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Quantifying the effect of ICME removal and observation age for in situ solar wind data assimilation

Turner, H. ORCID:, Owens, M. ORCID:, Lang, M. ORCID:, Gonzi, S. ORCID: and Riley, P. ORCID: (2022) Quantifying the effect of ICME removal and observation age for in situ solar wind data assimilation. Space Weather, 20 (8). e2022SW003109. ISSN 1542-7390

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2022SW003109


Accurate space weather forecasting requires advanced knowledge of the solar wind conditions in near-Earth space. Data assimilation (DA) combines model output and observations to find an optimum estimation of reality and has led to large advances in terrestrial weather forecasting. It is now being applied to space weather forecasting. Here, we use solar wind DA with in-situ observations to reconstruct solar wind speed in the ecliptic plane between 30 solar radii and Earth’s orbit. This is used to provide solar wind speed hindcasts. Here, we assimilate observations from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and the near-Earth dataset, OMNI. Analysis of two periods of time, one in solar minimum and one in solar maximum, reveals that assimilating observations from multiple spacecraft provides a more accurate forecast than using any one spacecraft individually. The age of the observations also has a significant impact on forecast error, whereby the mean absolute error (MAE) sharply increases by up to 23% when the forecast lead time first exceeds the corotation time associated with the longitudinal separation between the observing spacecraft and the forecast location. It was also found that removing coronal mass ejections from the DA input and verification time series reduces the forecast MAE by up to 10% as it removes false streams from the forecast time series. This work highlights the importance of an L5 space weather monitoring mission for near-Earth solar wind forecasting and suggests that an additional mission to L4 would further improve future solar wind DA forecasting capabilities.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:106108
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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