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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Friday, December 15, 2017 02:18:09

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Space Weather Conditions
24-Hour Observed Maximums
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Latest Observed
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R1-R2 --
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S1 or greater --
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Current Space Weather Conditions
R1 (Minor) Radio Blackout Impacts
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HF Radio: Weak or minor degradation of HF radio communication on sunlit side, occasional loss of radio contact.
Navigation: Low-frequency navigation signals degraded for brief intervals.
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Geospace Geomagnetic Activity Plot

The Geospace Global Geomagnetic Activity Plot displays real-time solar wind values ballistically propagated from L1 orbit to 32 Re at the upstream boundary of the University of Michigan’s Geospace model (top four plots). The propagated solar wind values are used to drive the University of Michigan’s Geospace model which outputs 1-minute predicted Kp and Dst values (bottom two plots). In addition to the forecast values for Kp (colored line, where color depends on level of activity) and Dst (white line), the ground truth data for Kp (SWPC estimated 3-hour Kp; teal line) and Dst (Kyoto 1-hour quick look Dst; red line) are plotted for comparison.

The vertical blue line indicates the current time, and the data plotted to the right of the blue line show the forecast for a short-timescale prediction at Earth. The Geospace model can provide Kp and Dst forecasts with approximately 30 to 60 minutes advanced warning, depending on the speed of the solar wind. Global activity indices, such as the geomagnetic activity index Kp and the disturbance storm time index Dst, are useful for a wide customer base as well as for indicators of how well the model is performing.

For information about the official Kp index, please visit the official Kp index web page at the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

Dst values are obtained from the World Data Center for Geomagnetism in Kyoto. These are Quicklook Dst values and as such, these values are unverified, may contain inaccuracies, and are subject to change.  

*** Note that these plots do not display the official SWPC forecast, instead they display model guidance which forecasters can use to assist them in generating the official forecast. Also note that cold restarts of the Geospace model can occur when there is no solar wind data for more than 2 hours. When this occurs the model predicted Kp and Dst values go to zero and it can take several hours, or more, depending on the level of geomagnetic activity, before the model returns to equilibrium.  

For additional space weather products generated using output from the Geospace model, see the following pages:

 

This product uses output generated by the University of Michigan’s Geospace model that consists of several components in their Space Weather Modeling Framework (SWMF). The Geospace model is a first-principles physics based model which includes three components: the University of Michigan’s BATS-R-US magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model of the magnetosphere; the Ridley Ionosphere electrodynamics Model (RIM) developed at Michigan; and the Rice Convection Model (RCM), an inner magnetosphere ring-current model developed at Rice University.

The calculation of the virtual Kp index is similar to the calculations of the real Kp and begins with determining the north and east components of the magnetic field disturbance from background.  However, within SWMF no background field subtraction is required for the virtual magnetometers as they only report the predicted disturbance. The maximum and minimum of both north and east components over the past three hours are determined.  With the SWPC estimated 3-hour Kp, this is done over a 3-hour window. However, because the virtual Kp index must be reported in real time, a sliding 3-hour window is used in the SWMF. Between the north and east components, the largest difference between maximum and minimum is selected, and this is then converted to a K number using a semi-logarithmic scaling.  A scaling factor is used in order to obtain the desired occurrence distribution of K 1 through 9. 

Note that the real-time regional K indices produced by the SWMF are not placed at the real world standard K stations.  Rather, they are placed evenly around the globe, one station at every hour local time. Additionally, they are placed all at the same magnetic latitude (60o). This overcomes two natural limitations of the real world observatories: 1) the poor distribution of official K stations about the Asian continent and 2) the need to compensate for seasonal effects that can affect the results. 

The calculation of the Geospace model Dst is for the perturbation at the center of the Earth for which all currents in the MHD domain are included, i.e. the field aligned currents (FACs) up to the inner boundary, the magnetopause current and other currents. Currents within the gap region and ionospheric currents are not included in the calculation of the predicted Dst. 

 

The Geospace Global Geomagnetic Activity Plot represents the first generation of operational space weather products derived from the Geospace model, a model which includes both global and regional short-term predictions of geomagnetic activity. Other operational space weather products generated using output from the Geospace model include the Geospace Ground Magnetic Perturbation Maps and the Geospace Magnetosphere Movies.

The Geospace model (v1.0) first went operational in October 2016, and during its first year in operations the model achieved initial success in providing forecaster guidance on levels of regional geomagnetic activity, short-term predictions of geomagnetic indices, and making data available to customers over the web.

As of November 8, 2017, the operational products are now being driven by the Geospace model (v1.5). This first upgrade to the Geospace model includes some minor physics improvements, new output parameters, increased model robustness, and a switch to a different operational high-performance computer (Cray). In addition, this version of the model will allow for the model to perform a warm restart from a previous output file during times when there is a solar wind data gap of greater than 15 minutes and less than 2 hours. Solar wind data gaps of greater than 2 hours will continue to trigger the model to perform a cold restart, which can require 2-3 hours for the model to return to equilibrium. 

 

 

 

Access to the data will be coming soon.

For further information about the Kp index, please visit the official Kp index webpage at the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

Planetary K-index data is also available via the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).