CISM: Center for Integrated Space Weather Modelling

CISM Strategic and Implementation Plan

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Vision and Mission

As defined by the National Space Weather Program, "Space weather refers to conditions on the sun and in the solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere that can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems and can endanger human life or health." Space weather can destroy satellites, knock out radio communications, cause navigation errors, blow out electrical power distribution systems, and expose astronauts to dangerous levels of radiation. Mitigation of these effects requires both a better understanding of the space environment and developing the ability to predict and forecast conditions in space.

The Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling (CISM) will focus its activities around building a comprehensive physics-based numerical simulation model that describes the space environment from the Sun to the Earth. This model will achieve three complementary goals: we will do fundamentally new science, increasing our understanding of the complex, closely coupled Sun-Earth system; in partnership with NOAA's Space Environment Center we will convert the results of our research into robust and operationally useful forecasting tools to be used by both civilian and military space weather forecasters; and in our education programs we will make the geospace environment accessible to understanding through models and visualization tools.

In order to achieve these goals we will need to:

  • Foster interdisciplinary research between solar physicists, magnetospheric physicists, aeronomers, and computational scientists.
  • Develop a better physical understanding of processes in the space environment.
  • Develop the computational and analysis tools needed to couple models efficiently.
  • Transfer our new understanding and the products of our research into useful forecasting and specification tools.
  • Integrate research and education in order to effectively train the next generation of diverse space weather scientists.
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We foresee the legacies of the Center to be:

  • The development of a new interdisciplinary science that views the Sun-Earth system as a single closely coupled system, and that erases the existing boundaries among space physicists.
  • A new generation of well trained space physicists from diverse backgrounds that is capable of using the tools of computational science to study the space environment and who approach problems from an interdisciplinary viewpoint.
  • Advances in space science, particularly in our understanding of processes critical to the development of the global model.
  • Advances in computer science brought about by our need to efficiently couple disparate numerical models.
  • New models and understanding of the space environment that will lead to improved specification and forecasts at the nation's space weather operations centers.
  • A range of global geospace community models that can be used to further and to test our understanding of the space environment.
  • A suite of physics-based forecasting and specification tools.
  • A better public understanding of the Sun and its affect on the Earth's space environment.
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Research Plan

The Center will conduct the scientific research necessary to develop a comprehensive physics-based numerical simulation model that describes the space environment from the Sun to the Earth and to test its validity. This will include the study of fundamental astrophysical processes such as particle acceleration, magnetic reconnection, and the generation, transformation, propagation, and dissipation of energy. It will also include the study of the processes coupling regions of the geospace environment such as the photospheric control of chromospheric and coronal process, and the thermospheric control of ionospheric and magnetospheric processes.

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Space Science Goals

Space science goals are driven both by modeling needs, which require us to develop scientific understanding in order to develop certain models, and by modeling capabilities, which allow us to study quantitatively for the first time the effects of the various couplings of the components of the solar-terrestrial system. Hence science goals are intimately coupled to the progress of model development. Here we list the space science goals and plans under broad topics.

Solar Active Regions and Flux Emergence: The emergence of magnetic flux from below the photosphere as active regions, and its evolution, is the ultimate cause of space weather. We will focus early in the life of CISM on simulating active region emergence and evolution within the corona model to develop a better understanding of Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) initiation. The results will lead to better predictions of CMEs based on solar observations.

Particle Acceleration: Solar Energetic Particles (SEP), and the energetic particles trapped in the Earth's radiation belts are two of the most important space weather hazards. In the solar-terrestrial system particles are accelerated in solar flares, at shocks in the corona, in the solar wind, and standing upstream of planets, at magnetic reconnection sites and similar current sheets, by Fermi and betatron acceleration in radiation belts, and by wave-particle interactions. Early in the life of CISM we will focus on particle acceleration at coronal and interplanetary shocks with the goal of developing parameterized models for the production of SEP within the global solar and solar wind models. In the global models these particles will then be transported from their shock sources to predict their distribution in geospace. Radiation belt electron modeling and SEP transport and trapping will be incorporated into the LFM code used to advance guiding center test particle and Lorentz trajectories of respective source populations. Ultra low frequency (ULF) wave transport will be included self-consistently and VLF wave loss rates via pitchangle scattering will be incorporated.

Solar Wind Physics: The solar wind stream structure is responsible for quiet to moderate space weather conditions, and also affects the propagation, evolution, and geoeffectivesness of CMEs. We will routinely model solar wind structure and parameters (velocity, density, magnetic field) based on solar magnetic field observations, and simulate its effects on our model CMEs. The shock waves generated by the CMEs in the corona and solar wind in these simulations will be used as the foundation for a coupled solar energetic particle (SEP) model. Observational tests of the solar wind/CME/SEP model will be carried out using L1 monitor observations. We will couple the solar wind model to the coupled LFM and TIEGCM models to simulate the solar wind interaction with geospace.

