A comparison of space weather analysis techniques used to predict the arrival of the Earth-directed CME and its shockwave launched on 8 April 2010


The Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME) of 8 April 2010 provided an opportunity for space weather predictions from both established and developmental techniques to be made from near–real time data received from the SOHO and STEREO spacecraft; the STEREO spacecraft provide a unique view of Earth-directed events from outside the Sun-Earth line. Although the near–real time data transmitted by the STEREO Space Weather Beacon are significantly poorer in quality than the subsequently downlinked science data, the use of these data has the advantage that near–real time analysis is possible, allowing actual forecasts to be made. The fact that such forecasts cannot be biased by any prior knowledge of the actual arrival time at Earth provides an opportunity for an unbiased comparison between several established and developmental forecasting techniques. We conclude that for forecasts based on the STEREO coronagraph data, it is important to take account of the subsequent acceleration/deceleration of each CME through interaction with the solar wind, while predictions based on measurements of CMEs made by the STEREO Heliospheric Imagers would benefit from higher temporal and spatial resolution. Space weather forecasting tools must work with near–real time data; such data, when provided by science missions, is usually highly compressed and/or reduced in temporal/spatial resolution and may also have significant gaps in coverage, making such forecasts more challenging.

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JGR: Space Physics



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