Improved short-term forecasting of space weather



Geomagnetic disturbances caused by solar activity, known as space weather, can disrupt satellite communications and damage power grid equipment. Forecasts can give satellite operators and electrical transmission line companies time to take action to protect their equipment. Geomagnetic disturbances are challenging to predict, but improvements in forecasting are being made. Bala and Reiff describe new forecasts of two indices of geomagnetic activity, Dst and AE, as well as improvements in forecasting another geomagnetic index, Kp. Their predictions, based on improved algorithms and solar activity data from the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite, provide 1-, 3-, and 6-hour lead time forecasts. As expected, the greater lead time forecasts had greater uncertainty. Their system also provides e-mail alerts that warn subscribers of ongoing or imminent severe geomagnetic activity. To view the predictions in real time or sign up for alerts, visit visit (Space Weather, doi:10.1029/2012SW000779, 2012)