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.

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 October 1, 2014 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 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