Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are huge explosions that propel plasma and magnetic field away from the Sun and are the primary cause of major geomagnetic storms. Predicting in advance whether observed CMEs will hit the Earth and carry geo-effective magnetic fields is a long-term priority for the CCMC, located at NASA GSFC, as well as other groups within and outside of NASA. Such predictions are extremely challenging, and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations are considered to be the most promising tool for achieving them.
Our interactive and highly automated MHD modeling framework, CORHEL-AMCG, will allow users to routinely model multiple observed CMEs in a realistic coronal and solar-wind environment and to propagate modeled CMEs to 1 AU. CORHEL-AMCG is designed to account for the complexity of pre-CME configurations, the slow initiation of CMEs, and their interaction in the corona and interplanetary space. By modeling the magnetic as well as the dynamical evolution of CMEs, CORHEL-AMCG can predict the negative Bz component of the interplanetary field arising from the CME, which is the primary driver of geo-effectiveness. These advances will make CORHEL-AMCG particularly useful scientifically and constitute a major step towards operational space-weather forecasting. CORHEL-AMCG will be delivered to the CCMC by the end of Phase II. Our vision beyond Phase II is to transition CORHEL-AMCG into an operational forecasting tool.
The proposed work is directly relevant to NASA's NSWAP activities, as it will "provide increased understanding of the fundamental physics of the Sun-Earth system through modeling", and it will contribute to NASA's Research-to-Operations/Operations-to-Research (R2O/O2R) responsibilities by aiding in the "preparation and validation of existing science models in preparation for transition to operations" and providing "ideas for future models tied to space weather forecasting needs", as stated in subtopic S5.06 of the FY 2018 SBIR/STTR Research topics.
The ultimate applications for CORHEL-AMCG are to provide forecasts of the geo-effectiveness of CMEs, and to aid in forecasts/characterizations of fluxes from solar particle events (SPEs). These applications are of interest to the CCMC at NASA GSFC, where they are testing various space-weather models to assess their applicability for eventual operations. The second application is also of interest to NASA SRAG, as it could enhance STAT (SPE Threat Assessment Tool), software that we have already delivered to the CCMC to support SRAG activities.
NOAA SWPC provides space-weather information to a range of aerospace and infrastructure customers, for many of whom the forecasting of CME impacts is a top priority. CORHEL-AMCG has the potential to revolutionize the forecasting of the geo-effectiveness of CMEs, and therefore would be of great interest to NOAA SWPC. This capability is likely to be of interest to the Air Force as well.