concerned that it could affect global positioning systems, power grids, satellites and airplane travel. With the sun's normal cycle, these very active solar storms are expected to continue.

Bauer-Reich, a research engineer at North Dakota State University's Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, is pursuing her doctorate degree in geophysics, using supercomputing power to create a model of the sun. The Center for Computationally Assisted Science and Technology (CCAST) at North Dakota State University provides the power for Bauer-Reich's research. She found that CCAST in Fargo provided an easily accessible route to the supercomputing needed. NDSU's supercomputing center (CCAST) is available to students, faculty and staff researchers, and available for researchers and industry that are partnering with NDSU.

While people have heard of sunspots, most aren't aware of what actually causes them. "It's a large tube of magnetic flux basically," says Bauer-Reich. "Sunspots reduce the amount of heat and the amount of light coming out of the sun, which is why they look dark. It's because they're at different temperatures than the rest of the area around them."

Sunspots tend to work in cycles, starting at high latitudes and then migrating toward the equator. "Helioseismologists study vibrations in the sun and they image what's underneath the outer layer. What they've found is that when these sunspots are popping up, there's also a flow right next to them, so that the plasma is flowing at a different speed than on either side of them. What I'm studying is how strong that flow has to be," says Bauer-Reich. "The only way to do it is to come up with these models that try to predict behavior."

Bauer-Reich expects running all the computer models on CCAST will take approximately a year, followed by the data analysis. According to Dr. Martin Ossowski, CCAST director, major research areas at the facility include: materials science, renewable energy, multiprocessor electronic circuitry, simulation of atmospheric plasma, monitoring the health of bridges and vehicles, computational biology, tissue engineering, and agroinformatics.

"We assist researchers who are pursuing discovery in energy, materials, environment, health, security, and in other areas of national research priority," said Ossowski. He notes today's supercomputing environment emphasizes not only speed, but the ability to help researchers tailor software to conduct their research, and meet researchers' data lifecycle needs.

Supercomputing is as important to business as it is to scientific researchers. In a white paper titled "Global Leadership Through Modeling and Simulation," the U.S. Council on Competitiveness said "to out-compete is to out-compute." For example, Boeing used a national supercomputing center to accelerate design of the 787 and 747-8 airliners and Navistar Corp. designed technologies for better fuel efficiency in trucks.

The need for supercomputing facilities and those with specialized skills is expected to grow. According to Ossowski, the line between computer programmers and scientists is increasingly blurry. He notes that there will be an increasing need for interdisciplinary research teams, as well as for scientists who are algorithm and code developers, and for programmers who are scientists. "It represents a critical shift in how research problems are approached."

CCAST at NDSU provides high performance computing infrastructure for the university, its Research and Technology Park and their industrial partners, and engages in its own original research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Dakota State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Dakota State University. "Plasma flows may shed light on predicting sunspot cycles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120323093651.htm>.
North Dakota State University. (2012, March 23). Plasma flows may shed light on predicting sunspot cycles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120323093651.htm
North Dakota State University. "Plasma flows may shed light on predicting sunspot cycles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120323093651.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

AP (Feb. 28, 2015) Researchers following endangered killer whales spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low. (Feb. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bridge Collapses Due to Flooding in Bolivia

Bridge Collapses Due to Flooding in Bolivia

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 28, 2015) Heavy rain and flooding sweep through parts of Bolivia causing damage and leaves more than 2,000 people homeless. Sophia Soo reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

AFP (Feb. 27, 2015) More than 200 people have been killed in a series of avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall in Afghanistan. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) The presidents of France and the Philippines issue a joint appeal for a binding agreement on climate change. Katie Sargent reports. Video provided by Reuters
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