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SOTERIA Report Summary

Project ID: 218816
Funded under: FP7-SPACE
Country: Belgium

Final Report Summary - SOTERIA (SOlar-TERrestrial Investigations and Archives)

Executive Summary:
Space weather refers to conditions on the Sun, in the interplanetary space and in the Earth space environment that can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems and can endanger human life or health. Adverse conditions in the space environment can cause disruption of satellite operations, communications, navigation, and electric power distribution grids, leading to a variety of socioeconomic losses. The conditions in space are also linked to the Earth climate. The activity of the Sun affects the total amount of heat and light reaching the Earth and the amount of cosmic rays arriving in the atmosphere, a phenomenon linked with the amount of cloud cover and precipitation. Given these great impacts on society, space weather is attracting a growing attention and is the subject of international efforts worldwide.

We live in an era when the concept of environment is enormously extended. It is not bound to the accessible terrestrial sites, oceans and atmosphere, but it also comprises the extraterrestrial environment including the Sun. What we observe in this expanded and dynamic environment is called Space Weather. Influences of the Sun on the Earth come through the solar spectrum of radiation, which provides us with light and heat, and through other changing features of the solar activity. Some of the most important and impressive phenomena of the solar activity include solar flares and coronal mass ejection (CME) respectively. CMEs carry tremendous amounts of plasma and energy through the solar system, and those which hit the Earth can, in some cases, lead to dramatic consequences. When a CME reaches the Earth, complex series of events in the magnetosphere and ionosphere are triggered, with effects down to the lower atmosphere and on the ground.

SOTERIA, a FP7 Space Science project, improved our understanding of the space weather phenomena through collaboration between experts in different fields of solar, space, and geophysics. The main goal is to make better use of existing data and provide better databases, which will go beyond the present state-of-the-art in regard to details, time-resolution and improved methods of accessing it.

The studies conducted by SOTERIA involve the analysis and processing of the relevant data from 18 satellites, including several ESA and other European satellites. The study is complemented by a large set of data from European ground-based observatories. SOTERIA includes also considerable effort in utilizing and developing theoretical and simulation models for interpreting the space weather data.

The final outcome of Soteria includes numerous publications, various outreach activities and a large inventory of results, deliverable, reports. All made public and distributed via the SOTERIA web site: soteria-space.Eu. But especially important are two chief achievements of SOTERIA:

1. The SOTERIA virtual observatory ( collecting all the observational data collected by SOTERIA and providing it in a rationalised and organised way via a web interface based on the state of the art software. The site will continue to accrue data and provide it to the public even after the end of the project.

2. A web interface with all the predictive tools developed by SOTERIA ( and available for the public to predict future space weather.

Project Context and Objectives:
The activities covered by SOTERIA cover all aspects of the complex Sun-Earth connection:

Photosphere and Chromosphere (Fig 1). Starting at the source of the space weather events, the first activity area focuses on the solar photosphere and chromosphere that are the lowest visible strata of the Sun. The activities developing there are largely determined by what happens under the visible surface, in the interior of the Sun, an area that can currently be explored by helioseismology, a discipline that uses wave activities on the visible surface to detect the underlying structures (similar in principle to the seismology studies done on the Earth for example to detect underground oil reservoirs). SOTERIA collects all the available type of information on the photospheric and chromospheric features of the Sun relevant to space weather.

Global changes in the solar activity are characterized by an 11-year cycle. The new cycle has recently begun, with an increasingly active phase coming, making the study of space weather even more urgent. Significant puzzlement has been stirring the community in the past years due to the apparent delay in the start of the current phase of increased solar activity, an issue where the historic data collected as part of the SOTERIA project will prove valuable.

Solar Corona (Fig 2). The next layer of the solar atmosphere is the corona, visible by the unaided eye during solar eclipses as a crown around the Sun, giving it its name. SOTERIA focuses on bringing to bear the full range of observational tools on the ground and on satellites, including new and planned missions, and of theoretical and simulation tools to advance our ability to understand and predict the dynamic processes of the solar corona, such as the streamers, the flares and the eruptive evolution of solar arcades leading to the so-called CME, coronal mass ejection.

Heliospheric Evolution and Terrestrial Impact (Fig 3). The solar wind emanating from the Sun carries with it the solar magnetic field and the disturbances caused by the dynamic events on the Sun. The interaction of this complex medium with the planets and especially of course with the Earth is at the core of the study of space weather. The SOTERIA project uses dedicated existing tools, observational and theoretical, to understand this interaction. A catalog of events covering some of the most common and most interesting occurrences in the space weather is created and a large collaborative effort is made to investigate them with all tools available (some of which are in collaboration with American institutions, such as the Community Coordinated Modelling Center of NASA) and by all teams with expertise in this field within SOTERIA. But we also are developing new tools to harness the expertise of some SOTERIA partners in other areas of environmental forecasting (such as the meteorological predictions or the ocean modelling). We developed a new statistical approach to couple observational data into theoretical simulations (the so-called data assimilation) to improve the predictive capability.

Irradiance. Of course the solar influence on the Earth and space is not limited to the solar wind, also the light comes from the Sun! An accurate estimation of the effects of solar events and natural solar cycles is key in our understanding of the Sun-Earth connection, with implications also for the complete understanding of the mechanisms constraining the climate. In SOTERIA, we focus on the variability and the origin of the UltraViolet radiation, which is likely to play a major role in the Sun-climate connection, and also develop models to understand its impact on the upper atmosphere.

Finally SOTERIA puts the largest emphasis on making all the models (see Fig 4 for an example of SOTERIA modelling on high performance supercomputers) and all the observations described above available not only in their raw format but in a more organized common frame that maximizes the value of data previously scattered and presented incoherently. As part of this effort, SOTERIA relied not only on state of the art internet-based software tools (including both software tools developed by the USA research efforts and by other European efforts such as the FP7 project HELIO) but also organized outreach for the general public and training for scientists, in collaboration with other European efforts, funded by COST and international institutions such as the UNESCO International Center for Theoretical Physics, targeting especially to reach young scientists in developing countries.

The team of the SOTERIA project is coordinated by Giovanni Lapenta of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and includes scientists from institutions in 8 EU countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Hungary, France, Poland, Finland) and in 3 non-EU countries (Switzerland, Croatia and Russia). The web site for SOTERIA is

Figure 1: This image of the Sun, taken in the H-alpha line of Hydrogen, captures two moderate solar flares (bright white ribbons) occurring simultaneously on September, 25, 2011 (9h19mUT). It illustrates the recent strong rise of solar activity on the way to the next maximum expected in 2013, following a very quiet period that was also exceptionally long, from 2008 to 2010. This image, produced by the USET telescope (Royal Observatory of Belgium), is part of the synoptic data archive collected in the course of the SoTerIA FP7 project.

Figure 2: Recent image of a substantial coronal mass ejection (CME) erupted from the Sun on Oct. 22.

Figure 3: aurora borealis above Bear Lake, Alaska, USA in January 2005, voted Wikipedia Commons Picture of the Year for 2006. From

Figure 4: Electronic current in a 3D simulation of magnetic reconnection without guide field. Magnetic reconnection is the process of magnetic field annihilation and energy release into the space environment. Simulations conducted by the KU Leuven beneficiary in collaboration with Stefano Markidis of University of Illinois and with the NASA MMS Mission. Some of the fastest computers in Europe and the USA were used, including NASA's Pleiades and the Vlaams Supercomputer Centrum.

Project Results:
We organise the achievements of the project in terms of the work packages that formed the project.
WP2 Photosphere
All deliverables of WP2 were reached as planned in the last year of the project, after showing a constant and timely progress in the previous years. The main results are:
Deliverable D2.1 "SOHO/MDI continuum faculae". After having been appropriately calibrated, tested and installed the area-measuring software has been run on the properly selected observations of the entire SOHO/MDI period. The catalogue is accessible at the address: The significance of the new material lays in its novelty. Solar faculae contribute to the solar irradiance by excess radiation but up to now this contribution had to be accounted through proxy data. The new dataset provides a direct measure of the facular role in the irradiance variations. In the future correlations and cross-calibrations are planned with the existing datasets, primarily with facular data observed in the chromospheric K line.

