J. Space Weather Space Clim.
Volume 7, 2017
|Number of page(s)
|22 November 2017
Forecasting Kp from solar wind data: input parameter study using 3-hour averages and 3-hour range values
Swedish Institute of Space Physics,
2 GFZ German Research Centre For Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 25 September 2017
We have developed neural network models that predict Kp from upstream solar wind data. We study the importance of various input parameters, starting with the magnetic component Bz, particle density n, and velocity V and then adding total field B and the By component. As we also notice a seasonal and UT variation in average Kp we include functions of day-of-year and UT. Finally, as Kp is a global representation of the maximum range of geomagnetic variation over 3-hour UT intervals we conclude that sudden changes in the solar wind can have a big effect on Kp, even though it is a 3-hour value. Therefore, 3-hour solar wind averages will not always appropriately represent the solar wind condition, and we introduce 3-hour maxima and minima values to some degree address this problem. We find that introducing total field B and 3-hour maxima and minima, derived from 1-minute solar wind data, have a great influence on the performance. Due to the low number of samples for high Kp values there can be considerable variation in predicted Kp for different networks with similar validation errors. We address this issue by using an ensemble of networks from which we use the median predicted Kp. The models (ensemble of networks) provide prediction lead times in the range 20–90 min given by the time it takes a solar wind structure to travel from L1 to Earth. Two models are implemented that can be run with real time data: (1) IRF-Kp-2017-h3 uses the 3-hour averages of the solar wind data and (2) IRF-Kp-2017 uses in addition to the averages, also the minima and maxima values. The IRF-Kp-2017 model has RMS error of 0.55 and linear correlation of 0.92 based on an independent test set with final Kp covering 2 years using ACE Level 2 data. The IRF-Kp-2017-h3 model has RMSE = 0.63 and correlation = 0.89. We also explore the errors when tested on another two-year period with real-time ACE data which gives RMSE = 0.59 for IRF-Kp-2017 and RMSE = 0.73 for IRF-Kp-2017-h3. The errors as function of Kp and for different years are also studied.
Key words: Kp index / forecasting / neural network / verification
© P. Wintoft et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2017
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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