Monday, March 27, 2017

Objective 1

Improved accuracy of 1-4 day forecasts of geomagnetic storms.

The energy for geomagnetic storms originates from the sun in the form of a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). It takes several days to propagate to Earth. Improving the detection and assessment of CME’s through observations with operational coronagraphs will greatly improve NOAA’s ability to forecast geomagnetic storms, which can disrupt the Nation’s power grid, wireless communication network, and transportation infrastructure. Measuring and tracking the magnetic configuration within the CME will greatly improve the accuracy of the forecasts of the strength of the resulting geomagnetic storm.

R&D Targets:

  • Develop an operational coronagraph flown and supported within the NOAA satellite program
  • Develop methods of estimating the magnetic field configuration within a CME

Objective 2

Localized specification and forecasts of the impacts of geomagnetic storms at ground level.

Critical customers, such as electric power companies, have requested specific improvements in space weather forecasts, such as regional specification and forecasts of the impact of geomagnetic storms (currently only the global index of the strength of the storm is provided). Research is underway, in partnership with the USGS and NASA, to gather regional information from a network of ground observations and develop maps of the impact of geomagnetic storms. Forecasting these regional impacts requires the introduction of a new Geospace model into operations. R&D activities are underway in collaboration with NASA to evaluate and test models from the research community for transition into operations.

R&D Targets:

  • Develop and test the DSCOVR spacecraft and ground data processing system to insure continuity of solar wind observations that drive Geospace models
  • Develop regional and local specification of the geomagnetic conditions relevant to the National electric power grid
  • Identify the best Geospace model for forecasting local geomagnetic storm conditions and begun the transition of this model into operations

Objective 3

Predictions of ionospheric conditions relevant to Global Navigation Satellite System users.

The observation and modeling of ionospheric structures that modify or block the signals from radio navigation systems such as Global Positioning System is critical to providing customers with the services they are requesting. Global Radio Occultation (RO) observations will provide key inputs to the products and models. Developing a Whole Atmosphere Model (WAM) coupled with an Ionosphere-Plasmasphere-Electrodynamics model (IPE) will provide the necessary framework for forecasting ionospheric conditions.

R&D Targets:

  • Develop assimilative models for COSMIC II data
  • Couple NOAA’s operational WAM (e.g. the extended Global Forecast System) to the Ionosphere Plasmasphere Electrodynamics model (IPE)
  • Assess the impact of data assimilation in ionosphere-thermosphere forecast modeling

Objective 4

Improved specification and forecasts of the radiation environment for satellites and commercial aircraft.

Satellite operators have requested products that turn localized NOAA satellite measurements of the radiation environment into global actionable information on how the environment may damage satellite systems. New products to monitor and forecast radiation exposure for air traffic are sought by commercial airline operators and crew. These new products require modeling of the radiation environment. Current research models provide some utility but a full assessment of model capability and accuracy is needed.

R&D Targets:

  • Develop models that predict the radiation environment at aircraft and satellite altitudes