Deliverable D2.2 "SOHO/MDI-Debrecen sunspot Data". The sunspot data have been produced and are currently accessible at the above mentioned address: At present, this dataset is the only catalogue containing data of positions, areas and magnetic fields for sunspot groups, all sunspots, umbrae and penumbrae in hourly cadence for the entire SOHO/MDI era: 1997-2011. Furthermore, the online material contains all original full-disc images and magnetograms. The entire material is handled through a html interface in which the user can easily survey the progress of activity by turning the pages of the observational moments. By clicking on the specific active regions all their numerical data and the images of the active regions can be seen. Additional features are also added to the material which have not been proposed in the Annex: a MySQL search facility is installed to find selected activity features, data of sunspot group tilts have also been added to the catalogue. In a parallel way the traditional DPD (Debrecen Photoheliographic Data) catalogue also achieved a significant progress: it covers already 24 years (1986-2009). A separate sunspot catalogue has also been completed for the cycles 22 and 23 by merging different catalogues and filtering their specific biases. This catalogue is accessible at

Deliverable D2.3 "NaD1 magnetograms". This delivery has been changed. The original proposal of the OBSPARIS for high resolution magnetograms became partly impossible (for personal and instrumental reasons) and partly unnecessary (because of the launch of SDO spacecraft). On one hand the OBSPARIS proposed another deliverable in WP3, the D3.8 entitled "Coupling observations coronal magnetic modeling and MHD numerical simulations". On the other hand the hourly selection of SDO magnetograms are being uploaded continuously at the address: As an originally not proposed activity, SOHO/MDI magnetograms (of lower resolution) are also attached to the materials of the SDD catalogue. Thus, no loss happened with the change whereas a new scientific output was achieved.

Deliverable D2.4 "4 peer-reviewed publications". The previous deliverables were devoted to data production, the publication activity is collected in this deliverable. Up to this report eight peer-reviewed papers appeared in printed form, four further papers were accepted for publication and one has been submitted. The publication activity acknowledging SOTERIA support was even more intense than this. Four publications appeared in peer-reviewed conference proceedings and three reports will appear in a later issue of the same bulletin. Four reports were published in an IAU Symposium volume. Two papers are devoted to the solar active longitudes, partly to the non-axisymmetry of solar activity, partly to the longitudinal distribution of explosive events. Two further papers deal with the rotation of coronal structures by tracing bright features in the corona. The magnetic flux emergence is the subject of two appeared and three accepted papers, their twisted morphology, force-free modeling, flux outflow from emerging region, and a special morphological feature, the magnetic tongues. One paper describes the evolution of sunspot indices, which was one of the most important topics of cooperation between the WP participants. Long-term solar behaviour is investigated by data of cosmogenic isotopes (one appeared, one submitted paper), and by long-term variation of hemispheric phase lags (accepted paper). One submitted paper treats the role of small-sunspot deficit in the peculiarity of cycle 23. Further results related to the listed topics were reported at several conferences and published in conference proceedings.

Perhaps the main success of WP2 has been its ability to connect scientific centres once separated by an iron curtain and now engaged in a collaborative spirit to achieve common goals. The cooperation formed between the participants will be an important element in the future synergies.

WP3: Chromosphere and Corona

Databases for SPIRIT and TESIS data archives have been created and opened for public access through the web interface. The SPIRIT archive contains fits files of solar images in the 175 and 304 A bands and covers the period from 09/2001 to 11/2005. The TESIS archive contains fits files of solar images in the 171 and 304 A bands and covers the period from 06/2009 to 11/2009. Both the data archives have been converted to the level1 format.

A "STEREO database" has been completed at Planetarium Hamburg and is available through the SODA web interface. Real-time movies are displayed full dome during the regular planetarium shows and on the HDTV flat screens in the Planetarium's entrance area. Example of the performed data analysis:
* UNIGRAZ and UGOE are collaboration on a publication summarising the results of the solar/heliospheric data analysis of the multi-CME activity on August 1, 2010.
* KUL took advantage of the fortuitous positions of the STEREO, SDO and Venus Express spacecraft in August 2010 to conduct a unique study of homologous CMEs. The preliminary findings were presented at 'The Sun 360' workshop in July 2011, Kiel, Germany. The results of this work will be presented at the AGU Fall Meeting in December 2011.

The "Proba 2 SWAP and LYRA database" led by ROB is completed and daily SWAP movies are available at

"Coupling observations, coronal magnetic modeling, and MHD numerical simulations" has been published on-line at
Now eight sample cases on CME initiation demonstrate the achievements of SOTERIA in bringing together observers and theoreticians/modelers. The four new cases, which have been put on-line in the third year, are the following:
* case 5) Non-linear force-free field extrapolation of an emerging active region, based on Hinode SOT, XRT and EIS data and SOHO/MDI data. The details of the emergence of a twisted flux tube, the transformation of small-scale (serpentine) flux to large-scale active region-wide coronal loops through magnetic reconnection are captured by both observations and modeling. The excellent agreement between observational and NLFFF details testify that NLFFF modeling, in spite of its limitations, is able to provide a realistic description of the coronal magnetic field;
* case 6) This case is the result of a collaboration among three SOTERIA member institutes: OBSPARIS, UNIGRAZ and HVAR. A filament eruption, two-ribbon flare, and coronal mass ejection (CME) that occurred in active region NOAA 10898 on 6 July 2006 were analyzed. In the evolution leading up to the eruption, and for some time after it, a counter-clockwise global rotation of the leading sunspot of about 35 degrees was observed. It was suggested that the large sunspot rotation triggered the eruption by progressively weakening the field rooted in it, which was overlying the filament. This scenario was tested by means of three-dimensional (3D) zero-beta MHD simulations, using a modified Titov-Démoulin model. These simulations suggest a new mechanism for the triggering of filament eruptions and CME;
* case 7) This case describes a novel interpretation for the origin of ubiquitous hot plasma outflows from the edges of solar active regions, which may provide one of the sources of the slow solar wind. Using Hinode/EIS spectral scans and linear force-free field (LFFF) magnetic extrapolations based on SOHO/MDI data evidence was provided that these hot plasma outflows appear along quasi-separatrix layers and are products of magnetic (component) reconnection between closed and "open" or far-connecting field lines;
* case 8) This case describes theoretical and modelling studies of the formation of torus-unstable flux ropes and electric currents in erupting sigmoids, examining the roles of several physical mechanisms which have been suggested to trigger CMEs and revisiting the flux cancellation model.

The "3D Structure of Coronal Mass Ejections and Their Evolution in Space - Results and Visualisation Prospects" includes more than 500 Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) events have been identified in the STEREO/SECCHI/COR2 synoptic observations until September 22, 2010, of which until now more than 70 CME events have been modelled by applying the GCS method. The results support the magnetic flux rope structure of CMEs and add emphasis to the interaction of them with the ambient corona and solar wind. The event list has been made available online, an update including the latest results will be provided soon. The results will be visualized in the third year.

A study "Initiation of Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections" has been published in a document including material on observation and simulation of CME and flare initiation. The analysis of coronal large-amplitude waves and shocks triggered during the initiation phases of CME/flare events shows that the waves were related to both, the lateral expansion of CME flanks and to the flaring energy release process. Related to the studies for this SOTERIA deliverable, two sessions on reconnection and turbulence and in particular on CME initiation challenges have been organized at the SHINE meeting. Further sessions will take place at the next ESWW and AGU conferences. The SOTERIA "CME initiation challenge" provides useful benchmarks for different (MHD) codes modelling full three-dimensional triggering mechanisms leading to the ejection of coronal mass, especially as different magnetic flux rope configurations based different MHD fluid codes, e.g., FLIP3D-MHD, PLUTO. Scientific groups and institutes from all over the world are highly invited to join these challenge efforts on setting the paradigms in space-weather numerical modeling.

WP4: Heliosphere and Terrestrial Effects
The work of WP4 has been centered around five tasks described below. Both of these tasks are devoted development of new or improved methods of monitoring and predicting the various WP4 focus parameters. An impressive and varied list of new prediction and monitoring methods has been developed. As a result of this work three scientific reports (D4.4, D4.6 and D 4.7) have been completed and will be delivered on schedule. In addition a set of online tools for space weather prediction, including a user manual, and an improved geomagnetic index have been made available, and the associated report will likewise be delivered on schedule (D4.8).
Coordination of the activities has been done primarily at two separate WP4 meetings:
* A one day meeting in February in Brussels immediately prior to the SOTERIA "Capacity building workshop", devoted to detailed planning of the deliverables D4.6, D4.7 and D4.8.
* WP4 meetings in connection with the annual meeting in Leuven in April.
In addition bi-institutional visits have been made within the separate collaborative projects. Below the main achievements are described for each task separately.

