Parallel sessions

Parallel Space Weather Research (SWR) sessions:

Convenors: Ivan Milic, Azaymi Litzi Siu Tapia, David Orozco Suarez, Belen Grinon Marin

The rationale of this session refers to the sources of space weather in the lower solar atmosphere, specifically the fundamental magnetic processes in these layers that shape the atmospheric dynamics and drive plasma eruptions and explosive events. The magnetic field in the photosphere and chromosphere is an input for magnetic extrapolation codes, flux transport, coronal and solar wind models, as well as solar cycle, flare, and CME prediction techniques. This field cannot be measured directly but must be inferred from the intensity and polarization of the spectral lines in the solar spectrum. Tackling the problem through numerical simulations is equally challenging due to the presence of turbulent processes and the large range of scales involved in the coupling between the magnetic field and plasma. Therefore, understanding the generation and evolution of the magnetic field in the lower solar atmosphere is a task that requires considerable coordinated efforts between observers, theorists, and experts in numerical simulations.

The session welcomes contributions on the magnetic topology, dynamics, and coupling throughout the different layers of the solar atmosphere that help understanding the formation mechanisms of solar wind structures and the drivers of solar energetic phenomena. Likewise, we encourage contributions on the progress and development of novel diagnosis methods, analysis, modeling techniques, and the existing and upcoming solar observing facilities such as the ESA’s Vigil mission, SPRING, and the European Solar Telescope. We will bring together the developers of spectropolarimetric inversion codes, observers, experts on numerical simulations, and the users of photospheric and chromospheric magnetic field products delivered by space- and ground-based observatories (such as SDO/HMI, HINODE SOT, SO/PHI, SOLIS, etc.), to discuss the upcoming challenges, propose advancements, and establish stronger ties between solar physics and space weather communities.

Convenors: Simon Thomas, Steph Yardley, Laura Rodriguez-Garcia

Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are large explosions of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun which propagate out through the heliosphere. Magnetic reconnection processes during solar flares and shock waves driven by the largest CMEs can accelerate solar energetic particles (SEPs) to very high energies. These are then rapidly transported through the solar wind and can impact Earth providing a significant radiation hazard on top of the background galactic cosmic ray flux. A combination of CMEs and SEPs pose substantial threats if Earth-directed, affecting the power-grid, transport and pipelines through ground-induced currents, radar and global navigation systems, and radiation hazards to spacecraft and astronauts. Recently, efforts have been made to understand, model and forecast the transport of CMEs and energetic particles through the heliosphere and their impacts when they arrive at Earth and other planets. These advances have been rapid since the launches of Solar Orbiter and Parker Solar Probe, two new spacecraft which provide data from close to the Sun. Together with existing missions at L1 and from other vantage points such as STEREO and new planetary missions detecting energetic particles including BepiColombo and JUICE, we now have a constellation of spacecraft which allows us to better understand the inner heliosphere, advance space weather research, and enhance our ability to forecast CMEs and energetic particles.

This session will provide an opportunity to share and discuss recent advances in both observations and modelling of these space weather events and their impacts, and to initiate collaborations between researchers and industry.

Convenors: Ravindra Desai, Sarah Glauert, Adnane Osmane, Alex Lozinski

The inner magnetosphere is host to a range of dynamically varying plasma populations including cold plasmaspheric ions, the ring current and relativistic radiation belts. These populations are tightly coupled by a range of micro-scale wave-particle interactions, meso-scale and macro-scale dynamics, which lead to a complex interplay of acceleration, transport and loss. For example, chorus waves are generated by injected plasma sheet electrons and then accelerate 100s keV electrons to relativistic energies, forming the radiation belts, with this acceleration being most efficient in regions of low plasma density. In turn, precipitation of radiation belt particles into the atmosphere balances ionospheric outflows of cold plasma into the inner magnetosphere. Further research into these cross-scale couplings is essential to improve our understanding and ability to predict inner magnetospheric dynamics and the associated space weather impacts.

