- This event has passed.
Understanding the dynamics of killer electrons in Earth’s radiation belts: a synthesis of high-performance computing, data assimilation, and physics-based modeling
October 28, 2015 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Dr. Adam C. Kellerman, Researcher,
Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences
University of California, Los Angeles
The Van Allen radiation belts are torii-shaped regions of trapped energetic particles, that in recent years, have become a principle focus for satellite operators and engineers. During geomagnetic storms, electrons can be accelerated up to relativistic energies, where they can penetrate spacecraft shielding and damage electrical systems, causing permanent damage or loss of spacecraft. In addition, the high-energy particles can be dangerous for humans in space. Observations from spacecraft in the solar wind and in Earth orbit, together with physics-based models can provide a means to mitigate the risk by combining the observations and model together to better understand how particles are effected globally, leading to better space weather prediction. A sophisticated way of obtaining accurate nowcasts is to use data assimilation to combine the observations with a model in an optimal way, so that one can reconstruct the global structure of the radiation belts at any given time. The Space Environment Modeling Group (SEMG) http://rbm.epss.ucla.edu at UCLA has constructed a data-assimilative version of the state-of-the-art Versatile Electron Radiation Belt (VERB) code, which can reproduce global particle dynamics in the radiation belts. In this presentation it is demonstrated how a synthesis of high-performance computing and physics research has supported cutting edge research to develop a model, which has already been used to rediscover the nature of past geomagnetic superstorms. Further, the group has developed a framework which is used to make real-time forecasts of the Earth’s radiation belts, which may be used for mitigation of risks to current spacecraft operators and humans in space.