Task 4.1: Interplanetary propagation
This task was led by HVAR with much enthusiasm including collaborations with many SOTERIA partners (KU Leuven, DTU, NOVELTIS, ObsParis, UNIGRAZ, UOulu, RTA-KFKI-RMKI) also outside of WP4, and also collaborations with a long list of partners outside of SOTERIA (see D4.2 for more detail) including CCMC. The interplanetary propagation of solar disturbances was studied applying empirical/statistical procedures, analytical MHD modeling, and numerical MHD simulations. The research can be summarized as follows:
- An analysis of CME propagation models has been performed concerning the impact and relative importance of various solar input parameters on the two model output parameters: arrival time and L1 solar wind parameters (wp4 focus parameters). Both the analytical drag-based model (DBM) and the ENLIL numerical code were evaluated. The results have been compared and published.
- DBM has been applied to seven events observed by STEREO/SECCHI to follow the ICME kinematics from Sun to ~ 1AU (collaboration with UNIGRAZ). In five events DBM reproduced the observations excellently, whereas in the remaining two events we inferred the prolonged action of the Lorentz force that caused departure from DBM results up to ~ 70 solar radii. Furthermore, we applied DBM to a statistical sample of CME/ICME pairs to perform statistical analysis of DBM performances. In this way found the key input parameters are the solar wind speed and the ratio of the CME angular width and mass.
- The empirical model relating the coronal hole size/position with the characteristics of CIRs was improved to the 6-hours resolution (paper in press). Furthermore the Data Assimilation technique developed as part of Task 4.5, was applied offering an outstanding possibility of forecasting the solar wind properties.
- We performed a detailed statistical analysis of the cosmic ray flux decreases caused by ICMEs and CIRs .It was shown that Forbush decreases lag after the arrival of ICMEs and that the average delay is comparable to a typical duration of the shock-sheath duration. Furthermore, it was documented that the magnetic field turbulence plays a dominant role in producing the cosmic ray deficit, indicating that the dominant mechanism is reduced field-aligned diffusion.

Task 4.2: Solar wind - magnetosphere coupling and the terrestrial impact
The main beneficiary of this task is KFKI-RMKI who was also hosting a successful WP4 workshop in Budapest in August. The task concerns scientific analysis of no less than seven WP4 focus parameters: Magnetopause location, Dst, SEP, Radiation belt flux, Auroral oval latitude, Ionospheric Joule heating and TEC. Contributing SOTERIA partners were UOulu, DTU, LPI, Noveltis and SRC PAN as well as several institutes external to SOTERIA. The main achievements can be summarized as follows:
- The displacements of the terrestrial magnetopause and that of the bow shock were investigated in details during three large geo-effective solar events which were included in the Event Catalogue compiled and delivered by WP4. The locations where the GOES and Cluster satellites observed the magnetopause under extreme solar wind conditions were compared with the predicitions of three different models. The 3D model of Lin et al. (JGR,2010) provided the best agreement in most cases.
- The variation in geomagnetic cut off latitude of radiation from solar energetic particles (SEPs) was studied using both SAMPEX and POES data. Local time variations was found to be directly related to local variations in magnetic field Dst disturbance, measured both from ground and satellite.
- The variation in the location of the auroral oval was studied, in particular the relation between the location of the auroral electrojets determined from geomagnetic variations (Task 4.3) and the location the precipitating trapped energetic particles creating the aurora. A close correspondence was found. In addition an algorithm has been developed and used to assess the auroral boundary from TEC maps (TEC-AB) for several magnetic storms. The TEC-AB was compared to auroral boundary index estimated from precipitation data from DMSP satellites. The results show good agreement during the expansion phase of storms whereas during quiet days the TEC-AB appears too noisy to be used.
- The new semi-empirical model that can determine the individual contributions of ring current, tail current and magnetopause current to the Dcx index, using solar wind parameters and the so-called isotropic boundary (an auroral precipitation boundary) as input, was published. The model has been compared to observations statistically, and individual magnetic storm events have been studied in more detail.
- The energy transfer and partitioning from the solar wind has been studied by developing new ways to estimate the two most important contributions: The injection of energetic particles into trapped orbits in the radiation belt/ring current region and the ionospheric Joule heating. The energy injection rate into the ring current was derived from the semi-empirical model of the contributions to the Dcx index. In addition we studied directly the trapped energetic proton fluxes as observed by LEO spacecraft and their dependence of solar wind parameters. A new method to estimate the Joule heating from an inversion of high latitude electrodynamics based on satellite magnetic data, developed as part of Task 4.3 was applied to an event study. The influence of various conductance models, including one determined from high-latitude TEC variations were studied, and the results compared to existing proxies of Joule heating.
- Two separate studies were conducted to study the effect of radiation on spacecraft instruments: the effect on the particle detectors on the NOAA/POES satellites and the effect on instruments for solar observations onboard the CORONAS satellite. The degradation due to radiation damage of the MEPED particle were studied using a large database from the long series of NOAA/POES satellites, and calibration factors that can be used to remove the effects were determined and published. The data obtained in the CORONAS-Photon/TESIS and the SPHINX experiments were processed, using a software specially developed to reveal signatures of impact of the radiation belt particles to the data in different parts of the satellite orbit. It was found that in the TESIS case the spatial distribution of the particle-produced signal corresponds to protons in the region of South Atlantic Anomaly, in the case of SPHINX - to electrons in the polar regions and SAA. The mean total dose of the charged particles accumulated by the TESIS detectors during one day of flight per one pixel was found to be well agreed (within 10%) with the SPENVIS radiation dose simulations.
- A study of the effect of Joule heating on atmospheric densities was performed by investigating altitude loss of the CHAMP satellite. The effect of Joule heating could clearly be distinguished and was compared to various geomagnetic proxies for the Joule heating (PCN/Dst-proxy, AE, Kp and Ap). The PCN/Dst-proxy and Ap (currently used in SPENVIS) were found to give the best correspondence to the CHAMP altitude loss.

Task 4.3: Geomagnetic diagnosis of the state of the magnetosphere and space weather
This task was led by UOulu, in collaboration with DTU, some SOTERIA partners outside WP4 and also with partners outside of SOTERIA (see D4.4 for more information). The underlying idea of this Task was to develop new methods and services for monitoring space weather based on geomagnetic activity. The relevant focus parameters are Dst/ring current, auroral boundary and Joule heating. The development of a web page server for monitoring the evolution of magnetic storms in real-time and in a better local accuracy than available so far (Dst/Dcx) and to provide related historical data has been achieved. The results are described in more details in deliverable D4.4. The main achievements can be summarized as follows:
* A web page service for the global and local Dst/Dcx index is ready at The server now contains historical data in terms of definite indices, including the hourly local and global indices based on four Dst stations for 1932-2009. The time interval is longer than initially aimed.
* Definite Dst/Dcx indices, both local and global, are also available for an extended network of 17 stations for 2000-2009. The network is larger and the time interval longer than initially aimed.
* Provisional and real-time Dst/Dcx indices, both local and global, are available for an extended network of 14 stations since 2010 until the present hour. The network is larger than initially aimed.
* Real-time index is calculated and updated in the server every 15 minutes. This is an improvement from the original update frequency of once in an hour, and allows for an earlier detection of major disturbances.
* Simulations of several geomagnetic storms and their development in different local time sectors were included in the server. The temporal accuracy in these simulations is one minute, much higher than the initial hourly resolution.
* The increased local time information of the Dcx server data was used to study average properties of geomagnetic storms in 1932-2009. It was found that the minimum local Dst index is typically 20-30% more disturbed than the global Dst minimum of the same storm. Also, the local time distribution strongly favors the 18LT sector, which is problematic since the disturbances are mainly due to ions that have been injected from the tail and drifted westward. A related publication is in press.
* An entirely new method to derive the global electrodynamics of the high-latitude ionosphere based on magnetic measurements from single (or multiple simultaneous) satellite passes has been developed. The method is based on a parametrization of the field-aligned current system in terms of parameters such as intensity, width and latitude field-aligned currents. Adding input concerning the ionospheric conductivity highly space weather relevant parameters such as location/latitude of the auroral electrojets, cross polar cap potential and ionospheric Joule heating can be derived directly. The method was validated based on a study of 12 medium to large magnetic storms.
* Two new methods which will help resolve the energy transfer and partitioning from the solar wind based on geomagnetic data have been developed: the high latitude electrodynamic inversion of satellite data, which will provide the ionospheric Joule heating, and the semi-empirical model of contributions to the Dcx index, which will provide the energy injection rate into the ring current (see Task 4.5). In addition the latitude of the auroral electrojets has been shown to be highly correlated with the latitude of the maximum energy of the auroral precipitating electrons, thus providing important quantitative information of the radiation pattern in LEO.

