Space weather is a modern field of space research, focused on the solar activity and its impact upon the near-Earth environment, spacecraft hardware, and humans. It includes investigation and prediction of solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CME), sunspots, magnetic storms, particle precipitation into the Earth atmosphere, and associated ionospheric phenomena. The flow of plasma from the Sun, known as the solar wind, is the principal factor determining the space weather in our planetary system. This is why it is very important to know in advance its principal characteristics: particle density, bulk velocity, the strength and direction of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF). The NASA Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite (operating since 1997) and the recently (2015) launched Deep Space Climate Ovservatory (DSCOVR) mission reside at the L1 libration point (1,500,000 km sunward from Earth) and provide continuous flow of information about the solar wind state nearly one hour in advance. Their real-time data are provided online by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC).
The orientation of the IMF vector is a crucial factor that determines the state of the near-Earth space environment. Southward IMF (Bz<0 in GSM coordinates) combined with a high-speed solar wind result in magnetic storms, which may damage the spacecraft equipment, affect the navigation systems, aircraft and satellite operation. It also results in the so-called "geomagnetically induced electric currents" (GIC) in the ground infrastructures, such as pipelines and electric power grids. For example, on September 1-2, 1859, one of the largest recorded geomagnetic storms caused the failure of the telegraph systems all over Europe and North America. The intensity of geomagnetic storms is quantified by the Dst index, derived from the disturbance of the horizontal H-component of the magnetic field at low and middle latitudes. A rapid decrease of the Dst to low negative values (Dst<-50 nT) manifests the development of a storm. Anyone interested in the current state of space weather can check it at the real-time Dst trend on the webpage of the World Data Center for Geomagnetism (Kyoto).
Here is a very interesting and helpful resource SpaceWeather.com for everyone with even a modest background in space physics. The site provides real-time space weather conditions such as the solar wind parameters, sunspot numbers, solar flares, solar images from SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) instruments and NOAA 24 and 48 hour forecasts of the flare and geomagnetic storm probabilities. Besides the space environment data, the website offers up-to-date news on spacecraft scientific missions, breathtaking pictures of auroral displays, stunning atmospheric optical phenomena, noctilucent clouds, and much more interesting information.
In geophysics and space physics, individual phenomena or objects can be most conveniently described in different coordinate systems that take into account their specific properties in the most natural and simplest way. For example, the main geomagnetic field is rigidly tied to rotating Earth and, hence, can be best described in geocentric geographic (GEO) or dipole magnetic (MAG) coordinates. There exist several coordinate systems most often used in studies of the geomagnetic field and Sun-Earth connections; their detailed overview can be found in papers by Russell [Cosmic Electrodyn., v.2, pp. 184-196, 1971], Hapgood [Planet. Space Sci., v.40(5), pp. 711-717, 1992; Ann. Geophys., v.13, pp. 713-716, 1995].
This website offers a set of FORTRAN subroutines for transformations between various geophysical coordinate systems. The most recent revised and extended version (update of Jan.31, 2015) of the package GEOPACK-2008 is now available. IGRF-12 model coefficients are currently in use, extending the time span of the main field model through 2020.
The package includes 20 subroutines for evaluating field vectors, tracing field
lines, transformations between various coordinate systems, and locating the magnetopause position. A new feature,
not available in previous releases, is the possibility to take into account the observed direction of the solar wind,
which not only aberrates by ~4 degrees from the strictly radial Sun-Earth line, but also often significantly
fluctuates around that average direction.
Full documentation file: (Word, 180 KB)
Double-precision version: (GEOPACK-2008_dp)
ATTENTION: see ERRATA for recent corrections/updates (last correction of Geopack-2008 made on November 30, 2010)
Two examples of a typical FORTRAN program, using the GEOPACK-2008 routines for the field line tracing
Licensing information: All programs/codes presented on this site is free software: you can download,
redistribute and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General
Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License,
or any later version.
A copy of the GNU General Public License can also be found at
GNU website .
