How NOAA/DSCOVR Will Perform during Extreme Space Weather and Why Lead Time Exceeds Expectations

Friday, 19 December 2014
Douglas Alan Biesecker, NOAA Boulder, SWPC, Boulder, CO, United States
The NOAA/DSCOVR satellite is expected to launch in January, 2015 and replace the NASA/ACE satellite as the L1 Sentinel in early Summer, 2015. Having relied on ACE to provide critical warnings of geomagnetic storms since 1998, it is important for the space weather community to understand how DSCOVR will perform relative to ACE in real-time operations. The WIND/SWE instrument is sufficiently similar to the DSCOVR Faraday Cup that it can be used as a proxy for DSCOVR, with some caveats. We compare the ACE/SWEPAM and WIND/SWE observations for all geomagnetic storm events meeting the criteria of severe or extreme. We also examine time periods where ACE data were compromised by solar energetic particles. We find that DSCOVR will provide a more robust data stream than was provided by ACE during solar cycle 23. We will briefly address the magnetometer, supra-thermal particle measurements, and relativistic proton measurements provided by ACE, of which only the magnetometer is retained on DSCOVR. We also demonstrate that lead time for geomagnetic storm notifications to customers far exceeds the L1 to Earth delay time.