The Sun is a dynamic and evolving object lying at the heart of our Solar System, and can release huge quantities of mass and radiation into interplanetary space in violent eruptions. When these arrive at the Earth there are significant impacts on technology and human health. SERENE has developed a novel mathematical model to enable an unprecedented level of forecasting capability, the Advanced Ensemble electron density (Ne) Assimilation System (AENeAS).

AENeAS is a 4D data assimilation model which uses a first-principles physics model as its background and is combined with ground and satellite observations which are distributed all over world. This combination is controlled by an ensemble Kalman Filter (specifically the local ensemble transform Kalman filter [LETKF]).

AENeAS model output can be used to address questions from both science and engineering.

Currently the model is being used to investigate to what extent Joule heating and radiative cooling of the
thermosphere affects orbiting satellites. Addressing engineering challenges, AENeAS is used to model and forecast ionospheric and thermospheric densities to determine GNSS and HF performance for aviation applications and better predict satellite orbits, to reduce the likeliness of satellite collisions.

The model is the centre piece of two NERC-funded Space Weather Instrumentation, Measurement, Modelling and Risk (SWIMMR) grants which will result with the model being operational at the UK Met Office. Bridging a capability-gap in our ability to create accurate and actionable space weather forecasts.

Using the Local Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter for Upper Atmospheric Modelling

For more (technical) details about AENeAS click the above link to view the open access journal article from the Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate.