Learning from terrestrial weather: improved verification measures for space weather forecasting

Sophie A. Murray, Trinity College Dublin, School of Physics, Dublin, Ireland
Space weather forecasting has become a topic of increasing interest in research as well as operations in recent years, which is unsurprising considering the potentially damaging consequences a Carrington-level solar eruptive event could have on the technologies and infrastructures on which society has become dependent. Whilst our understanding of the fundamental processes involved with solar eruptions has advanced significantly with the improved availability of high-resolution observations and models, many new research discoveries have not yet been transitioned into operations. Operational space weather forecasting still lags behind that of its terrestrial counterpart in terms of accuracy.

The space weather community has begun to use methods used by the more established terrestrial weather community for improving operational methods. Techniques such as data assimilation and ensembles have proven extremely useful for model improvements across the Sun-Earth domain, and verification techniques have received significant attention. Verification of operational products is crucially important for model developers, forecasters, end-users, and stakeholders because it facilitates an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the forecasting process. This talk will outline some examples of useful techniques that are commonly used by weather forecasters, such as probabilistic verification, rare event statistics, and the use of climatology for benchmarking. Current international collaborative efforts that are driving these frontier techniques forward within the space weather community will also be highlighted.