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Frequently Asked Questions

About CCMC

Space Weather Models at CCMC

Runs on Request

Simulation Results / Data Visualization

Metrics

Community Feedback / Website Use


About CCMC

What is the CCMC charter?

The CCMC aims to satisfy the middle- to long-range requirements of space weather-related science and operations. For more details, see the CCMC Concept of Operations document . In that spirit the mission and goal of the CCMC are as follows:

Mission: To enable, support, and perform research for next generation space science and operational space weather models through an interagency partnership.

Goal: Develop and execute next generation research models in support of the advancement of space sciences and deployment of new operational space weather capabilities.

The CCMC was established to enhance basic solar-terrestrial research and to aid in the development of models for specifying and forecasting conditions in the space environment.

The CCMC fills a long-standing gap between the space weather research community and the operational arms of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) which is responsible for providing space weather services to a large customer base. At the present time, both NOAA and DoD have created Rapid Prototyping Centers (RPC's), which serve to implement space weather models at their respective operational centers in Boulder, Colorado and Omaha, Nebraska. The CCMC will assemble, validate, and test space weather models that can eventually be transferred to the RPC's to adapt for operational use.

Is the CCMC a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) organization?

The CCMC is a jointly-funded federal interagency organization. NASA is a major participant in this activity. The CCMC"s central site is located at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

Is the CCMC an international organization?

Although the CCMC is organizationally comprised of United States federal agencies, CCMC services are open to members of the international science community.

Whenever possible, CCMC representatives attend international workshops and conferences to report the status of CCMC activities and describe opportunities for international collaboration. Every effort will be made to maintain active and open collaboration with the international science community in compliance with present and future federal regulations.

What agencies are involved with the CCMC?

The following agencies are involved with the CCMC: the Air Force Directorate of Weather (HQ USAF/XOW), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Environment Center (NOAA/SEC), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

How big is the CCMC?

CCMC staffing levels are set by participating agencies commensurate with CCMC tasking. At the present time, the CCMC facility employs ten individuals, amounting to approximately seven full-time employees.

The CCMC is a multi-agency organization comprised of eight government offices representing four Federal agencies (DoD, NASA, NOAA, NSF). The CCMC is a component of the National Space Weather Program overseen by the CCMC Steering Committee. The day-to-day operations are managed by the CCMC director who is a GSFC civil servant, in conjunction with the CCMC Staff comprised of NASA civil servants, contractors, postdoctoral fellows funded by the participating agencies, and visitors engaged in CCMC activities.

What type of computing systems does the CCMC use?

The CCMC uses Beowulf clusters as well as computational resources at DoD supercomputing centers.

CCMC has four Beowulf systems for model processing. A Beowulf system is a cluster of PC's running under Linux. The four CCMC systems have a total of 198 compute nodes. In addition, there are 8 Sun/Solaris systems, 2 Windows based PC's, and 2 Linux based PC's.

Is the CCMC staff actively pursuing research?

The CCMC staff is performing research tasks for the express purpose of model validation. The CCMC Steering Committee sets CCMC research policies.

Are you hiring?

The CCMC is always interested in hearing from talented individuals who wish to support our mission. For information on available opportunities,

Do you host regular community meetings?

At the present time, the intention is to hold biennial meetings for the purpose of close communications with both researchers and operators. In addition, CCMC may hold meetings addressing other aspects of model transition to operations, or in support of the research community.

How can I find out about upcoming meetings?

Upcoming meetings are advertised in the scientific newsletters, as well as on the CCMC website. Please sign up for the CCMC email list to receive meeting notifications.

Who is supposed to use this website?

The CCMC is open to everyone. CCMC services are targeted toward space weather research and operational communities. At the present time, there are no limitations on their use. The CCMC hopes to add education and public outreach sections to the website in the future to more directly address space weather issues of interest to the general public.


Space Weather Models at CCMC

How does CCMC select the models to be used?

The CCMC does not select models to be used. Models are selected by the Steering Committee using the following guidelines:

The CCMC Steering Committee will review your model submission, taking into account recommendations from the Science and Operations Working Groups, and make the final decision on whether to admit the model to the CCMC.

The Steering Committee is responsible for establishing fair and effective means for selecting models to be implemented at the CCMC. The Steering Committee will actively maintain communications with both the research and operations community, through the Working Groups, to ensure that operational needs are addressed and that research models with potential benefit to operations are brought into the CCMC.

The Steering Committee will review the status of models currently running at the CCMC and assess other models for future implementation every 6 months. Both currently running models and prospective models will be periodically evaluated on a prescribed set of criteria, which may be found in the CCMC Concept of Operations document.

