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An approach to test and exercise for space weather system for storming conditions

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Monday, 24 January 2011
An approach to test and exercise for space weather system for storming conditions
Rhonda S. Davis, Northrop Grumman, Colorado Springs, CO; and D. H. Polk, R. Vigeant, and S. L. McNew

Poster PDF (753.9 kB)

The solar cycle typically follows an 11-year period. But we have also seen significant storms over the past 150 years that warrant attention in preparing operational crews and stress-testing systems to gain insight regarding a “state of readiness” for these events. The type, severity, source, and timing of the observations, alerts, and warnings all play a role in setting up these scenarios for the purposes of test, exercise, and training. Retrieving this data from past events and using them within test scenarios provides a means to test the robustness of the system and verify the system's ability to operate successfully under stress conditions. This paper provides an approach to collect historical data (including the 1859 storm – aka the Solar Superstorm) and describes a set of activities to simulate and fabricate input observations that fit into a realistic scenario. It is not as simple as running previous messages from a past solar storm through the software as these messages may no longer be in the correct format. The data must then be coded into the new message formats and ingested in the correct order and cadence to provide a realistic chain of events to assess software behavior. These scenarios may be used to determine the amount of Forecaster-in-the-Loop work that must be done at a time of “Solar Maximum” and assist in training. They may also be used to identify software defects as well as communication and system throughput issues at both times of significant space weather activity and significant inactivity. Scenarios would be structured to follow a realistic pattern of events. The scenario would send data in to a message processing system, which would process the information and create space weather products on a nominal schedule. Observations from different domains, such as solar (optical and radio), satellite, and ground stations would have to be synchronized to create realistic scenarios that simulate natural environmental conditions. Types of scenarios that may be created include: solar maximum, solar minimum, historical storms, stress conditions, and customized storming conditions. These scenarios differ with respect to volume of data, data extremes, and timing. Past archives will be searched for messages during significant past storming periods. The messages would be analyzed for format and for fields that must be modified (such as dates), and arranged chronologically to use as a starting point for creating historical scenarios. Current data may be used to create stress tests and customized solar storms, focusing on the testing of a specific part of the system. For historic events that occurred prior to the availability of contemporary sensors, simulated data can be generated consistent with the event.