5.5 Operational forecasting advances for the ionosphere, thermosphere, and Sun

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 4:30 PM
Room 16B (Austin Convention Center)
W. Kent Tobiska, Utah State Univ., Logan, UT; and R. W. Schunk, J. Sojka, H. Carlson, L. Gardner, L. Scherliess, L. Zhu, D. Rice, D. Bouwer, J. Bailey, and D. Knipp

Space weather's effects upon the near-Earth environment are due to dynamic changes in the energy transfer processes from the Sun's photons, particles, and fields. Of the space environment domains that are affected by space weather, the ionosphere, thermosphere, and even troposphere are key regions that are affected. The Utah State University (USU) Space Weather Center (SWC) and Space Environment Technologies (SET) are developing and producing commercial space weather applications. Key systems for providing timely information about the effects of space weather are SWC's Global Assimilation of Ionospheric Measurements (GAIM) system, SET's Magnetosphere Alert and Prediction System (MAPS), and SET's Automated Radiation Measurements for Aviation Safety (ARMAS) system. GAIM, operated by SWC, improves real-time communication and navigation systems by continuously ingesting up to 10,000 slant TEC measurements every 15-minutes from approximately 500 stations. Ionosonde data from several dozen global stations is ingested every 15 minutes to improve the vertical profiles within GAIM. These operational runs enable the reporting of global radio high frequency (HF) signal strengths and near vertical incidence skywave (NVIS) maps used by amateur radio operators and emergency responders via the http://q-upnow.com website. MAPS provides a forecast Dst index out to 6 days through the data-driven Anemomilos algorithm. Anemomilos uses observational proxies for the magnitude, location, and velocity of solar ejecta events. This forecast index is used by satellite operations to characterize upcoming geomagnetic storms, for example. ARMAS is demonstrating a prototype flight of microdosimeters on aircraft to capture the “weather” of the radiation environment for air-crew and passenger safety. It assimilates real-time radiation dose and dose rate data into the global NAIRAS radiation system to correct the global climatology for more accurate radiation fields along flight tracks. This team also provides the space weather smartphone app called SpaceWx for iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android for professional users and public space weather education. SpaceWx displays the real-time solar, heliosphere, magnetosphere, thermosphere, and ionosphere drivers to changes in the total electron content, for example, as well as global NVIS maps. We describe recent forecasting advances for moving space weather information through automated systems into operational, derivative products for communications, aviation, and satellite operations uses.
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