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Webinar: Modeling Geospace

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Thursday, 09 February 2017, 12:00

Thursday, February 9, 2017. 12:00 PM. Eastern Time. Webinar: Modeling Geospace. Mike Wiltberger, HAO. Sponsored by National Center for Atmospheric Research. More information here.


Geospace, the region extending from the upper atmosphere out into the near-Earth space environment, is dynamic place driven by the Sun. Major space weather events within geospace are typically driven by coronal mass ejections on the Sun. These space weather events are most commonly known by the strong aurora or northern lights that they create. They can also have impacts on satellites, the accuracy of global positioning system, and disrupt the operation of power grids. Modern modeling of geospace is accomplished through coupling of regional models of the thermosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere. Utilization of high performance computing platforms allows geospace simulations to be conducted at unprecedented resolution and over long simulation intervals. The large data sets produced by these simulations provide opportunities for novel discoveries. A machine learning analysis of the field-aligned current patterns over a range of resolutions for a month of solar wind driving shows that the ratio of Region 1 to Region 2 currents between the magnetosphere and ionosphere to decrease as the simulation resolution increases. This brings the simulation results into better agreement with observations and empirical model predictions. An excellent example simulation enabled discovery is linkage of narrow high-speed flow channels, also known as bursty bulk flows (BBFs), to sites of magnetic reconnection in the magnetotail. The recent addition of mass coupling between the magnetosphere and ionosphere to these modeling frameworks has enabled the discovery that periodic disturbances in the magnetosphere known as sawtooth events can be regulated by the intensity this mass coupling. The future of geospace modeling includes many challenges. Key among these is the ability development of a robust whole geospace model that will be able to comprehensively simulating the entire geospace system, including both electrodynamic and mass coupling, without any gaps in spatial coverage.

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