Task 4.3 Geomagnetic diagnosis of the state of the magnetosphere and space weather
In pursuit for consistent and reliable indices of geomagnetic storms, UOulu found that the traditional Dst index weights the disturbances of the four stations unequally. In fact, the Honolulu station is systematically overemphasized in the index and the Kakioka station has the smallest weight. This problem was recently solved and a related publication was completed. The solution of this problem also required that the calculation recipe of the Dcx index is modified. This has already been done and all the indices have been recalculated accordingly.
We have collected an extended data base of magnetic observations from 16 low to mid-latitude stations in 2000-2007 and calculated the local disturbances and the global Dst/Dcx indices for the stations of this extended network. Also, global asymmetries in disturbances were calculated and compared with earlier results. Preliminary analysis based on the extended network shows much greater local disturbances and global asymmetries than earlier detected by a smaller network. Obviously, these results will be quantified in more detail and published in near future.
UOulu developed a web page service (linked to the main Soteria web page) for the global and local Dst/Dcx indices. We have already constructed the first version of this service which includes the hourly indices based on four stations for 1932-2007 and on the extended network for 2000-2007. The service will be further developed to include more recent data, with the final aim of nearly real-time service.
DTU worked on an analysis of the magnetic data from Oersted, SAC-C and CHAMP satellites in order to define new measures of geomagnetic activity that can be used in connection with the ESA mission Swarm, currently scheduled to be launched in 2011. Two investigations are performed in parallel:
* A parameterisation of the high latitude electrodynamics, i.e. location, intensity and width of R1 and R2 currents based on vector magnetic measurement from 1-2 satellites. From these parameters the WP4 fo- cus parameters such as Joule heating and auroral oval location can be estimated. A previously developed method to calculate magnetic field disturbances observed along satellite track from these parameters, including the effect of the closing currents in the high latitude ionosphere, has been compared to obser- vations with promising results. A collaborative project with NOVELTIS to make a computation effective automatic best-fit estimation of the parameters based on the along track magnetic field observations has been initiated.
* The development of an algorithm to derive the location of the auroral region/auroral electrojets based solely on total magnetic field intensity measurements (i.e. vector components not required). A first attempt for such an algorithm, based on the calculation of along track second order derivatives has been made and the first test cases based on Oersted data have been examined. The auroral boundary index determined from the US DMSP satellites has been acquired and will be used as reference in the further work.

Task 4.5: Space weather model validation and forecasting
This task is led by KU Leuven and include collaborations with many institutions including NOVELTIS, HVAR, ROB, UNIGRAZ, UOulu, MTA-KFKI-RMKI, IEEA and DTU. The work mainly concerns development of new methods for space weather prediction, including data assimilation, and improvement of existing models, as well as validation of the new and existing capability. The list of focus parameters for which improved or new prediction capability has been developed is long and contains heliospheric, magnetospheric and ionospheric parameters. The results of these tasks are described in details in the deliverables D4.6 and D4.7. The main achievements so far can be summarized as follows:
* Validation and detailed analysis of performances was made on two different models for the heliospheric propagation of CMEs, the Drag-Based Model, DBM, and the global MHD model, ENLIL, run at the CCMC. The work was performed in tight collaboration primarily between Hvar and UNIGRAZ as well as KULeuven and DTU. At least 4 papers were published with several Soteria participants as co-authors.
o In the analysis of the performances of DBM limits and optimal values of the drag parameter and the ambient solar wind was determined. The optimum values are set as default values into the DBM online-tool. The output of the model provides users with a prediction of the arrival time of the ICME and its impact speed. The validation analysis has shown that in 50-60% of events the accuracy of the prediction is within 12 h.
o The performance of ENLIL was studied based on a multipoint approach using data from both Earth and Mars. The quality of the solar input parameters was found to be very important for the model performance. Generally ENLIL does well at arrival times and impact speed at Earth, for CMEs with well determined input parameters. The accuracy of the model varies significantly from event to event, but typical arrival time errors using low resolution runs are in the order of 10 hours of less, which is significantly improved if the input parameters are well determined. The speed, with well determined input parameters, is replicated to within 100 km/s. It generally over estimates density and the magnetic cloud is not included in the simulation, so this is not replicated in data, but the magnetic compression in the shock front of the ICME is, however, generally well-replicated.
* Similar analysis of the detailed model performance of the empirical model (CH/CIR) relating solar observations of equatorial coronal hole characteristics with the subsequent L1 solar wind properties and the related geomagnetic activity Dst and Ap (CH/CIR model) were performed. The CH/CIR-model provides predictions with a six-hourly and daily resolution of the solar wind speed and magnetic field strength several days in advance. Furthermore, it provides the related geomagnetic activity expressed as the six-hourly and daily means of the geomagnetic indices Dst and Ap, as well as the peak hourly-value for a given day. Two papers were published in international journals.
* Two online tools of DBM and the CH/CIR model were developed and are now available at and The results of the analyses described above were incorporated into the two corresponding online tools.
* The operative model for the forecasting of the L1 solar wind parameters with data assimilation developed during the previous years of the project have in the third year been improved, tested and disseminated. A new assimilation procedure has been introduced (correction of the solar input with "earlier" solar wind parameters and then forecasting with this corrected input, in contrast with the propagation of the correction used before), which improves the performances of the augmented model especially when compared to the persistence model. Rigorous testing of the model have been performed with a variety of quality parameters (Mean Absolute Error, Skill Score, distribution of the Signed Differences and of the Innovations in the filtering procedure) which all certified the improvements of the new assimilation procedure over the old one and, more in general, the validity of the forecasting method with data assimilation. The results of this studies have been published in a leading Space Weather journal co-authored by four of the institutions involved in the Soteria project (KULeuven, Noveltis, UniGraz, Hvar observatory), to our knowledge the first published paper about the application of data assimilation in the forecasting of solar wind parameters.
* The sensitivity study of the FLIP MHD model has been improved. Indeed, we redid the whole analysis (simulations, covariances and representers) with a new configuration of simulation in order to confirm the physical origin of features previously observed. The new results avoided the hypothesis of artefacts. A paper on the sensitivity study of FLIP MHD model is now under preparation.
* The preliminary reports "Data assimilation theory" and "Data assimilation tools" which have been disseminated to the consortium at the end of the first year of SOTERIA have been reviewed. These reports were merged and completed by the results on data assimilation tentatives in order to finalize the D4.7 report.
* The validation of the Solar Particle Engineering Code (SOLPENCO) has been completed. This was done based on an extension of the earlier established data base of solar energetic particle (SEP) events to cover the time period of 1997-2006 consisting of more than 40 events. The database includes several extreme events where the particle flux at the shock passage exceeded that of the first SEP maximum. The selection criteria was the reliable knowledge of the source location, the initial shock speed, as well as a well defined energetic storm particle (ESP) event associated with the passage of an interplanetary shock. Flux profiles of energetic protons at 5 energy values from the SOLPENCO simulations were compared with appropriate SOHO/COSTEP measurements over a wide range of the two initial parameters: initial shock speeds and heliographic longitudes. Results for two different values of the interplanetary mean free path available in the code were compared assuming the presence of a turbulent foreshock region. In addition to direct comparison of the flux variation, the dependence of two characteristic parameters of the ESP events, e.g. the rise time from background to the ESP maximum and the maximum to background ratio on energy were analyzed as a function of helio-longitude and shock speed. The analysis showed that on average, the output of SOLPENCO agrees well with observations. The input initial shock speed that matched best the shock arrival time for an average of 23 large events was 5% higher than the one observed by LASCO/SOHO (speed perpendicular to the line of sight); in 65% of the events the calculated speed was higher, but the relative difference exceeded 30% in only 4 of 23 cases. These can be attributed to propagation and projection effects.
* In the process of validating SOLPENCO an interesting result of relevance for ESP forcasting was recovered. By selecting 3 values of heliolongitude, representative of the observation sample, the ESP maximum/background flux ratio of 1 MeV protons predicted by SOLPENCO was found to nearly linearly increase with shock speed (higher values at eastern than at western source locations), but staying nearly independent of proton energy. The rise time decreases with shock speed with little variation on heliolongitude, whereas it increases towards western longitudes. These results can be used for predicting the ESP flux maximum and fluence after the primary maximum of the SEP event reached. The results are being published in a paper submitted to Space Weather.
* A new model for the magnetopause location which was originally not included in Task 4.5 has been developed. Based on the previous analysis of existing magnetopause models during extreme events we have developed a new 2D magnetopause model which can easily be combined with an existing 3D semi-empiric bow shock model. In order to represent the effect of the extreme interplanetary magnetic field values raised by the large solar events, the pressure of the compressed magnetosheath field is also taken into account in addition to the solar wind dynamic pressure when determining the shape and the size of the magnetopause. In the investigated cases, the new model provides good agreement with the observations. The results will be published in a paper submitted to Ann. Geophys.
* The capability of existing models to predict the auroral oval latitude has been investigated using satellite magnetic observations. The performance of the two global CCMC models BATSRUS, BATSRUS coupled with the Rice Convection model and Open GGCM has been tested for a single event. The different models respond not coherently and room for improvement of the modelling capability of this important parameter clearly exists. The results will be presented at the ESWW8.
* A model was developed, which predicts the hourly global Dcx index one hour in advance. Moreover, the model yields the separate contributions to the Dcx index from the ring current, tail current and magnetopause current, similarly one hour in advance. The model is based on linear prediction ARMA filters, which predict the next value of the output parameter in terms of the current and previous values of the solar wind input parameters and the previous values of the output parameter itself. We have demonstrated that this linear filter model can predict the above mentioned parameters very accurately with one hour lead time.
* The Global Ionosphere Scintillation Model (GISM) developed at IEEA and validated during SOTERIA study has been upgraded. This model uses a classical phase screen technique algorithm. Sub models have been included to estimate some specific parameters and take the geophysical dependencies into account. This concerns in particular the local time and seasonal dependency, the spectrum parameters, the inhomogeneities dimensions and their correlation distance. The efforts of this third year were mainly dedicated to making the model available for public use as an online tool. It can now be accessed through the ITU website. The main achievements are published in Space Weather and Space Climate.
* Concerning long-term prediction, we have presented increased and more quantitative evidence for systematic patterns in solar longitudinal and hemispheric asymmetries that have recently been found in several solar parameters:
o Using a dynamic, differentially rotating coordinate system to describe the rotation of solar active regions, we have found improved evidence for the active regions being concentrated in limited longitude sectors called the active longitudes. The active longitudes can contain up to 80% of, e.g., the strongest X-ray flares. Taking into account the improved information on temporally changing parameters describing solar rotation in the two solar hemispheres, the active longitudes will allow for new possibilities for improved long-term forecasting of major solar activations.
o We have also demonstrated that the solar wind, coronal holes and interplanetary magnetic field depict systematic hemispheric asymmetries, which reflect a similar, systematic north-south asymmetry of the large scale solar magnetic field. The magnetic field of the northern hemisphere extends over the solar magnetic equator (the current sheet) roughly by 2 degrees for about three years in the late declining phase of the solar cycle. We have shown that this difference reflects the different temporal evolution of the polar coronal holes.
We have also shown that the major geomagnetic disturbances in the last solar cycles follow this systematic pattern of the asymmetric solar magnetic field, offering further improved possibilities for long-term forecasting of the largest geomagnetic disturbances.

