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High-Resolution Space-Weather Model, 15-9146

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Principal Investigators
Geoffrey Crowley
Christopher J. Freitas

Inclusive Dates: 07/01/99 - Current

Background - Space-weather refers to those conditions on the sun, in the solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere, thermosphere, and mesosphere, that can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems and can endanger human life or health. One goal of the National Space Weather Program is to produce weather forecasts for the entire region of space ranging from the sun to the Earth's middle atmosphere. Although existing simpler models can simulate individual parts of the system, the goal of forecasting the entire system is still several years away. Analogous with meteorology, various advances are needed, including: increased speed of the models, models with higher resolution, data assimilation, and the ability to forecast the inputs that drive the models. SwRI has developed a parallelized model of the 30- to 500-kilometer altitude region including the mesosphere, thermosphere, and ionosphere. In this research project, the team is seeking to improve the performance and accuracy of the existing model.

Approach - The new model, based on the SwRI parallelized Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere-Electrodynamics (TIMEGCM) model, would span the mesosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere. The goal is to address performance issues and model accuracy by implementing a Patched-Overset Grid capability based on the existing model. In this approach, a base-grid is constructed using patched grid blocks, in which the grid resolution in each block is uniform but potentially different from that in adjacent blocks. Interpolation functions then define the relationship of flow parameters across the patched interface of adjoining grid blocks. The dynamic variation of this approach is called Overset Grids. A hierarchy of overlying grid systems dynamically moves through the base grid and may have significantly finer grid resolutions than the base grid system. A secondary goal of the proposed work is to improve the input specification to the model by using the Assimilative Mapping of Ionospheric Electrodynamics (AMIE) technique to provide realistic high-latitude inputs.

Accomplishments - The existing parallelized TIMEGCM is being modified to accept high-latitude inputs specified by the AMIE technique. Specifically this modification includes particle precipitation and electric potential distribution throughout the high-latitude regions. The patched grid system for the new version of TIMEGCM is being designed.

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