This session calls for observational, modeling and theoretical studies focusing on all topics related to inner magnetospheres, as well as review papers and mission concepts to help define the future direction of inner magnetospheric research within the space weather forecasting era. We invite observational contributions from current missions such as Arase, Themis, MMS and GPS, from ground-based facilities such as EISCAT, SuperDARN and VLF receivers, and from historical datasets such as from the Van Allen Probes, Cluster and earlier solar cycles. We invite numerical modeling contributions spanning Fokker Planck simulations, kinetic simulations of wave-particle interactions, and global modeling of the magnetosphere and its couplings to the ionosphere and solar wind, as well as novel machine learning approaches and solutions.

Convenors: Daria Kotova, Lucilla Alfonsi, Eelco Doornbos, Guram Kervalishvili

The session focuses on the state-of-the-art understanding of the complex mechanisms ruling the Magnetosphere-Ionosphere-Thermosphere (M-I-T) coupling and how they translate into space weather impacts.

Such an understanding is fundamental for the development of effective countermeasures against disruption, failure and deterioration of vulnerable technologies, such as GNSS critical applications, HF/VHF/UHF radio communications and LEO satellites operations. In order to forecast, warn, and mitigate adverse space weather effects, a better understanding of the M-I-T coupling plays a key role. It is essential to improve the prediction of: geomagnetic storm-time behaviour of the occurrence of spread-F, polar cap patches and scintillation phenomena that can degrade navigation and communication systems, thermospheric density variability affecting satellite drag and the enhancement of field-aligned currents, just to mention a few examples. Another crucial aspect of M-I-T coupling is the interhemispheric symmetric/asymmetric response to variable drivers that, if properly predicted, could support regional space weather modelling.

Contributed papers may address (but are not limited to) recent developments in modelling and forecasting, monitoring methodologies, data analysis, measurement campaigns and international initiatives related to M-I-T coupling and associated threats on systems, at regional and global scales.

Convenors: Joana Alves Ribeiro, Fernando Pinheiro

Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GICs) result from rapid fluctuations in the Earth’s geomagnetic field, driven by intense solar wind activity. These induced currents flow within the Earth’s subsurface and along conductive human-made infrastructures. In today’s technologically dependent world, the calculation of GICs has assumed paramount importance, owing to the potentially catastrophic repercussions they can inflict, including large-scale blackouts or dangerous misoperation of electrified railway signalling systems.

Accurate GIC simulations require a comprehensive understanding of various contributing factors, including geomagnetic field variations, Earth’s conductivity, and grounded conductors topology and properties. Efficient numerical algorithms are also required, particularly when dealing with large conducting networks. Finally, GIC sensors are crucial to validate simulation models.

This session seeks to address different contributors to reliable GIC simulations and recent developments in GIC monitoring systems.

Conveners: Sabrina Guastavino, Francesco Marchetti, Gautier Nguyen and Ioanna Bouri

In recent years, space weather and space climate studies have flourished with the help of machine learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods in general. These techniques have widely demonstrated their ability to handle ever-growing quantities of data measurements across the Sun-Earth system environments, from the solar atmosphere and the interplanetary medium to near-Earth space.

The objective of this session is to provide an opportunity for researchers to present and discuss results obtained using AI methodologies for space weather and space climate research. A possible non-exhaustive list of applications includes the classification and localization of solar regions, detection of solar structures, reconstruction of solar topologies, and prediction of energetic events like solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), geomagnetic events, and magnetospheric forcing by space weather.

In addition, we welcome submissions addressing the integration of theory-inspired physical constraints into data-driven, AI perspectives, as well as those on the use of AI in physical models.

Indeed, physics-informed or physics-driven modeling have now become crucial for the physical interpretability of AI model results. We also encourage contributions related to improving computational efficiency through AI methods, such as surrogate models, reduced model architectures operating in latent space, and knowledge distillation. As the quality of the input data constitutes a severe bottleneck to the performance of AI techniques, it is imperative to establish validation strategies using uncertainty quantification, ensuring the robustness of tested methods. Finally, we invite contributions focused on the upstream work of “ML-ready” -possibly annotated- datasets, consistent dataset augmentation, and data-centric AI preprocessing of raw in-situ measurements, such as calibration, cleaning, and gap-filling.