WP5: Irradiance
The overall objective of WP5 is the characterisation of the variability of the solar spectral irradiance from different data sets, with a growing interest for long-term effects (in particular the long-term reconstruction of the the total solar irradiance) and for the Sun-climate connection.
These activities are carried out almost exclusively at PMOD-WRC, CNRS and at ROB; they all suffered from delays in the missions whose data they were supposed to be used but eventually will all be delivered at the end of the project. In several cases the backup option turned out to be actually better than the one initially foreseen.
Interactions between different teams took place mostly at international workshops or at Soteria meetings (Brussels, Feb. 2011; Leuven, May 2011). The main achievements of each task are described below.

Task 1: Variability in the TSI and in the UV spectrum
Task 1 is the core of WP5, as its overall objective is the understanding of the solar spectral variability in the UV (1-300 nm) and that of the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI). Of major importance is a proper understanding of the interplay between the various physical mechanisms that causes the variability
The main activities were
* systematic statistical comparison of the solar spectral irradiance in the UV with various proxies in order to determine to what degree it can be reconstructed from them.
* assessment of the (presumably) anomalous variation of the Near-UV (NUV) in the last solar cycle, as observed by SORCE/SIM
* a thorough investigation of the impact of solar flares on the visible part of the spectrum
* the delivery of the final version of the online nowcast of the solar spectral irradiance and its scientific exploitation.

Long-term variability of the solar irradiance
During the third year of SOTERIA, the attention was concentrated on the long-term variability of the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) and the solar spectral variability. Two reasons for the interest in long time scales are the (possibly) anomalous variation of the UV as observed by SORCE/SIM during the last solar minimum, which has been hotly debated, and the connection with climate studies.
The TSI reconstruction achieved at PMOD-WRC [A. Shapiro et al., Astron. Astroph., 529 (2011), A67] uses a new estimate of the quiet Sun level of activity, based on the properties of the quietest areas. This has resulted in an unusually low value of the TSI during the Maunder minimum, which is in sharp contrast with other estimates and has fuelled a hot debate. The coupling with a radiation code has enabled the UV level to be estimated as well, giving a value that is also unusually low during the Maunder minimum.
A different type of TSI reconstruction has been achieved using a magnetic flux reconstruction model [L. Vieira et al., Astron. Astroph, 531 (2011), A6]; the resulting excursion of the TSI during the Maunder minimum is substantially lower than the one mentioned just before. We are now comparing these two (and apparently conflicting) approaches to better constrain the long-term variability of the TSI.
These activities will be pursued in the recent COST Action ES1005 "Towards a better assessment of the impact of solar variability on the Earth's climate", which is a spinoff of SOTERIA and in which several members from SOTERIA are participating.
A new technique to stitch different irradiance records [T. Dudok de Wit, Astron. Astroph., 533 (2011), A29] has enabled us to compare the solar cycle variability in the UV back to the 1970's and show that recent measurements are indeed not consistent with past observations. The same technique has enabled us to reconstruct the solar radio flux at different wavelengths back to 1952, thus providing a new and unique set of proxies for past solar variability [T. Dudok de Wit et al., in preparation].
Finally, we have pursued the analysis of solar EUV images from SDO/AIA by blind source separation. This powerful concept allows multi-wavelength images to be reduced to a smaller subset of so-called source images that give deeper insight into the temperature structuring of the solar corona [T. Dudok de Wit et al., Solar Physics, submitted].

Effect of flares
After our discovery of the unexpectedly large impact of solar flares on the solar spectral irradiance in the visible [M. Kretzschmar et al., Nature Physics 6 (2010)], a more detailed analysis has been performed and published [M. Kretzschmar, Astron. Astroph., 530 (2011)]. We find that most of the flares - if not all - are white light flares and that the white-light continuum is the main contributor to the total radiated energy. These observational results are important for understanding the physical mechanisms during flares and possibly suggest a contribution of flares to the variations of the total solar irradiance. This analysis will be pursued using data from PROBA2/LYRA and PROBA2/PREMOS, which allows us to investigate the signature of flares at high time resolution.

Online nowcast of the solar spectral variability in the UV
Deliverable D5.3 was initially supposed to use data from the PROBA2/LYRA and the PICARD/PREMOS radiometers to deliver a nowcast of the UV spectrum, from 10 to at least 300 nm. Because of the rapid degradation of some of the channels of the former, and the late launch of PICARD, whose data have not officially released yet, a backup solution was adopted that eventually turned out to offer better prospects for long-term operation.
The model, whose prototype was delivered in year 2, is now fully operational and delivers since June 2010 every 3 hrs a solar spectrum from 1-40 and 115-360 nm. The model is based on solar continuum images and solar magnetograms from SDO/HMI, which are segmented and then fed into an analog neural network model that has been trained using daily solar spectra from SORCE/SIM, SORCE/SOLSTICE and SORCE/XPS. The web interface is accessible at
This model so far is the only non-commercial model to deliver online nowcasts of the UV spectrum. Extensive validation tests have shown that most spectral lines can be reconstructed with a relative error of a few percent only, which is equivalent to their instrument error. Those lines for which the error exceeds 5% also suffer from instrumental artefacts and thus are hard to reconstruct anyway.
The SORCE satellite is likely to stop operating in 2012, so the model won't be further trained after that. For that reason, we are now including some solar proxies to further stabilise its long-term operation. The model will continue to operate routinely as long as SDO lasts, i.e. at least until 2015. It is described in [Vieira et al, submitted to Space Weather and Space Climate].

Task 2: Impact of the VUV on the thermosphere/ionosphere system
The primary objective is to better understand the response of planetary upper atmospheres to solar forcing. In the third year, the focus has been on the characterisation of the atmosphere of Ganymede. Indeed, in the framework of future space missions (in particular JUICE) to Ganymede, a pre-study of this satellite is a necessary step to constrain the instrument performances according to the objectives of the mission. This work aims at characterizing the impact of the solar UV ?ux on Ganymede's atmosphere and especially at deriving some key physical parameters measurable by an orbiter.

In the frame of SOTERIA, we tested several models for reconstructing the solar ?ux in the EUV in order to give recommendations for future space missions. Using a Beer-Lambert approach, we computed the primary production of excited and ionized states due to photoabsorption [G. Cessateur et al., to appear in Icarus]. From the excitations, we compute the radiative relaxation leading to atmospheric emissions and propose a simple chemical model to retrieve the stationary electron density. There are two main results: a) Comparisons of the modelled electron density and the one measured by Galileo are in good agreement. The main atmospheric visible emission is the atomic oxygen red line at 630 nm. b) OH emissions (continuum between 260 and 410 nm) are also probably measurable from space.
The solar EUV solar ?ux may be directly reconstructed for modeling the atmosphere of Ganymede using only two radiometers with properly chosen passbands [G. Cessateur et al., A&A 528 (2011) A68, G. Cessateur,thesis, 2011]. This implies that future missions to Ganymede should include the measurement of the red line as well as the measurement of OH emissions in order to constrain atmospheric models. These results will also serve for the definition of future solar radiometers in the frame of ESA's Space Situational Awareness programme.
A different aspect of our studies regards the definition of new proxies for quantifying the impact of solar activity on the thermosphere. One of these is the polarization of the red line of oxygen, which is a good tracer of the thermospheric neutral density. The applicability of this proxy has been confirmed by means of theoretic and experimental studies, see [M. Barthélémy et al., Polarization in auroral red line during coordinated ESR/optical experiment, Annales Geoph., in press]. The ionisation rate of the thermosphere has subsequently been modelled through a simple energy per ion pair law. This work will appear in [C. Simon, et al., Comprehensive calculation of the energy per ion pair or W values for five major planetary upper atmospheres, Annales Geoph., in press].

Task 3: Impact of the UV spectrum on the middle atmosphere
This task is strongly connected to Task 1, except that the focus is on the modelling of the middle atmosphere and longer wavelengths (121-300 nm) are considered in the UV spectrum. Most of the activities are carried out at PMOD-WRC in an interplay between atmospheric models and solar spectral irradiance observations.
The chemistry-ionosphere-climate model SOCOLi [Egorova et al., 2010] for nowcasting is now running with SSI data from D5.3 and producing nowcasts of the middle atmosphere every 6 hours for O3, NO, NO2, OH, H2O volume mixing ratio, electron and total positive ion density, temperature, air density and geopotential height.
Special visualization software has been developed to browse model data and the model is now fully operational, see
Meanwhile, modelling activities regarding the response of the mesosphere to solar forcing have continued actively [T. Egorova et al., J. Atmospheric Solar-Terr. Physics, 2011]. Particular attention has been given to the sensitivity of the Earth's middle atmosphere to short-term solar variability and its dependence on the choice of solar irradiance data set [A. Shapiro et al., J. Atmospheric Solar-Terr. Physics, 2011] and to the signature of the 27-day solar rotation in mesospheric OH and H2O [A. Shapiro, Atmos. Chem. Phys., submitted]. These sensitivity studies show that the choice of the SSI dataset has no major impact at 205 nm whereas in the mesosphere, the choice of the irradiance data set for the Lyman-? line is more critical.
Among the initiative that will continue beyond the timeframe of SOTERIA is the extension of the SOCOL model towards higher altitudes; its coupling with the Transcar ionospheric model (from LPG/CNRS) is now being investigated.

Task 4: Flare prediction
The objective is to develop at ROB an online flare prediction model based on the automated analysis of solar EUV and soft X-ray images and time series. This model builds upon the experience of the operational B2X flare detection model that had previously been developed at ROB and which identifies regions on the solar disk with abnormal variability as compared to the instrumental variability.
Version 2.0 of this model is now fully operational and the corresponding D5.1 has been delivered. The forecast is made on the basis of the McIntosh class of the present sunspot group. The SOTERIA flare predictor tool is available at
The tool displays the latest image from PROBA2/SWAP to locate the regions that have a potential to flare. These regions are the sunspot groups, as provided by the Catania astrophysical observatory, and the active regions by NOAA. Clicking on these regions displays their flaring probability for various classes of flares. This information is updated twice per hour.
The flare prediction tool will continue to be improved beyond the timeframe of SOTERIA, firstly by using sunspot classifications from KO and USET.

WP6: Data Dissemination

Following the objectives of Soteria, the beneficiaries involved in WP6 have jointly worked on the logistical support for sharing of expertise, sharing of data, sharing of end results and sharing of excitement. All the foreseen deliverables that implemented this logistical support have been successfully realized.

Sharing of expertise
Sharing of expertise has been organized in WP6 through the deliverables "Space Weather Document Repository" (Deliverable 6.1) and the "Capacity Building Workshop (Deliverable 6.6).
The technical development of the Space Weather Document Repository was already finalized mid 2009. Since then we are nominally using the system, with full satisfaction. Presently the repository contains over 100 reference documents on space weather, from a variety of authors inside and outside SOTERIA. In particular, 13 documents are shared with access restricted to the SOTERIA consortium. Thanks to the support of the Solar Terrestrial Center of Excellence ( and in particular BIRA (, the Space Weather Document Repository will continue growing beyond the SOTERIA end and has become an integral part of the pan-European website The Space Weather Document Repository can be consulted at
In the second year, a first contribution to deliverable 6.6 was provided in the form of a strong SOTERIA participation (organizational, financial, lectures, students) in the "International Advanced School on Space Weather Modeling and Applications" (see previous annual report). In the third year, the second event of D6.6 was held: the more technical SOTERIA workshop organized at ROB on February 15 & 16 2011. About 50 people participated in the event. 22 SOTERIA colleagues presented their results. The event was broadly received as a big success and in particular it was appreciated that the speakers presented their results in a pedagogical way, in contrast to the conference state-of-the-art talks. By splitting the deliverable in two events, we have been able to reach a wider and more diverse public than anticipated in the call.

Sharing of scientific data
Following serious delays in 2009, the SOTERIA Virtual Observatory came online towards the end of 2010. In 2011, the work concentrated on keeping the SODA system up and running and expanding its data content. In this context, a specific discussion meeting with the SOTERIA data providers was set-up during the SOTERIA annual meeting in Leuven (May 2011). At the time of this writing, the following datasets are available through SODA: ROB SWAP Level 1, ROB USET (drawings + H-Alpha), UNIGRAZ DrawX, SRC-PAS Sphinx. In addition, work is ongoing to insert the dataset OULU Dcx index. In order to facilitate further data insertion, a configurable tool was developed to import the metadata of a dataset into a SODA compatible database. This tool can scan a directory structure, an FTP site or a website for data files (FITS and formatted text files) and extract the metadata from them. This tool is also able to generate a basic dataset description file to be used by a SODA data provider as description of the imported dataset. The SODA software is available at and the SODA server can be accessed at ROB will continue supporting and developing the SODA facility.
The last WP6 deliverable of the SOTERIA data service, that is the "Open source solar image viewer" (Deliverable 6.7) was finalized May 2011 as a relaunch and extension of the so-called Solar Weather Browser. This service is since then continuously in use and can be consulted under the name "Solar Weather Browser" (SWB) at

Sharing of end results
The WP6 task list foresaw to publish online some of the WP 5 results (see deliverable 6.4 "On-line publishing of VUV and MUV spectrum from PROBA2/LYRA" and deliverable 6.5 "On-line publishing of chemical composition of the middle atmosphere from now- casting chemistry-climate models") and also the "Online event and Feature database" (deliverable 6.8).
The "Online event and Feature database" (D6.8) was renamed "SOTERIA Online Solar Event Catalogue" (SOSEC) and is publicly online since the very end of Year 2 at The third year was dedicated to the maintenance (small adaptions and extensions) and the scientific exploitation of SOSEC.
The other two deliverable (6.4 and 6.5) were finally finished in the third year, following significant delays introduced by the late available of the LYRA data (PROBA2 launch delay, as discussed at several review meeting). The "On-line publishing of VUV and MUV spectrum from PROBA2/LYRA" is available since late 2010 at As described in the deliverable report, the website is actually not based on LYRA data (the LYRA instrument team is still resolving instrument degradation problems) but a back-up solution has been found based on SDO/HMI data. Following the availability of D6.4, the "On-line publishing of chemical composition of the middle atmosphere from now- casting chemistry-climate models" (D6.5) became online in June 2011 and can be consulted at
All 3 websites (D6.4, D6.5 and D6.8) are the end result of SOTERIA funded work and research but will undoubtedly also be the beginning of new research as the scientific exploitation of these SOTERIA end results proceeds.

