A coronal mass ejection (CME) in a model; the CME is the gray cloud toward the lower right. Credit: Dusan Odstrcil, George Mason University
The first large-scale, physics-based space weather prediction model is transitioning from research into operation.
affiliated with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for
Integrated Space Weather Modeling (CISM) and the National Weather
Service reported the news today at the annual American Meteorological
Society (AMS) meeting in Seattle, Wash.
model will provide forecasters with a one-to-four day advance warning
of high speed streams of solar plasma and Earth-directed coronal mass
streams from the Sun may severely disrupt or damage space- and
ground-based communications systems, and pose hazards to satellite
is an NSF Science and Technology Center (STC) made up of 11 member
institutions. Established in 2002, CISM researchers address the emerging
system-science of Sun-to-Earth space weather.
research-to-operations transition has been enabled by an unprecedented
partnership between the Boston University-led CISM and the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Space Weather Prediction
very exciting to pioneer a path from research to operations in space
weather,” says scientist Jeffrey Hughes of Boston University, CISM’s
director. “The science is having a real impact on the practical problem
of predicting when ‘solar storms’ will affect us here on Earth.”
development comes in response to the growing critical need to protect
the global communications infrastructure and other sensitive
technologies from severe space weather disruptions.
transition culminates several years of close cooperation between CISM
and its partner organizations to integrate, improve and validate a model
for operational forecast use.
milestone represents important scientific progress, and underscores the
effectiveness of NSF’s Science and Technology Centers in applying
research results to real-world problems,” says Robert Robinson of NSF’s
Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funds CISM.
team members worked on-site with scientists and forecasters at NOAA’s
Space Weather Prediction Center to improve models and visualizations.
key team members co-located during this critical phase of development
enabled an ongoing discussion between forecasters and scientists that
enhanced the development of the model, says Hughes, and ultimately led
to NOAA’s decision to bring it into operation as the first large-scale
physics-based space weather model.
research and education activities center on developing and validating
physics-based numerical simulation models that describe the space
environment from the Sun to the Earth.
models have important applications in understanding the complex space
environment, developing space weather specifications and forecasts, and
designing advanced tools for teaching, Hughes says.
partners include the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, NASA’s
Community Coordinated Modeling Center, and the NOAA Space Weather
lead model developers for the work are CISM team members Dusan Odstrcil
of George Mason University and Nick Arge of the Air Force Research Lab.
NSF Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling: http://www.bu.edu/cism