Real­-Time Ensemble Forecasting of Coronal Mass Ejections Using the Wsa-Enlil+Cone Model

Thursday, 18 December 2014
M. Leila Mays1,2, Aleksandre Taktakishvili1,2, Antti A Pulkkinen1, Dusan Odstrcil3, Peter J MacNeice1, Lutz Rastaetter1 and Jack A LaSota4, (1)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, United States, (3)George Mason University Fairfax, Computational and Data Sciences, Fairfax, VA, United States, (4)University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States
Ensemble forecasting of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) provides significant information in that it provides an estimation of the spread or uncertainty in CME arrival time predictions. Real-time ensemble modeling of CME propagation is performed by forecasters at the Space Weather Research Center (SWRC) using the WSA-ENLIL+cone model available at the Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC). To estimate the effect of uncertainties in determining CME input parameters on arrival time predictions, a distribution of n (routinely n=48) CME input parameter sets are generated using the CCMC Stereo CME Analysis Tool (StereoCAT) which employs geometrical triangulation techniques. These input parameters are used to perform n different simulations yielding an ensemble of solar wind parameters at various locations of interest, including a probability distribution of CME arrival times (for hits), and geomagnetic storm strength (for Earth-directed hits). We present the results of ensemble simulations for a total of 38 CME events in 2013-2014. For 28 of the ensemble runs containing hits, the observed CME arrival was within the range of ensemble arrival time predictions for 14 runs (half). The average arrival time prediction was computed for each of the 28 ensembles predicting hits and using the actual arrival time, an average absolute error of 10.0 hours (RMSE=11.4 hours) was found for all 28 ensembles, which is comparable to current forecasting errors. Some considerations for the accuracy of ensemble CME arrival time predictions include the importance of the initial distribution of CME input parameters, particularly the mean and spread. When the observed arrivals are not within the predicted range, this still allows the ruling out of prediction errors caused by tested CME input parameters. Prediction errors can also arise from ambient model parameters such as the accuracy of the solar wind background, and other limitations. Additionally the ensemble modeling sysem was used to complete a parametric event case study of the sensitivity of the CME arrival time prediction to free parameters for ambient solar wind model and CME. The parameter sensitivity study suggests future directions for the system, such as running ensembles using various magnetogram inputs to the WSA model.