Institutions and Partners

The Center for Space Weather Modeling consists of research groups at eight universities and several government and private non-profit research organizations and commercial firms. The Center’s mandate is to construct a comprehensive physics-based numerical simulation model that describes the space environment from the sun to the earth.

Scientists at each of the member institutions have specific expertise and skills needed to realize these objectives. CISM provides the means of bringing the various teams together so that they can work cooperatively to achieve the Center's common goal.

CISM Member Institutions

Boston University is home to one of the larger groups of space physicists in academia and has expertise in solar wind, magnetospheric, and upper atmosphere physics, both observational and theoretical. It also has powerful computer resources and a strong program in computational science. BU will manage the overall CISM program. It also will lead the model visualization effort and coordinate two specific research tasks: the effort to couple together the models of the different regions of space weather activity; and the task of independently verifying the models, testing them against observations until they really do reproduce what actually happens in nature. BU also will play a major role in CISM’s education efforts. It will host an annual graduate summer school, hold teacher workshops, provide opportunities for undergraduate research, and evaluate the education programs.

Alabama A&M University has the only undergraduate program at a traditionally black school that includes a specialization in space science. It has recently added a space science concentration to the Masters degree program in physics. Alabama will integrate research and education efforts among students and will assist in model validation and solar modeling.

Dartmouth College brings expertise in global magnetospheric modeling, in modeling the Van Allen radiation belts that encircle the earth—where million-electron volt particles build up when there are solar storms—and in the physics that governs the aurora and the coupling of the magnetosphere and ionosphere. Dartmouth will lead the magnetosphere modeling effort, and its models will form the core of the magnetospheric component of CISM’s comprehensive model.

Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne brings strong expertise in promoting diversity in space science, in science education and curriculum development at all levels, as well as experience in using simulation models to gain understanding of the magnetosphere and validating those models through comparison with observations. Fl Tech will lead the CISM diversity effort, providing diversity program support for all CISM institutions, and will also play an important role in the CISM education program, providing opportunities for undergraduate research and support for the CISM-wide graduate education program. Fl Tech also will play a significant role in testing and validating models.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is a leader in the development of models of the atmosphere. In particular, NCAR has extensive experience in developing global models of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. NCAR will lead the ionosphere modeling effort. Using its High Altitude Observatory, NCAR will develop high-resolution models of the thermosphere-ionosphere system and will collaborate in coupling those models to models of the magnetosphere and changes in solar ultraviolet and X-ray emissions. NCAR also will play a significant role in CISM’s outreach and education programs.

Rice University has great expertise in modeling the dynamics of the hot plasma that is part of the middle magnetosphere, a phenomenon that needs to be included in any model of the full magnetosphere. And with the Rice Space Institute, Rice University also brings considerable experience in developing successful multimedia materials for public education efforts and outreach. As part of CISM, the Institute will develop multimedia materials that can be used in school classrooms as well as in museums and planetariums.

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) brings expertise in modeling the solar corona. The SAIC corona model will form the basis of the solar component of CISM’s comprehensive model. SAIC will focus on developing self-consistent magnetohydro-dynamic models that can incorporate remote observations for predicting properties of the solar corona and solar wind. SAIC also will study the complex physics of eruptive solar phenomena such as coronal ejections and solar flares.

Stanford University, which runs the Wilcox Solar Observatory, will serve as CISM’s chief interface with the solar observations community. Stanford will obtain the best solar input data, refine its own corona and solar wind models, and investigate how small-scale field changes in the sun’s photosphere ultimately lead to the huge coronal mass ejections that drive major geomagnetic storms. Stanford also plays a major role in education and public outreach efforts having to do with the sun and solar wind, working with educators to sponsor work-shops on space weather. It also hosts interns interested in the subject and works with local schools, science centers, and curriculum developers to increase awareness of the importance of space weather.