Community-driven (CD) sessions:

Convenors: Carine Briand, Mark Clilverd, Tamal Basak, Liliana Macotela

The ionospheric D layer is one of the most misunderstood regions of Earth’s environment, although it controls the absorption of certain radio waves and connects the neutral atmosphere to the magnetosphere and radiation belts. Disturbances to its electron density can lead to HF communication disruptions, a threat considered by the International Civil Aviation Organization. The session focuses on two types of natural forcing: solar flares and lightning. Solar flares produce the largest perturbations in D-layer electron density of all transient events. Lightning induces precipitation of electrons in the D layer, either by direct heating of the lower ionosphere or by wave-particle coupling in the radiation belts. The discovery of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs, such as sprites, elves, and gigantic jets) above thunderstorm areas has heightened interest in studies of the relationships between thunderstorms and the lower ionosphere.

Speakers are invited to present analysis of recent solar flares, as the solar maximum is approaching, and lightning events. The focus will be given to scientific results but also to new techniques for real-time processing and post-processing, particularly for detection of the weak signals due to sprites/elves. The second aim of the session is to discuss the impact of the D-layer disturbances on HF absorption. HF users are thus invited to present their needs and operational constraints.

Convenors: Domenico Di Mauro, Lenka Zychova, Jean Lilensten, Lisa Nelson

Space weather and space climate play significant roles in modern societies, impacting technology and infrastructures. However, public awareness and understanding of these phenomena remain limited. Educational and outreach efforts are essential for bridging this gap and empowering individuals and communities to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities associated with space weather and space climate. The transfer of knowledge is essential for the advancement of science. This applies not only in scientific contexts using appropriate language, but also in everyday lives of people, and even more in the younger generations. If this handover occurs in a natural and powerful way, possibly igniting passions and fostering a desire for further knowledge, the evolution of science, at any level, will take place automatically.

Given the crucial importance of supporting and strengthening scientific education and outreach in space weather, we invite submissions of oral and poster presentations in the following (but not limited to) topics of interest:

  • Best Practices in Space Weather Education: Effective strategies, resources, and tools for teaching space weather concepts across different educational levels
  • Engaging the Public: Successful outreach initiatives aimed at including citizen science projects, public lectures, exhibitions, and media campaigns, aimed at raising awareness and fostering interest in space weather and climate.
  • Collaborative Partnerships: Examples of collaborations between scientists, educators, policymakers, industry professionals, and community leaders to promote space weather education and outreach.
  • Integrating Space Weather into Curricula: Approaches for incorporating space weather topics into formal education curricula, including STEM programs, to enhance students’ scientific literacy and critical thinking skills.
  • Impact of Space Weather Education: Assessments and evaluations of educational and outreach efforts, including evaluating their effectiveness in increasing knowledge, changing attitudes, and inspiring future generations of scientists and engineers.

Convenors: Asim Khawaja, Yihua Zheng, Dedong Wang

The heliosphere is a vast region consisting of diverse populations of particles spanning a broad energy range from a few eV to 100s MeVs, which can lead to different space weather impacts on space hardware and human life. Understanding the dynamics of the heliosphere, particularly the near-Earth and cislunar environment, is crucial for space exploration and operations.

This session encourages submissions from a broad range of experts working in areas of space weather, heliophysics and development of near-Earth environment modelling frameworks including researchers, engineers, scientists, satellite operators and other end-users. In particular, we encourage contributors to focus on ways to improve modelling of the near-Earth space radiation and plasma environment through integration of space weather models, engineering tools and innovative scientific methods, such as AI/machine learning, data assimilation, ensemble modelling, open science, for space weather forecasts and applications in operations. We also encourage continuous user-oriented systematic model validations, together with uncertainty quantification, to ensure the healthy cycle of space weather models and to ready them for space weather purposes.

This session is in-line with COSPAR/ISWAT G3 Cluster activities and objectives (https://www.iswat-cospar.org/g3) and addressing the Space Weather requirements of ESA’s Space Safety Programme.

