Space weather: The scientific forecast

Haimin Wang, P. T. Gallagher, Vasyl Yurchyshyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We summarize the work at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) related to Space Weather Forecasting.o(1)We use high-resolution vector magnetograph data from BBSO to monitor the magnetic structure of solar active regions continuously. The quantitative parameters that we are developing, which will aid forecasts, include integrated magnetic shear and total as well as net vertical electrical currents in the target active regions. Both current and shear represent free energy stored in magnetic fields.(2)We use the data from our four-station Hα network (located at BBSO, Kanzelhohe Solar Observatory in Austria, and the Yunnan and Huairou Observatories in China) to continuously monitor the whole sun with 1 arcsec pixel resolution and 1 minute cadence. This unique data set enables us to provide real time reports of all flux emergences, filament disappearances and flares-all with high resolution and cadence. Based on the detailed structure of the active regions and filaments, we can predict the probability of flaring in each particular region and the probability of the eruption of filaments.(3)We carry out a statistical study of filament eruptions and flares, their underlying magnetic structure, the onset of Coronal Mass Ejections, interplanetary magnetic clouds and geomagnetic storms. The results from this statistical study provides better tools for predicting solar activity and geomagnetic storms. Filament eruptions and flares are compared with magnetic field data observed by ACE and Wind, and with geomagnetic indices.(4)Every hour, GHN images are transferred to the web-based BBSO Active Region Monitor (ARM; ), which includes the most recent full-disk EUV, soft X-ray, continuum, and magnetogram data from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and Yohkoh. ARM also includes a variety of active region properties from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Environment Center, such as up-to-date active region positions and flare identification.(5)Furthermore, we have developed a Flare Prediction System which estimates the probability for each region to produce C-, M-, or X-class flares based on nearly eight years of NOAA data from cycle 22. This, in addition to BBSO's daily solar activity reports, has proven a useful resource for activity forecasting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-383
Number of pages9
JournalCOSPAR Colloquia Series
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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