6.1 Applying NASA SPoRT's R2O/O2R Paradigm to Space Weather: MAG4 Applications and Assessment at SWPC

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 10:30 AM
205A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
A. LeRoy, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL; and S. Dahl, D. A. Falconer, R. E. Allen, and C. D. Fry

In the operational space weather community, forecasting the timing and intensity of solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and particle events that may be produced from a sunspot group can be a time-consuming endeavor with imprecise results. It is also a forecast challenge with high stakes; highly energetic solar activity poses a significant threat to vulnerable equipment, infrastructure, and people. Forecast entities like the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) require observations and forecast tools to help issue guidance regarding space weather threats. One tool that helps improve the efficiency and accuracy of flare forecasts is MAG4 (Falconer 2011). MAG4 produces a forecast of flares, CMEs, and particle events by using a database of magnetograms and events and exploiting the empirical relationship between magnetic free energy and event rates. This technique can be modified to use magnetograms from several different instruments, is reliable to about 45 degrees from disk center, and is an objective and time-efficient method to analyze active regions and flares on the sun.

While discovering and implementing the experimental methods in research is challenging, these solutions are of little value unless they can be provided to an end-user with a specific need and in a format that seamlessly integrates with that user’s current procedures. To facilitate the training, transition, and assessment of MAG4 in operations at SWPC, NASA SPoRT utilized its existing terrestrial weather R2O/O2R paradigm for space weather. This included engaging with end users at SWPC and with the MAG4 team to provide a data distribution method that is convenient for SPWC. SPoRT developed an applications-oriented training module to prepare end users to use this data in operations and conducted a formal assessment to understand the impact of MAG4 in operations. Throughout this process, forecasters could provide recommendations to the science team for future versions of the MAG4 product. Herein we describe our paradigm for conducting O2R/R2O activities at SWPC, and we present results from assessment activities that evaluated the impact of MAG4 on SPWC operations.

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