Convenors: Martin Reiss, Barbara Perri, Karin Muglach, Evangelia Samara

Progress in space weather research and awareness requires an accurate assessment of our current modeling capabilities. Such an assessment can be achieved with the help of comprehensive, consistent, and reproducible validation procedures. Developing the necessary validation infrastructure needs a synergistic effort between scientists and software developers across space weather research domains.

In this session, we specifically welcome contributions that highlight:

  • Recent progress in validating heliophysics and space weather models;
  • The usage of multi-spacecraft observations for model validation;
  • Software and tool developments that facilitate open model validation;
  • Open-source development of metrics and validation procedures;
  • Community-coordinated validation projects.

Convenors: Athanasios Papaioannou, Rami Vainio, Alexis P. Rouillard, Bernd Heber

Adverse space weather conditions and their consequences are challenging to predict. Very high-energy solar energetic particles (E>100 MeV protons) pose a considerable risk for astronaut’s lives, destroy satellite electronics and can reach crew and passengers in aircraft flying altitudes over the Poles. Despite the fact that such particles have been observed for decades from spacecraft and ground-based instruments (such as AMS-02, PAMELA and neutron monitors), the scarcity of measurements that would fill the gap in the energy spectral region from beyond the nominal science-grade spacecraft instrument capabilities up to that of ground-based recordings, still hampers our understanding and our capability to make accurate predictions. New missions and sophisticated techniques have massively expanded our capabilities, opening new possibilities to innovative approaches to analyze and model past events as well as develop novel predictive capabilities. Such efforts have been recently fostered by EU funding (SPEARHEAD, SOLER, SERPENTINE among others).

The goal of this session is to provide a forum for new and ongoing efforts bridging the gap between lower and high energies, facilitating space weather research and extending future predictive capabilities. We invite abstracts covering observations, models, and their combinations.

Convenors: Larisza Krista, Fadil Inceoglu

Solar flares are known to have a significant impact on space weather. While main-stage flares are routinely observed and “now-casted”, forecasting these eruptions in a consistent and reliable way is still a challenge. To achieve reliable and timely forecasts, the physical processes leading up to eruptions as well as their triggering mechanisms need to be better understood. The flare research community boasts a plethora of approaches that aim to tackle this complex problem by investigating eruptions across different layers of the solar atmosphere and through different timelines. In this session we aim to bring together members of flare research community to focus on the latest achievements in flare research and the resulting advances in space weather forecasting.

We welcome data intensive methods such as numerical-modeling, various AI frameworks, including machine learning and deep learning, or a combination of these methods. We encourage and welcome the discussion on how different methods can be compared and validated for the best assessment of accuracy. We also welcome members of the industry who might benefit from flare forecasting to share their insights on what practical needs and applications would help mitigate space weather hazards resulting from solar flares.

Convenors: Stephan G. Heinemann, Mateja Dumbović

The heliospheric background solar wind structure is primarily shaped by the interplay between slow and fast wind components. Stream interaction and co-rotating interaction regions (SIRs/CIRs) may form shocks, compression zones, and rarefaction regions, which are key drivers of minor to moderate geomagnetic activity. Therefore, achieving a thorough understanding of heliospheric solar wind dynamics, in conjunction with the ambient magnetic field and their origins, is crucial for improving the precision and effectiveness of space weather forecasts.

In this session, our objective is to explore current topics pertaining to the origin, evolution, and space weather-related effects of slow and fast solar wind. Recent missions like the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) and Solar Orbiter (SolO), as well as established ones such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories (STEREOs), offer extensive data that can be used to validate, enhance, and refine existing knowledge in this field.

We encourage submissions that delve into various aspects, including the sources of slow and fast solar winds, the mechanisms driving solar wind acceleration and outflow, and the complexities of stream interactions, as well as the magnetic field and plasma topology at the source surface and within the inner heliosphere. Moreover, we welcome research endeavors that combine observational data with modeling approaches to further our understanding of solar and heliospheric physics within the context of space weather forecasting.