Magnetic Reconnection: Reconnection occurs under different circumstances and in three distinct places in the sun-earth system: at the sun where it causes solar flares, it could well be the cause of CME's, and may contribute to coronal heating; at the magnetopause where it controls the energy transfer from the solar wind into the magnetosphere; and in the geomagnetic tail where its energy conversion powers substorms. In order to include reconnection explicitly in the global models, we will use our expertise in reconnection physics to develop parameterized reconnection models that can be linked to the MHD models.

Outer-Inner Magnetosphere Coupling: Important new science goals can be accomplished when the physics of the inner magnetosphere, as represented by the drift physics in the RCM, becomes embedded in the global MHD magnetospheric code (LFM+RCM). Then the magnetospheric component of the CISM physics-based code will be able to generate ring current and region 2 currents and associated shielding of the low-latitude ionosphere from high-latitude convection electric fields. This code will be able to resolve long-standing issues in magnetospheric physics by examining the time-dependent response and topology of the region 1 and region 2 current systems and its dependence on the interplanetary magnetic field.

Magnetosphere/Ionosphere Coupling: The first order goal is to determine the role and impact of MI coupling on the establishment and maintenance of the basic state of the ionosphere and magnetosphere. Our studies will shed light on the causes of the variability seen and the limitations of predictability. Once the LFM code is coupled to the thermosphere-ionosphere general circulation model (TIEGCM), a host of important science studies will be undertaken. At high latitudes, the global thermospheric response to magnetospherically driven Joule heating and energetic electron precipitation will be determined, including changes in ion and neutral composition, convection, ionization, and neutral, ion and electron heating. The evolution and spatial distribution of the auroral electrojet during storms and substorms will be simulated. Inclusion of field-aligned plasma flows, initially via empirical parameterized models, and, ultimately, using physical transport models, will enable studies of dynamic density stratification in the ionosphere and low-altitude magnetosphere and the effects of ionospheric outflow on the global magnetospheric system. Precipitation-induced ionization and ionospheric outflows are significantly enhanced by collisionless ion and electron energization processes that occur in the lower magnetospheric region between the upper boundary of the TIEGCM and the lower boundary of the LFM. Empirical and physical transport models of these processes will be developed and included in the low-altitude LFM boundary conditions. The global electrodynamic interaction between the thermospheric winds and magnetospheric convection and, in particular, the "flywheel" feedback of thermospheric winds on magnetospheric convection will be characterized.

Thermosphere/Ionosphere Physics: The global interaction between ionization and heating induced by solar EUV and X-rays and the effects produced by M/I coupling will be determined. This interaction will have immediate applications to forecasting atmospheric drag on satellites, especially during storm-time conditions. The effects on ionospheric structuring, variations in ionospheric content along specified slant paths, and the evolution of geomagnetic induced currents affecting ground-based electrical transmission systems will be investigated. At low latitudes, where interhemispheric flows arise, studies of penetration electric fields on plasmaspheric structure and the role of light ions at and above the exobase will also be enabled when the RCM is coupled with the LFM and TIEGCM models as described above.

Magnetic Storms: Magnetic storms are the premier space weather events, and the cause of many catastrophic space weather incidents. Magnetospheric behavior during magnetic storms is not well understood both because it is poorly sampled since storms are relatively rare, and because the coupling between the solar wind, magnetosphere, and ionosphere is much stronger during storms. CISM models will let us explore this coupling under extreme conditions in ways that are just not possible presently. Determining the role of the convection electric field on the storm-time ring current is a problem of central importance to understanding magnetic storms. We will investigate the phenomenon of "undershielding" which happens when the solar wind electric field changes suddenly thereby exposing the low-latitude ionosphere to electric fields from high latitudes and modifying the ionosphere's radio propagation properties. This is very important for understanding the erosion of the plasmasphere during storms and the location of the auroral electrojet. Reaching closure on these issues is important if CISM is to make substantive advances in treating storm conditions.

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Model Development and Computational Science Goals

Model development will both lead to models that will be used to better our scientific understanding of the space environment, and be enabled by our better understanding. The development of the Sun-to-Earth Model will be based on a concept of generations. Each model generation will use more sophisticated and/or comprehensive physics, and more advanced or sophisticated computational tools. Model generations will be developed on a two-year cycle.

Empirical Model: During the first year, the first end-to-end model will be built using existing semi-empirical models as components. This model will provide a baseline functionality and skill factor against which later physics-based models can be judged. Output parameters will be physical quantities that can later be compared to those derived from the physics-based models. Versions or parts of this model may be suitable for transitioning into forecast tools.

