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cd03 Challenges of predicting thermospheric variability for satellite operations and the role of geospace indices

Conveners: Guram Kervalishvili (GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences) and Eelco Doornbos (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute)

This session invites contributions of data-driven and model-based developments and applications that support predicting thermospheric variability for satellites operating in low Earth orbit (LEO). Most accurate knowledge of the thermosphere is crucial for the satellite track and orbit determination. Also, satellite launch and re-entry operations require precise knowledge of the small-scale and local fluctuations in density and wind. Current models of the thermospheric density and wind applied for LEO satellite operations mainly use solar and geomagnetic indices (nowcasts and forecasts) as a representation of the impacts of space weather. Due to the increasing number of spacecraft, new initiatives are warrant to increase the accuracy of satellite orbit and re-entry predictions. One example is the Space Weather Atmosphere Models and Indices (SWAMI) project that is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. The SWAMI project aims to develop a new whole atmosphere model MOWA (MOdel of the Whole Atmosphere), being a blend of the Unified Model (UM) and Drag Temperature Model (DTM), and which will use improved geomagnetic Kp-like indices with high-cadences of 1 hour. These new operational nowcast and forecast indices are also developed and evaluated within the SWAMI project.

We welcome presentations on atmospheric model developments based, e.g., on first principles, semi-empirical approach, etc., which support predicting thermospheric variability. Contributions on development and production of solar, geomagnetic and ionospheric indices and their use in model development, data assimilation, validation and verification are also welcome.