Convenors: Consuelo Cid, Ilya Usoskin, Kazumasa Iwai, Audrey Schillings

This session welcomes submissions on research topics related to Space Weather and Space Climate but not covered by other focused sessions. This includes but is not limited to, e.g., Space Climate, long-term solar variability, and solar-terrestrial effects.

Convenors: Krista Hammond, Karl Laundal, Antonio Guerrero, Suzy Bingham

Throughout the first half of May 2024, an active region was rotated across the solar disc (as viewed from the Earth) which grew both in size and magnetic complexity.  It ultimately gave rise to a numerous large flares, including several X-class flares (at least two of which exceeded X5).  Associated with the activity around this active region were a number of moderately-large fast CMEs (several of which exceeded 1,000 km/s launch speeds), many of which were Earth directed.  

Due to the quick succession and varying speeds of the CME launches, several CMEs merged and interacted as they travelled through the interplanetary medium leading to enhanced effects in the Earth’s space environment.  These subsequent complex magnetic structures traversing the interplanetary medium increased the geo-effectiveness of the events at Earth.  This gave rise to a geomagnetic storm commencing on 10th May which rose to G5 levels (the largest geomagnetic storm since the October 2003 Halloween Events) and persisted through much of the weekend giving rise to auroras at low magnetic latitudes (well below 50°) in both hemispheres.  The space weather at this time also resulted in strong radio blackouts and moderate solar energetic particle events with radiation-belt enhancements throughout the days following.  There are already some reports from around the globe of suggestive impacts on critical national infrastructures and a degradation of GNSS systems’ performance was clearly seen across several countries.  Although the jury is still out, early thoughts see these events as at least a 1-in-10 year scenario.

Given the nature of this late-breaking session, we welcome submissions across the board for these events which include, but are not limited to, observations, simulations/modelling, forecasts, and impacts; thus, covering all aspects of these severe space weather events throughout the first half of May 2024.

Application Pipeline (APL) sessions:

Convenors: Daniel Heynderickx, Pete Truscott, Simon Clucas, Ingmar Sandberg

In recent years, substantial progress has been made in the development of software environments that provide access to science models and datasets, such as VSWMC and CCMC. Efforts are being made to standardise these developments with the aim of using consistent metadata specifications and generic APIs. In this context, substantial experience and knowledge has been gained by various groups involved in building and operating space weather services, but to a certain extent this expertise is not fully shared. This session aims at furthering knowledge and resource sharing in order to avoid duplication of effort and resources by sharing codes and methodologies. We solicit contributions demonstrating in technical detail model and data implementation chains, sharing lessons learned and suggesting open development and resource sharing.

Convenors: Mike Marsh, Mpho Tshisaphungo, Judith de Patoul, Kasper van Dam

The field of solar physics and space weather is rapidly evolving with the development of advanced computational models and observational technologies, which are crucial for understanding the physical mechanisms of space phenomena. Concurrently, the reliance on space weather forecasts is increasing in sectors like aviation, satellite operations, and power grids. As a result, end users’ demand for precision and reliability in forecasts is growing, highlighting the need for immediate awareness of space weather conditions. The operational framework for space weather forecasting necessitates real-time data acquisition and monitoring to communicate effectively with end users, providing clear and timely information to help them prepare for and respond to space weather events. Therefore, implementing the latest research findings in operational frameworks is essential to enhance the accuracy of forecasts.

This session aims to explore the critical pathway between space weather research and practical operations, with an emphasis on the production, evolution, and deployment of real-world space weather forecasting applications. We invite experts from academia, industry, and government agencies to share insights, methodologies, and success stories. We encourage abstracts from the wider community covering various topics, including (but not limited to):

  • Transitioning scientific research from conceptualization to practical implementation;
  • Successes, challenges, and best practices in Research to Operations (R2O) and Operations to Research (O2R);
  • Frameworks, test beds, proving grounds, and coordinated efforts for R2O;
  • End-user engagement from the start of a project through to application refinement;
  • Overcoming challenges in the operational environment – real-time data, testing, evaluation.