FLARECAST

Flare Likelihood And Region Eruption foreCASTing

THE FULLY AUTOMATED SOLAR FLARE FORECASTING SYSTEM

A Horizon2020 PROTEC (Protection of our Assets in Space) Research and Innovation Action

THE SUN NOW: SAMPLE NEAR-REALTIME DATA FROM THE SDO AND GOES SATELLITES

Sonne X-ray flux showing flaring activity

Sonne White light

Sonne Magnetogram

Sonne Magnetogram and Extreme UV

THE SOLAR FLARE THREAT

A solar flare is a flash of brightness on the surface of the sun. During a flare a huge amount of energy (up to a billion hydrogen bombs) is released, heating the solar plasma, accelerating particles and propagating into space. Big flares and other manifestations of eruptive solar activity are the main drivers of space weather near the Earth. – After 8 minutes, a flare may cause radio blackouts. – After 20 minutes, a flare may cause a solar radiation storm. – After 2-4 days, a flare, followed by a coronal mass ejection, may cause a geomagnetic storm. Solar flares can affect satellite operations, aviation and communication technologies.

WHAT IS FLARECAST ABOUT?

Until recently, solar activity wasn’t considered a notable threat for our planet. Since the end of the 20th century, however, we have become more vulnerable due to space-relying technologies our society depends on. Should a very strong solar storm hit the Earth, it may not only cause damage to space-based technology but also to communication systems, transportation networks, pipelines, and power grids on the ground. Reliable space weather predictions are vital for taking mitigation measures in time.

The FLARECAST consortium developed an automated forecasting system for solar flares. The team integrated virtually every solar flare-predicting parameter into an open online application programming interface, flexible enough to facilitate future expansion. We identified the best performers by employing a variety of statistical and machine learning techinques, including standard methods such as Linear Discriminant Analysis, Clustering and Regression Analysis, Neural Networks, as well as innovative approches including Multi-Task Lasso, Simulated Annealing and Random Forest. A robust exploration work package identified promising new predictors and connected flare prediction to other manifestations of solar eruptive activity such as coronal mass ejections.

FLARECAST BENEFIT

SCIENCE

With FLARECAST, heliophysicists and space weather forecasters throughout the globe can couple their preferred flare predictors to an array of flare-prediction algorithms, advancing their own research. They can also validate their results on a voluminous archive of SDO/HMI solar active regions magnetogram data. More

GOV & INDUSTRY

Institutions such as aviation industries, satellite operators and insurance companies or government agencies concerned with risk management related to solar flares can inquire with the Consortium for clarifications on our results in order to enhance their own risk assessment and mitigation strategies. More

PUBLIC

Amateur space weather forecasters can integrate the online flare prediction service into their own prediction systems. For the wider public, our outreach programme offers opportunities to meet FLARECAST scientists, participate in the observation of the sun both online and outdoors and gain insight about how space weather forecasting is being carried out in Europe. More

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ON THE NEXT FLARE PREDICTION USER INTERFACE?

HOW FLARECAST WORKS

A custom visual outcome oriented both towards the average and the scientifically inclined user, served by a robust administration management.

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FLARECAST WORK PACKAGES

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THE CONSORTIUM

THE FLARECAST TEAM

The backbone of the FLARECAST concept was the fusion of diverse expertise at the service of an optimal solar-flare prediction. Besides employing European expertise in solar physics, the consortium comprised experts in machine learning and artificial intelligence, big data handling, software engineering and programming, as well as hardware technicians and maintainers.

A distinct but equally important component of the FLARECAST project was dissemination, education and public engagement.  The public outreach programme, led by an outreach professional, engaged the public in observation activities, citizen science projects or space weather forecasting using near-realtime data. Dissemination to stakeholders from industry & government relied on the expertise of the UK national forecasting agency, the MET Office.

FLARECAST FACES AND VOICES (20 out of 28)

CONSORTIUM MEMBERS

AA
Academy of Athens, Greece
Coordinator, flare predictors, explorative research
 Email
NU
Northumbria University, United Kingdom
Project scientist, flare predictors, validation
 Email
TCD
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Flare predictors, validation, explorative research
 Email
UNIGE
Universita Degli Studi Di Genova, Italy
Algorithms, infrastructure
 Email
CNR
Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Italy
Algorithms
 Email
CNRS
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France
Explorative research
 Email
PSUD
Université Paris-Sud, France
Infrastructure
 Email
FHNW
Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Switzerland
Infrastructure, validation, public engagement
 Email
MO
Met Office, United Kingdom
Validation, dissemination
 Email

FLARECAST on Twitter

MORE EUROPEAN SPACE WEATHER PROJECTS

PROGRESS – Prediction of Geospace Radiation Environment and Solar Wind Parameters HESPERIA – High Energy Solar Particle Events foRecastIng and Analysis HELCATS – The Science of Tracking Solar Storms F-Chroma – Flare Chromospheres: Observations, Models and Archives

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