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Prediction of Adverse effects of Geomagnetic Storms and Energetic Radiation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PAGER (Prediction of Adverse effects of Geomagnetic Storms and Energetic Radiation)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2020-12-31

Space weather is a collective term used to describe hazardous events in the near-Earth space environment that can impact humans and technology in space, including satellites and terrestrial power grids. The Sun emits a continuous stream of plasma called the solar wind, and periodically releases billions of tons of matter in what are called coronal mass ejections. These immense clouds of material, can cause large magnetic storms in the near-Earth space environment. The PAGER project will provide space weather predictions that will be initiated from observations on the Sun and will predict radiation in space and its effects on satellite infrastructure. Real-time predictions and a historical record of the dynamics of the cold plasma density and ring current will allow for evaluation of surface charging, and predictions of the relativistic electron fluxes will allow for the evaluation of deep dielectric charging. We will provide a 1-2-day probabilistic forecast of ring current and radiation belt environments, which will allow satellite operators to respond to predictions that present a significant threat. As a backbone of the project, we will use the most advanced codes that currently exist, codes outside of Europe have been transferred to operation in Europe, such as components of the state-of-the-art Space Weather Modelling Framework (SWMF). We will perform ensemble simulations and uncertainty quantifications. The project uses number of innovative tools such as data assimilation and uncertainty quantification, new models of near-Earth electromagnetic wave environment, ensemble predictions of solar wind parameters at L1, and data-driven forecast of the geomagnetic Kp index and plasma density. Our codes may be used in the future for realistic modelling of extreme space weather events. We have reached out to scientific, industry and government stakeholders and will tailor our products for the stakeholder’s needs and requirements.
Our team has begun to develop alternative models for predicting wind conditions at 21.5 solar radii, relating to ensemble predictions of the Solar Wind at L1. We have developed a baseline neural network model of the plasmasphere, with our model showing good performance in regard to training and validation of data. We introduced feature selection, with additional features derived from the solar wind parameters to reconstruct the dynamics of the plasmasphere and build a new neural network model. Additionally, we have trained a neural network for predicting the Kp index and a forecast of the Kp index can be found on the PAGER website. We have begun the development of our empirical models of the electromagnetic wave environment, by consolidating spacecraft databases of 3D measurements of fluctuating electromagnetic fields. We are continuing to process data sets from various European and United States satellite missions. Installation of the Space Weather Modelling Framework (SWMF) geospace configuration has been installed, tested and is up and running at GFZ and ongoing work to optimise and share codes for PAGER continues. The real-time data-assimilative version of the VERB code has been installed on the PAGER computing server at GFZ. Scripts are currently in preparation to be adopted to couple the VERB code with the results of other PAGER projects. Particle data from the Van Allen Probes and ARASE have been collected and processed, as well as the development of a prototype of the codes for computing fluxes along a satellite orbit. A data assimilative forecast of the near-Earth radiation belts and electron ring current forecast can be found on the PAGER website. Investigations and initial testing of relevant simplified charging cases is in progress. Installation of primary codes have been installed and are ready for execution and the combination of codes from all work packages is ongoing. Along with the latest news, publications and presentations, the data products available can be found on the PAGER website.
The final software tool set will allow space weather predictions ~1-2 days into the future with real confidence levels as required by project stakeholders. Novel new products released from this work will therefore be physics-improved coronal models, both coupled in a predictive software package with realistic confidence levels. These tools can be used in the future for the prediction of impact of space weather on power grids and pipelines. This could include estimating the danger to power grids and estimating the SIR-drag on satellites. By using probabilistic predictions, driven by solar input, we will significantly advance the lead time, accuracy and confidence for predictions. Additionally, the provided ensemble predictions can be also used for future estimation of risks of GIC and of satellite orbit tracing. This project will further investigate plasma density, which is important for evaluating surface charging, as well as for scientific applications, as it controls the growth of waves and how waves interact with particles. Plasma density is also important for GPS /GNSS navigation systems. Using probabilistic predictions from our models, we will be able to forecast the global cold plasma dynamics several days ahead, and also to estimate uncertainties in plasma density associated with errors in solar wind parameters. We are aiming to significantly contribute to advances in the empirical modelling of the electromagnetic environment of the Earth, allowing fast implementation and rapid calculation of the effects of quasi-linear diffusion caused by wave-particle interactions in the near-Earth environment. This project will lead to improved understanding of the electromagnetic environment and spatial structures of the Earth’s magnetosphere during various solar activity conditions. Installation of these tools in Europe will be important for future scientific and space weather research developments in Europe. The same tools can be used in the future for the prediction of impact of space weather on power grids and pipelines. Additionally, we will apply codes for forecasting of the radiation belt and ring current electron dynamics. This will provide a definitive and probabilistic forecast of electron fluxes several days into the future. We will develop a new tool that will allow forecasting of electron fluences along an arbitrary satellite orbit for further estimation of the deep dielectric and surface charging of satellites. Work on this project is done in close collaboration with stakeholders, obtaining valuable feedback to make the results from this project particularly valid, in a broader context. Estimates derived from our results will allow the identification of the most vulnerable members of a satellite fleet and will help designers and operators to develop mitigation strategies against radiation damage, as well as predicting the likelihood anomalies or failures. This project will provide the most accurate-to-date forecast of surface charging and deep dielectric charging. The proposed framework will allow us to increase the lead-time significantly, providing confidence levels that are needed to estimate risks and make decisions on mitigating actions.