The data-based approach to the modeling of the geomagnetosphere has been developed over the last 3 decades, starting with the pioneering work by Mead and Fairfield . Subsequent efforts [Tsyganenko and Usmanov, 1982; Tsyganenko, 1987, 1989, 1996, 2002, 2003, Tsyganenko and Sitnov, 2005] resulted in more refined models, used since then in many studies. The principal goal of the data-based magnetosphere modeling is to extract full information from large sets of available data , bridge the gap between theory and observations, and help answer a fundamental question:
"What is the actual structure of the geospace magnetic field and how is it related to changing interplanetary conditions and the ground disturbance level?"
Dynamical data-based modeling of the storm-time geomagnetic field with enhanced
spatial resolution (abstract)
(Published in JGR-A, July 30, 2008) (PDF ~21.0MB).
Note: The two papers cited above present main ideas and first results obtained using a new approach to the data-based modeling. Its essence boils down to (1) employing extensible high-resolution expansions for the field of equatorial currents and (2) a special data mining technique based on a "nearest-neighbor" search in the parameter space. More details on the advanced modeling methods and results can be found on a webpage, maintained by Mikhail Sitnov (JHU/APL).
Magnetic field and electric currents in the vicinity of polar cusps
as inferred from Polar and Cluster data (abstract)
(Published in Annales Geophysicae, April 2, 2009) (PDF ~3.0MB).
On the reconstruction of magnetospheric plasma pressure distributions
from empirical geomagnetic field models (abstract)
(Published in JGR-A, July 15, 2010) (Full article, PDF ~1.2MB).
Data-based modeling of our dynamic magnetosphere (abstract)
(An invited review, published in Annales Geophysicae, October 21, 2013) (Full article, PDF ~10MB).
On the bowl-shaped deformation of planetary equatorial current sheets (abstract)
(Published in Geophysical Research Letters, February 4, 2014)
Internally and externally induced deformations of the
magnetospheric equatorial current as inferred from spacecraft data
(abstract, Fortran source code for the equatorial current sheet model)
(Published in Annales Geophysicae, January 6, 2015) (PDF ~11MB).
A new forecasting model (TA15) of the magnetosphere, driven by optimal solar-wind coupling functions (abstract)
(JGRA, October 7, 2015)
(A concise description of the model, pdf~1.5MB)
(Fortran source codes and yearly input parameter files for 1995-2015)
An empirical RBF model of the magnetosphere parameterized by interplanetary and
ground-based drivers (abstract)
(JGRA, published 5 November 2016)
(Fortran source code, yearly input parameter files for 1995-2016, & data format)
Department of Earth's Physics, University of St.-Petersburg, Petrodvoretz, St.-Petersburg 198504, Russian Federation
Most recent update:
August 15, 2017: A new paper link added ("A hybrid approach to empirical magnetosphere modeling...")
October 25, 2016: a new paper link added ("An empirical RBF model of the magnetosphere ...")
April 20, 2016: update of the equatorial neutral sheet model subroutine (2015)
March 9, 2016: a new paper (RBF) link added.
October 12, 2015: a new TA15 model link added.
March 23, 2015: update of TS05 model parameters for 2014, due to NSSDC revision of 2014 OMNI data.
Jan 31, 2015: IGRF-12 coefficients included in Geopack-2008.
Nov 12, 2014: a refurbished version of T89 source code added.
Nov 04, 2014: TS05 model parameters through Sep 30, 2014, updated/added.
Nov 21, 2013: TS05 model parameters through Sep 28, 2013, updated/added.
March 11, 2011: a SAVE statement was added in the source code of the T96 model, to avoid run-time problems with some Fortran compilers.
Dec 8, 2010: TS05 model parameters for Jan 1 - Nov 7, 2010 added;
December 1, 2010: Earth's main field model extended by adding IGRF-11 coefficients in the Geopack-2008 s/w;
March 13, 2010: licensing info added; February 25, 2010; June 11, 2009; March 3, 2009; April 21 and July 31, 2008.