Sharing of excitement
In the final year of the SOTERIA era, we also brought our science to the general public. We felt it was not only important to share scientific concepts (e.g. the solar wind) but also it is important to share the excitement of the scientific process and its imagery to the general public. This is the context in which we developed the Deliverable 6.9 ("Solar European Week including Planetarium Show"). After analyzing the technical, organizational and financial constraints, we opted finally for the following implementation:
* A planetarium and 3D- STEREO show was developed. Different formats are made available online through the SOTERIA website by UGEO and a EU tube video is posted online
* For further ease of distribution, DVDs containing the material can be requestes through UGEO
* All SOTERIA project partners are offered the opportunity to locally distribute the material in their own country with the option to adapt it local languages
* The foreseen "Solar European Week" is split in two events. A first distribution to the community world-wide was set-up during the COSPAR 2010 week, including a public day. A second event will be a stand during the Science Fair of the European Space Weather Week (, late November 2011.

Potential Impact:
Space weather refers to conditions on the Sun, in the interplanetary space and in the Earth space environment that can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems and can endanger human life or health. Adverse conditions in the space environment can cause disruption of satellite operations, communications, navigation, and electric power distribution grids, leading to a variety of socioeconomic losses. The conditions in space are also linked to the Earth climate. The activity of the Sun affects the total amount of heat and light reaching the Earth and the amount of cosmic rays arriving in the atmosphere, a phenomenon linked with the amount of cloud cover and precipitation. Given these great impacts on society, space weather is attracting a growing attention and is the subject of international efforts worldwide.

SOTERIA aimed at creating a wide synergy in the fields of solar-space and geo-physics among different centers in a number of European countries to achieve a higher level of quality and accessibility for the observational data and for the models. Our goal is to help creating the basis for a deeper understanding of solar and space processes having terrestrial impact.

Below we address the fundamental expected impacts of the SOTERIA collaborative network. In the discussion we present directly how our work will be beneficial to the European society and to the specific goals laid out in the work programme for cooperation in Space. Quotations in italics in the text below are from the work programme on theme 9 -Space, document: European Commission C(2007) 560 of 26.02.07.

Contribution towards expected impact of the Space work programme

The project SOTERIA aimed at addressing the main thrusts areas of the work programme for cooperation, under theme 9, Space. Below we address what specific areas of the work programme are addressed and we explain why out project can successfully address them.

The work programme aims at "Providing R&D support to the foundations of Space science, exploration, space transportation and space technology through synergies with initiatives of ESA or other European, national or regional entities." SOTERIA is aimed at collecting together activities that are currently funded by local governments, expand them and connect them to form a collaborative network where the parts synergistically produce a sum that will be able to address a problem not previously possible without a pan-European scope: collecting the totality of the available data from ground-based and satellite observations of space physics processes of interest to the space weather. SOTERIA will produce a database with a homogeneous access to currently dispersed or unavailable or incompatible data. SOTERIA will further provide all the needed archival information, analysis tools and simulation methods needed to use the databases produced by SOTERIA to predict space weather.

This goal is a direct response to two of the three main action areas requested in the work programme: "For the second activity, the strengthening of foundations of Space science and technology, the support is to be expressed in three more action areas: i. Support to research activities related to space science and exploration, ..... iii. Research into reducing the vulnerability of space based systems and services."

Specifically, SOTERIA addresses three of the action areas strengthening the foundations of space science.

1. Support to research activities related to space science and exploration:

The collection of available data relative to the study of space weather requires a global effort. Current activities conducted at a national level have already realized the need to establish international collaborations. We aim at establishing a formal and expanded network of collaborations at a European Union level and beyond. The activities gathered in the present proposal correspond to the request of the work programme "to complement the extensive activities already undertaken by ESA and Member States. In accordance with the development rationale of a European Space Policy, projects should demonstrate the benefit of the EU, ESA and national programmes working in a coordinated way."

A specific strength of the present proposal is to address the need to gather competences and existing data gathering and existing databases from new EU member states and from other central and eastern European states. SOTERIA has a very broad coverage of the whole of the EU (and Switzerland and includes members from Hungary, Poland, Croatia and Russia. The coverage is not merely geographical: each team from each country contributes a crucial aspect of the data gathering processes, contributing a portion of the observations and of the expertise in data analysis for which they are the apex of competence. As noted in the work programme, "a particular added value is also seen in contributions which the new EU Member States and the international community can make."

2. Support to human activities in space and space exploration:

The work programme encourages activities that can be of relevance to current and future manned activities in space. "Current space exploration programmes, in Europe and elsewhere, intend to extend the human presence, in a real or virtual way, through missions to the Moon and to Mars or through automatic missions in direction to objects of the solar system." SOTERIA aims at establishing a complete database of all available observations relevant to space weather. The database produced by SOTERIA will be crucial in investigating the processes behind space physics processes and will provide the tools (databases and analysis methods) needed bring space weather forecasting to a new level of reliability. This goal has a direct relevance to activities in space. A long mission to the ISS Alpha or much more so to the Moon or to Mars will require extensive stay in space, exposed to the frequent activities of the space weather. Our proposal addresses specifically the needs to provide future missions with fundamental knowledge of the type, frequency and severity of space weather threats. This information will be crucial in designing the missions so that sufficient protection is given to the astronauts living in space for extended periods. As an example the ISS has a higher protection region where the astronauts can seek shelter during strong space weather storms. But missions to the Moon and to Mars will be more exposed and exposed for longer time, in a situation where the payload has to be minimal. Detailed information about the space weather is needed to design the mission optimally. But space weather information will also be needed during the execution of the mission, to alert the astronaut in time of incoming threats so that precautionary measures can be undertaken (as described above for the case of the ISS). The name of the project, SOTERIA, alludes at this impact of the project. In Greek SOTERIA means: "salvation". From this perspective, while SOTERIA is a project that works on the information downstream from satellite and data mission, the use of its results will provide crucial tools for the design of the upstream part of future missions.

3. Research into reducing the vulnerability of space assets

As noted in the work programme: "Space weather gives us displays of the aurora, or northern lights. However, at its worst, it is a natural hazard which can catastrophically disrupt the operations of many technological systems, thus causing disruption to people's lives and jobs. Space storms (particles or electromagnetic) are a recognised aerospace hazard and can cause major failures, e.g. onboard spacecraft, in electrical power grids, in telecommunications links (satellite, launcher and ground-based). Being a cyclical phenomenon, more accurate prediction, assessment and early warning capabilities of disruptive events are particularly poignant during the current approach of the next solar maximum (around 2011)."

The space weather studies supported by SOTERIA addresses this fundamental need expressed in the work programme. We will provide a database with all the required information needed to detect and predict space weather events. We will provide analysis tools and simulation methods that will enable any interested party to detect and predict the space weather. Our effort is extremely timely, because, as noted above, the tools that we produce will be ready and in place by the end of the three-year funding cycle, in 2011. Right on time for the next solar maximum when the space weather and its threats will be most active.

A crucial aspect of SOTERIA is that the databases and analysis methods developed will be made available openly and will make any alert system based on them publicly available. One of our partners (ROB based in Brussels) already handles a similar effort by making available to the whole world its databases of solar weather relevant data. With SOTERIA the activity will be expanded to include a complete suite of data and methods, addressing the fundamental need for openness expressed in the work programme:

"The work programme will support European coordination activities both to ensure the open exchange of information on emergencies that may have been caused by space weather events, with the goal of structuring international and European research efforts."

