Forecasting propagation and evolution of CMEs in an operational setting: What has been learned



[1] One of the major types of solar eruption, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) not only impact space weather, but also can have significant societal consequences. CMEs cause intense geomagnetic storms and drive fast mode shocks that accelerate charged particles, potentially resulting in enhanced radiation levels both in ions and electrons. Human and technological assets in space can be endangered as a result. CMEs are also the major contributor to generating large amplitude Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GICs), which are a source of concern for power grid safety. Due to their space weather significance, forecasting the evolution and impacts of CMEs has become a much desired capability for space weather operations worldwide. Based on our operational experience at Space Weather Research Center at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (, we present here some of the insights gained about accurately predicting CME impacts, particularly in relation to space weather operations. These include: 1. The need to maximize information to get an accurate handle of three-dimensional (3-D) CME kinetic parameters and therefore improve CME forecast; 2. The potential use of CME simulation results for qualitative prediction of regions of space where solar energetic particles (SEPs) may be found; 3. The need to include all CMEs occurring within a ~24 h period for a better representation of the CME interactions; 4. Various other important parameters in forecasting CME evolution in interplanetary space, with special emphasis on the CME propagation direction. It is noted that a future direction for our CME forecasting is to employ the ensemble modeling approach.