Version 1 Coupled Model: The first generation physics-based model will couple the existing physics based codes on an ad hoc basis. Codes will be coupled together in whatever way makes sense for the particular codes with little eye for generality. This is extremely valuable for the development of a more general coupling scheme or "framework."

OOP [Object Oriented Programming] Modular I Model: The second generation physics-based model, the first to use OOP techniques, will use the Meta-Chaos package developed at the University of Maryland for interprocess communication and the Overture framework being developed at Livermore to handle translation from one code's grid and variables to another.

OOP Modular II Model: Development of the third generation of physics-based model will begin in the fourth year of the project. It will make use of the latest developments in code coupling technology developed by others in the meantime. One candidate technology is the NCAR Earth Sciences framework that will be developed during the first three years of this project.

Data Assimilation: Data assimilation is a powerful technique that can keep real time simulations tied to observations and the true state of the system. These ideas are well developed in the meteorological community, and are commonly used in meteorological forecast models; they are beginning to be used in upper atmospheric simulations, but have yet to be widely used in space physics applications. The technical problems of introducing observational data into the middle of numerical calculations in order to update predictions and correct simulation errors are significant. During the first year of CISM we will carefully study what has been learned and what is practiced by other communities, and use this knowledge to develop a plan for adapting these techniques so that they can be used in space physics applications.

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Education Plan

The goals of the CISM education plan are twofold: training the next generation space physicists who will come from diverse backgrounds, be capable of using the tools of computational science to study the space environment, and approach problems from an interdisciplinary viewpoint; and a better public understanding of the Sun and its affect on the Earth's space environment.

The CISM education plan will integrate the training of the next generation of space physicists with the research program of the Center, provide opportunities for K-12 teachers to learn about space weather and the research process and provide them materials to incorporate space weather topics into their teaching, increase the opportunities for women and other underrepresented groups in science, and educate the general public about space weather.

Integrating Research and Education: Research and education will be integrated in multiple ways throughout CISM. Integration of education and research means researchers being educators, it means educators and students being researchers, and it means including the results of research in what is taught. Each component of our education plan feeds from and is integrated into our research effort. The graduate summer school will make use of results from and models and tools developed in our research program, and prepare students to make use of these tools in their graduate careers and beyond. Our undergraduate research program immerses undergraduates in our research program at a critical time in their careers, teaching them what being a scientist is all about. Our teacher interns will similarly be immersed in our research program, learning first hand about the research process, and using this to help inspire their colleagues. Results from our research will feed directly into our teacher workshop and curriculum development programs. Furthermore we will evaluate thoroughly the effectiveness of our education programs.

Graduate Students: The CISM graduate students will form an important cadre of the next generation of space scientists. CISM will provide the means to supplement their normal academic graduate education by using annual meetings or other gatherings to provide professional training in topics such as proposal development and management, teaching techniques, etc.

To introduce new students to space weather modeling, a two-week summer school aimed at beginning graduate students will be held each summer. The school will introduce space weather concepts treating the solar-terrestrial system in a unified fashion and will teach the use of models in space weather research, prediction, and education. Although the school will be targeted at beginning graduate students, it will also be appropriate for advanced undergraduates or young professionals new to space weather.

Undergraduate Students: Research opportunities provide a proven means of retaining undergraduate students in science and preparing them for graduate school or the workplace. We will have two related programs. During the academic year opportunities for undergraduates will be available at those CISM sites that teach undergraduates. A coordinated summer program will allow more interactions between students and an opportunity for them to spend time at other institutions.

K-12 Education: CISM will contribute to K-12 education primarily through teacher workshops and by hosting teacher summer interns. Partnerships between some of the CISM institutions and their local school districts will provide important local involvement and a testing ground for workshop products. CISM will develop a program of workshops that provide K-12 teachers with exposure to space weather concepts and materials for classroom use. Teacher interns at some CISM sites will spend the summer gaining research experience. They will also help develop and test classroom materials, and assist with running local teacher workshops. Teacher workshops held at national venues such as SACNAS, NSBP, and NSTA, will target teachers that serve in predominantly Black, Hispanic and Native American communities.

Ethics Training: CISM We will develop a set of "rules of the road" for CISM members that address use of models and model results, and rules of acknowledgement and authorship. We will develop a program of ethics training that covers the rules of the road and that deals with the major issues relevant to an observational physical science. These include data management, research misconduct, publication and authorship, and conflicts of interest.

Promoting Diversity: All components of the CISM education will be used to promote diversity and increase the involvement of women and underrepresented minorities in space science.. Using our predominantly minority institutions, U. Texas El Paso, and Alabama A&M U., we will specifically target applications from underrepresented minorities for the graduate summer school, with a target of at least 8 women students or students from underrepresented minorities. Similarly we will target applications from underrepresented minorities for the undergraduate researcher positions, with a target of at least 3 women students or students from underrepresented minorities at all times. Some of the K-12 teacher workshops will be specifically targeted towards teachers from underserved school districts that serve populations of predominantly underrepresented minorities, with the target of reaching 50 such teachers per year.