4. International Cooperation

An additional asset of the SOTERIA project is its link to international activities beyond the European union and beyond Europe. Connections by partners of the SOTERIA collaborative network have ongoing collaborations with similar efforts in the United States of American and Japan. While no funding exchange is allowed, the SOTERIA consortium will include data and expertise from international collaborations. Satellite data and ground-based data from around the world will be included and analysis tools will be gathered and expanded in collaboration with international partners. An example of such activities is the involvement of the Coordinator of SOTERIA with the Sun Earth Connection Theory Program of NASA, where he is a co-investigator. Great synergies can be achieved by sharing tools and scientific insight with international projects.

Furthermore, SOTERIA accesses directly the great competences and the wealth of data from present, past and future observations conducted Russia. One of our partners is a Russian team with state of the art expertise in the field.

The breath of the international partnership of the proponents of SOTERIA directly addresses the work program request: "In the context of International cooperation, a diversified approach is a key element in Europe's space policy. Candidates for cooperation among other established or emerging space powers are the United States, Russia, Canada, People's Republic of China, India, and Ukraine."

Contribution towards expected impact of the specific topic: "Strengthening the foundations of space science"

The primary scope of the SOTERIA project is to address the item listed in the work programme as Activity: 9.2. Strengthening the foundations of Space science and technology and addressed in the call fiche as SPA.2007.2.1.01 Space Science.

Under this activity, "the work programme on space sciences is open to international cooperation and activities should focus on upstream research for preparing European space science missions, on downstream research aiming at the optimal scientific exploitation of their data and for the improvement of the public awareness by:

- Developing tools to archive, access and process data obtained from different sources,

- Mobilising the best expertise for the analysis and interpretation of space data, selecting the most innovative and challenging objectives in emerging scientific fields,

- Promoting the contribution of space assets to the scientific and technological knowledge and foster its transfer to educational bodies".

The SOTERIA proposal addresses all three of the impact goals prescribed by the work programme, focusing specifically on downstream research.

First, the main goal of the SOTERIA collaborative project is to collect a large compilation of the existing data gathered from 12 satellite missions and from ground-based observations to provide a new and more complete database with information covering every aspect of space weather. Four of the scientific work packages (WP) aim at gathering data and produce analysis and simulations tools that include the study of the driver of the space weather, the Sun, and the space weather effects on the Earth and in space. One WP deals with the Sun's surface (photosphere) and one with the Sun's outer shell of plasma (the chromosphere and the corona) where some of the largest space weather events develop. Next, two work packages aim at directly studying the space weather effects, with one work package dealing with the whole of the space effects of interest to activities in far reaches of the solar system (e.g. manned mission to Mars or effects on robotic missions to other planets and solar system objects) and one on solar irradiance.

Second, the SOTERIA collaborative project gathers some of the leading experts in the EU and in other European countries (Croatia, Russia and Switzerland) to obtain a complete set of expertise to make substantial progress in space weather forecasting. The team includes expertise in data acquisition, data storage and management of large databases. Furthermore, the teams involved in the projects include leading experts in the fundamental fields of science behind space weather. The SOTERIA collaborative project will not only compile databases with superior information content than anything available to date but also includes scientists expert in using such information to investigate the fundamental physics of space weather events. The combination of the two aspects is key in achieving true predictive capabilities in space weather forecasting. A system as rich in physics and as huge in space as the space weather, encompassing the whole of the solar systems, cannot be based only on data acquisition, it needs a fundamental understanding of the physics behind it and it needs its modelling in terms of mathematical models and their implementation in computer simulations. The SOTERIA collaborative projects provide both: data and models to analyse it.

Third, the SOTERIA collaborative project is structured to produce the largest public outreach possible. The teams involved in the project are committed to making the information gathered available to the public. As the primary example of the outreach activities, the team from the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) has previous experience in dealing with data distribution, thanks to the world-wide activity of its Solar Influences Data Analysis Centre (SIDC) which provides globally space weather forecasting tools. The sixth work package of the SOTERIA project, under the leadership of the ROB, will be entirely devoted to the dissemination of the databases and analysis tools developed by the project. The societal impact of SOTERIA will also include a strong educational content. Several of the proposing teams are involved in education and the great majority of the budget will be devoted to educational activity, supporting students and postdoctoral researchers. As noted in the management section above, a key aspect of the activities supported by SOTERIA will be the organization of one yearly general meeting open to the whole research community interested by space weather effects and including interested parties from countries outside Europe. To maximize the outreach aspect, SOTERIA will also organize a summer school designed to provide the younger scientist with intensive training on the use of the data access and delivery capabilities and of the data analysis and simulations tools collected or produced by the SOTERIA consortium.

In summary, the SOTERIA collaborative project is structured to best achieve the overarching expected impact of the Activity: 9.2. Strengthening the foundations of Space science: "Improvement of the scientific results that can be obtained from collected space data by supporting the scientific community and European networking (including in EU countries that are not ESA members) in order to reach a level of at least 80% of available data to be processed. Enhancing the awareness of general public on the contribution of the space investigations to our knowledge on the earth, universe and environment by performing at least once a year a public event and publish at least four papers in specialized press."

Indeed SOTERIA includes:

* A largely improved and extended new database of all aspects of space weather relevant data gathered by space missions and by ground observations

* Will include teams from members of the EU that are not ESA members (Hungary, Poland) and in fact it will include also countries that are not EU or ESA members (Croatia, Russia).

* We aim at including the totality of the relevant information available on space weather events, exceeding the 80% goal set in the work programme, relative to the information relevant to space weather.

* We will enhance the public awareness of space weather events by providing new web-based tools for public access to space weather data and by organizing one yearly public event (general assembly) and one summer school and by publishing more than four papers per year in specialized press. More information on the outreach activities is provided in the next section.

Use and dissemination of foreground

Soteria included a strong dissemination component. The two main aspects are:

1. Electronic media

Soteria has used the most modern electronic media for outreach activities. These include:

? The project web-page:

? The project wiki:

? Soteria YouTube channel:

? Soteria software repository:

? Soteria Space Weather Forecasting portal: , integrated with the European Space Weather Portal and SWENET.

? Soteria Wikipedia Entry:

2. Outreach activities undertaken collectively by Soteria

Soteria engaged as a consortium to many outreach activities. The outreach events of Soteria as a whole are listed below.

? 3rd Soteria General Meetings (Leuven, 30 May - 1 June 2011)

? Event Let's Embrace Space (Budapest, 12-13 May 2011)

? Capacity Building workshop (Brussel, 15-16 February, 2011)

? 7th ESWW Splinter session: The Physics of CME Initiation (G. Lapenta & S. Poedts)

? Internation advanced school on space weather modelling and applications

? 2nd Soteria General Meeting

? Fifth solar image processing workshop

? X Hvar Astrophysical colloquium "The Active Sun"

? Shine session: When and How is Reconnection in the Solar Environment Turbulent?

(T. Intrator & G. Lapenta)

? NP6.9 Session on turbulent reconnection in plasmas at the EGU

? 1st Soteria General Meeting: January 2010 - Davos, Switzerland

? VI European Space Weather week (Bruges, 16-20 November)

? The Sun: from active to quiet corona (Moscow, 19-23 October)

? Central European Solar Physics IV, September 2009

? Event study workshop, September 2009 - Hvar, Croatia

? European conference of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU TOWARDS eENVIRONMENT, Opportunities of SEIS and SISE: Integrating Environmental Knowledge in Europe | March 25-27, 2009 | Prague, Czech Republic

? Soteria Workshop: 23-24 March 2009 - Saariselkä, Finnish Lapland

? Kick-off Meeting: 17-19 November 2008 - Brussels, Belgium

All these events are described in detail on the Soteria web site: For each event, the program is listed and the key material circulated at the meetings is presented, when possible, appropriate and legal (e.g. not prevented by copyright issues).

List of Websites:


Giovanni Lapenta

Afdeling Plasma-astrofysica

Celestijnenlaan 200b - bus 2400

3001 Heverlee


tel. +32 16 327965

fax +32 16 327998


Myriam Witvrouw, (Advisor European Project Management)
Tel.: +3216320623
Fax: +3216326515
Record Number: 196598 / Last updated on: 2017-03-29
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