Space Weather 8, S07004, 2010
© American Geophysical Union

Application of a new phenomenological coronal mass ejection model to space weather forecasting

T.A. Howard
Dep. of Space Studies, Southwest Research Inst., Boulder, CO, USA

S.J. Tappin
National Solar Obs., Sunspot, NM


Recent work by the authors has produced a new phenomenological model for coronal mass ejections (CMEs). This model, called the Tappin‐Howard (TH) Model, takes advantage of the breakdown of geometrical linearity when CMEs are observed by white‐light imagers at large distances from the Sun. The model extracts 3‐D structure and kinematic information on the CME using heliospheric image data. This can estimate arrival times of the CME at 1 AU and impact likelihood with the Earth. Hence the model can be used for space weather forecasting. We present a preliminary evaluation of this potential with three mock trial forecasts performed using the TH Model. These are already‐studied events from 2003, 2004 and 2007 but we performed the trials assuming that they were observed for the first time. The earliest prediction was made 17 hours before impact and predicted arrival times reached differences within one hour for at least one forecast for all three events. The most accurate predicted arrival time was 15 min from the actual, and all three events reach accuracies of the order of 30 min. Arrival speeds were predicted to be very similar to the bulk plasma speed within the CME near 1 AU for each event, with the largest difference around 300 km/s and the least 40 km/s. The model showed great potential and we aspire to fully validate it for integration with existing tools for space weather forecasting.