University of California, Berkeley, brings considerable expertise in the physics that controls the production of solar energetic particles, one of the more damaging agents of space weather, and also in solar and solar wind physics, including the modeling of solar active regions that give rise to flares and coronal mass ejections. Berkeley also participates in several NASA solar missions, in particular STEREO, HESSI, and WIND, and thereby provides a link between making observations and constructing models. Berkeley will lead CISM’s sun/solar wind modeling effort, and researchers at the Space Sciences Lab at Berkeley will develop models of the boundary conditions at the sun to test proposed causes of coronal eruptions.

University of Colorado, Boulder, through its Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), has a very close working relationship with NOAA’s Space Environment Center and also with many leading aerospace companies, including Ball Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, and Orbital Sciences. Because of these strong links with users of space weather research, Colorado will lead CISM’s knowledge transfer effort. Also, scientists at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (CIRES), a joint CU/NOAA institute, have developed a magnetohydrodynamic model of the solar wind that CISM will incorporate into its comprehensive model.

The University of Maryland develops the InterComm framework and brings related expertise to CISM model coupling. InterComm coordinates control and provides data transfer between independently executing, coupled modules of CISM models, running in a distributed computing environment.


NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC): NOAA/SWPC has an active research program, but is also the agency charged with providing space weather forecasts to the civilian community. It has an active space monitoring system that employs both spacecraft and ground-based sensors to gather the data it uses to make its forecasts. NOAA/SWPC will be a client and also a partner within CISM. It will advise and assist in research and model-testing and also in the creation of useful operational forecast tools from the model CISM develops, tools that NOAA/SWPC will then use in producing its forecasts. CISM views SWPC as its principal client or customer for space weather forecast models. Liaison between SWPC and CISM is facilitated through the CISM knowledge transfer team, and in particular through a CISM staff member whose principal task is understanding SWPC's most pressing needs, communicating them to the CISM community, and working with CISM and SWPC scientists (in particular Howard Singer and Terry Onsager) towards solutions to these needs.

National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the National Computational Science Alliance (both NCSA): NCSA is one of two NSF-funded supercomputer partnerships that support the supercomputing needs of the research community. NCSA has agreed to work with CISM to both provide computing resources that CISM needs and to work with CISM to provide community access to CISM numerical models. CISM is one of the ten projects in the NCSA Platinum User Program, which provides extraordinary service to selected research groups responsible for the most significant breakthroughs computational science and engineering. NCSA director Daniel Reed has assigned NCSA staff member Bruce Loftis as the NCSA Liaison with CISM. He works closely with Charles Goodrich.

Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC): The mission of CCMC is to provide space physics researchers with access to models, to provide an independent evaluation of space physics models both for research purposes and as potential forecast tools, and to facilitate the selection and ultimate transition of research models into operational forecast models. CCMC is funded jointly by various Air Force agencies, NASA, and NSF, and based at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. CCMC and CISM partner in order to provide community access to numerical models developed by CISM and to provide CCMC feedback to the model developers.

Naval Research Laboratories: The solar research group at NRL headed by Spiro Anitochos is developing MHD models of solar active regions in order to understand how CME's are initiated. In a partnership with CISM, he hosts a CISM post-doc (funded through UC Berkeley) to work in his group with the ultimate goal of incorporating these models in the comprehensive CISM model.

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL): AFRL has a broad interest in the space environment and its effects on satellite and communications systems. Dr. Nick Arge of AFRL is supporting CISM's use of the Wang-Sheeley-Arge (WSA) model of the solar wind, driven by solar photospheric maps. In addition to its use in CISM research, the WSA model serves as the baseline for calculation of several CISM skill scores.

The Exploratorium of San Francisco: The Exploratorium is the leading science museum in the San Francisco Bay area. They have agreed to help CISM make the results of CISM research available to the public in the form of simulations, animations, and interpreted data via their museum displays and on-line programs. They provide in-kind support.

Daniel Baker and the Knowledge Transfer team are developing contacts with various potential industrial partners including Ball Aerospace (Dr Dan Moorer), Metatech (Dr John Kappenman), and Boeing Corporation.

In addition to these established partnerships, CISM researchers have many informal collaborations with research scientists at other government labs, research centers and universities.

Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling // 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
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