Geomagnetic prediction model | 2014 ECE Annual Report | ECE | Virginia Tech


Geomagnetic prediction model | 2014 ECE Annual Report

Model of Earth's magnetic field

A visualization of East-West perturbations of Earth's magnetic field from Weimer's computer model.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has selected two models for predicting geomagnetic field variations, for future use in daily operations. One of these is an empirical model developed by ECE Research Professor Daniel Weimer.

"This model calculates how the magnetic field at the surface of the Earth varies," explains Weimer. The model can predict these variations approximately an hour in advance, using real-time measurements of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) from a satellite that is positioned ahead of the Earth in the "upstream" solar wind.

NASA's Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC) has been evaluating several competing models over the past few years. According to Weimer, most of the other models, including the other that was selected, require a supercomputer while his model "obtains solutions many times faster on just a desktop computer."During the next year, the NOAA SWPC will be working to transition the selected models to an operational status.

In 2009 Weimer received a $313,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) National Space Weather Program to develop this model.

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