Speaker: Caelia Gardiner
Location: Physics 175
Time: 3:30 August 11 2015
Forecasting Space Weather with SuperDARN
Abstract: Space weather can interfere with human activity in a variety of ways. Satellites and spacecraft can be damaged, human lives in orbit endangered, communications and GPS on the surface disrupted and power grids impaired. Due to the large effect space weather can have on our lives, research is conducted worldwide to help predict space weather patterns. Currently, the Canadian Space Weather Forecast Center of Natural Resources Canada is performing forecast services, collecting data on the magnetic field of the Earth at different points and issuing geomagnetic storm warnings. Because SuperDARN also provides international research stations with information on plasma motion in the ionosphere, it would be advantageous to have a similar forecast system based on radar readings. This system can be used to collaborate with existing magnetometer predictions to produce a more robust forecast process.
Convection patterns in the ionosphere arise due to the solar wind plasma and the interplanetary magnetic field orientation. These patterns are inferred from particle velocity readings taken by the SuperDARN. The combination of convection maps and particle velocity line graphs will help predict plasma motion in the atmosphere. The existing convection maps, created using IDL and the Go library, display a rudimentary outline of the polar coast. It would be more beneficial to the reader to have a more explicit image of the polar coast under the convection maps, with the added functionality of labeling specific locations. Existing equirectangular map projections are warped to provide a polar stereographic view, with a conversion from geographic latitude/longitude to geomagnetic coordinates. This warped image is placed under the convection map in place of the coastal outline to provide a more visually coherent image. While this projection functionality will make the convection maps less ambiguous, it will also be useful in future polar maps, for educational or outreach purposes.