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December 4, 2017

NSF-funded research to forecast space weather, protect the power grid, pipelines and satellites

Multidisciplinary approach to developing next-generation space weather modeling tools, with the goal of a five-day forecast capability

While Earth's weather reports center on precipitation, temperature, wind direction and velocity, and humidity, space weather forecasts attempt to predict activity that occurs on the sun -- and how the particle and electromagnetic radiation caused by that activity will affect Earth.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), these solar plasma physicists at the University of Michigan study solar storms as they form and then barrel off the sun, sometimes hitting Earth with damaging force.

Space weather has the potential to interfere with everything from satellite communications to electrical power. This team is aiming for a five-day forecast capability to give government, private industry, satellite operators and power grid companies more time to take necessary action to protect critical infrastructure.

This grant is for partial support of a project selected and funded under the 2012 NASA-NSF partnership for Space Weather Modeling Collaborations. It is a collaborative effort between NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the University of Michigan.

The research in this episode was supported by NSF grant #1322543, A Modular Capability for Community Modeling of Flares, Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and their Interplanetary Impacts.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Kate Tobin, Science Nation Producer

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.