Space weather effects on technological systems originate with energy carried from the Sun to the terrestrial environment by the solar wind. In this study, we present results of modeling of solar corona-heliosphere processes to predict solar wind conditions at the L1 Lagrangian point upstream of Earth. In particular we calculate performance metrics for (1) empirical, (2) hybrid empirical/physics-based, and (3) full physics-based coupled corona-heliosphere models over an 8-year period (1995–2002). L1 measurements of the radial solar wind speed are the primary basis for validation of the coronal and heliosphere models studied, though other solar wind parameters are also considered. The models are from the Center for Integrated Space-Weather Modeling (CISM) which has developed a coupled model of the whole Sun-to-Earth system, from the solar photosphere to the terrestrial thermosphere. Simple point-by-point analysis techniques, such as mean-square-error and correlation coefficients, indicate that the empirical coronal-heliosphere model currently gives the best forecast of solar wind speed at 1 AU. A more detailed analysis shows that errors in the physics-based models are predominately the result of small timing offsets to solar wind structures and that the large-scale features of the solar wind are actually well modeled. We suggest that additional “tuning” of the coupling between the coronal and heliosphere models could lead to a significant improvement of their accuracy. Furthermore, we note that the physics-based models accurately capture dynamic effects at solar wind stream interaction regions, such as magnetic field compression, flow deflection, and density buildup, which the empirical scheme cannot.
American Geophysical Union
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Owens, M. J., H. E. Spence, S. McGregor, W. J. Hughes, J. M. Quinn, C. N. Arge, P. Riley, J. Linker, and D. Odstrcil (2008), Metrics for solar wind prediction models: Comparison of empirical, hybrid, and physics-based schemes with 8 years of L1 observations, Space Weather, 6, S08001, doi:10.1029/2007SW000380.
Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.