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Knowledge Transfer Plan

The CISM knowledge transfer plan will promote the exchange of information, tools, and techniques between CISM and other communities, particularly the broader space science research community, the space weather specification and forecasting operational community, and the aerospace engineering and other user communities. The plan has three distinct components: Transition of forecasting tools to NOAA/SEC; dissemination of community models to the scientific community; and training and interaction with industrial partners and government labs and agencies.

Forecasting and Specification Tools: The development and transition of specification and forecasting tools is a major component of the overall CISM plan. This goal has a tremendous benefit to CISM in that it will serve to focus research into areas most relevant to society's space weather needs. We will facilitate this goal through the close partnership between CISM and the NOAA Space Environment Center (SEC).

A highly experienced and highly motivated CISM-supported scientist will be based at NOAA/SEC and become the primary means of information transfer between SEC and CISM. SEC and CISM recognize that model transfer can only be effected by a close working partnership between the scientist(s) who developed the model and the operators who will use it. The CISM liaison will provide this connection, becoming an integral member of the SEC Rapid Prototyping Center (RPC) team, aiding the transfer of CISM-generated models into SEC operations, and consulting daily with the SEC forecasters, programmers, and scientists. This scientist will be a catalyst for getting evaluation and development work done at SEC. But, even more importantly, by working this closely with SEC personnel, the CISM liaison will develop a profound understanding and insight into the pressing needs of SEC and its customers. The liaison will transfer this knowledge to CISM team members and also transfer knowledge about model development within CISM back to SEC.

Knowledge Transfer within the Space Physics Community: The integrated models developed by CISM can be used to test new ideas and explore the complex space environment in ways not possible using only observations. Visualization of a global model provides the best way of understanding the complex 3-D structure and dynamics of the space environment. CISM will make these models available to the space physics community, both through archives of model run results for various standard conditions, and versions of the models that are sufficiently user friendly for other scientists to run them with their own inputs to simulate particular events or conditions of interest to them. These resources will be made available over the internet. We will also work closely with the Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC), to provide community access to our models.

Industrial and Government Partners: Interaction with industrial and government partners will occur in various ways, including participation in the annual summer school, CISM presence at NOAA's Space Weather Week, industrial sponsorship of "Space Weather Fellowships" for graduate students and post-docs, and a program of a seminar series whereby CISM members visit industrial partners to present on-site seminars and other training.

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Management Plan

The CISM management structure is described in the attached organizational chart. Jeffrey Hughes is CISM Director and PI. Chuck Goodrich is the CISM deputy director with direct responsibility for the computational science and code coupling aspects of the center. He has direct points of contact at most CISM sites (see chart). Five co-directors have responsibility for different aspects of CISM. Ramon Lopez, co-director for Education and Human Resources, also has direct points of contact at each of the CISM institutions. Daniel Baker has direct responsibility for the Knowledge Transfer component. The modeling efforts in solar, magnetospheric, and ionosphere/thermosphere/mesosphere physics are led by co-directors Janet Luhmann, Mary Hudson, and Timothy Killeen. These seven individuals comprise the CISM Executive Committee, CISM's primary management body that will confer at least monthly. The Executive Committee is responsible for setting tasks and time lines, for monitoring progress against these goals, for preventing and resolving conflicts that may arise between CISM groups, and for deciding the reallocation of resources between tasks, should this become necessary. The director has ultimate authority and responsibility. Implementing the executive committee's decisions and the day-to-day management of CISM is the responsibility of the deputy director and director. This overall management plan provides the structure, depth, and breadth needed to manage our complex center. Our management team has, both individually and collectively through our working together, the experience and resolve required to effectively manage CISM.

The CISM assistant director, Kathryn Nottingham, reports directly to the director and is responsible for all administrative functions, including budget management, overseeing data collection and maintaining the data-bases required for evaluation and to monitor progress against milestones. The education coordinator at Boston University has primary responsibility for program evaluation and will be the point of contact for NSF. The UTEP education coordinator has primary responsibility for scheduling the education program, and coordinating events. The Knowledge Transfer liaison scientist based at NOAA/SEC reports directly to Daniel Baker.

At each CISM site, the local principal investigator is responsible for managing activities at that site and for the local budget. They coordinate with the appropriate co-directors to ensure that local activities are coordinated with the overall CISM plan.

The CISM Advisory Council will be constituted by 1 December 2002 and first meet before March 2003. Thereafter it will meet at least annually to review the activities of CISM, and to provide guidance, advice, and oversight of all Center objectives. The Council membership will be diverse, represent academia, industry, and government agencies, and have expertise across all the activities of the Center.

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