What are the immediate plans for model ingestion at the CCMC?

The CCMC has been directed by the Steering Committee to investigate models of the solar corona and the heliosphere. This process is underway.

Where can I get more information on the models you are running?

References to relevant publications about each model and links to model developer's sites are provided at the Space Weather Models at CCMC link.

Can I download and run the models on my own computer?

CCMC does not distribute the source code without the consent of code developers.


Runs on Request

How long does it take to get results back from a model run request and where will the information be located?

The time a requested run takes depends on the duration of the run, resolution, and on the amount of requests in the system concurrently. For example, a standard two-hour request for the global magnetosphere model may be finished the next day but is unlikely to take more than a week. Please inform us if you need to meet certain deadlines. However, please try not to submit urgent requests less than 2 weeks prior to major scientific meetings or conferences (e.g. AGU).

You will receive e-mail when your run has finished. You will find the results of your run at the "Runs on Request" section of the site. For Global magnetosphere simulations you may also search our database using your run registration number.

Can I download simulation data sets?

If you are interested in downloading simulation data sets in ASCII format you should request this at the "Special Request" field on the last step of the run request submisson process. You may also contact CCMC staff before (or very soon after) submitting the run. Otherwise, the automatic post processing routine deletes the ASCII outputs after converting the results to binary format.

If you are interested in downloading the simulation data sets in binary format you may contact the CCMC staff at any time. We will inform you when you will be able to download the results from the CCMC anonymous ftp site. You may also need to request the reading routine and/or visualization software. Note that for large 3D models the raw data files require a considerable amount of disk space (1-10 GB for one time-step of global magnetosphere simulations, depending on the resolution).

Are the requested runs using the full power of the models?

The requested runs use the latest model version resident at the CCMC. In addition, the CCMC staff entertains special requests for tailored model setups.

What is the policy about using runs on request in a publication?

If results from runs on request are used in a scientific publication or presentation, we request that, at a minimum, the authors acknowledge the CCMC and the originators of the computational model. All users should contact the code developers for the purpose of publication. You may wish to offer co-authorship, or model owners may request co-authorship at their discretion. For more details please view the CCMC Publications Policy.

In addition, for tracking purposes for our government sponsors, we ask that you notify the CCMC whenever you use CCMC results in a scientific publication or presentation.

Are the model runs verified before publication?

Prior to publication, scientific users should contact the model owners for verification purposes. In addition, CCMC staff performs run validations. For this purpose, a validation level scale has been established. Details are available below.

What is the "Run Validation Level?"

    Results are assigned one of four levels, depending on the level of validation.
  • Level 0 (0) - Raw run results
  • Level 1 (1) - Output that passed any output analysis routines provided by the model developers (if such routines are available)
  • Level 2 (2) - Output checked by Code Developers and/or CCMC staff
  • Negative Level (-1) - Problems in output results are found. Simulations will be rerun with new input data and/or a new code version.

Only Level 2 outputs should be used for scientific analysis or metrics studies. All users should contact the code developers for the purpose of publication.


Simulation Results / Data Visualization

Are the CCMC visualization routines based on public domain software?

At the present time, CCMC routines are based either on the commercial product Interactive Data Language (IDL), or IBM OpenDx, which is available in the public domain.

What qualifies something as a "Special Sun-Earth Connection Event?"

A "Special Sun-Earth Connection Event" is usually a big storm or series of storms that attracts the attention of the space science community. Working groups such as Geospace Environment Modeling (GEM) or SHINE sometimes identify Special Sun-Earth connection events. CCMC is running the models residing at CCMC for these events without waiting for requests from individuals. The results are provided for your convenience.

There seems to be a bug in the data or visualization software online, what do I do?

On the CCMC website, use the Community Feedback section. Go to the "Submit Your Question/Comment" link. Once on the "Comments and Questions" page, fill out the form and under Subject, choose "Other" from the pull-down menu. In the Comments and/or Questions block, first type "Bug Report:" and proceed with your report. Please include a brief description of the bug, what you were trying to do when you encountered the bug, and any other pertinent details that may help us track or reproduce the problem. Additional information such as what hardware, software, and operating system you are using would be helpful in tracking down the problem. A CCMC staff member will contact you if more information is needed or once the problem is resolved. You are also invited to contact CCMC staff directly.

I would like a new feature added, what should I do?

On the CCMC website, use the Community Feedback section. Go to the "Submit Your Question/Comment" link. Once on the "Comments and Questions" page fill out the form and under Subject, choose "Other" from the pull-down menu. In the Comments and/or Questions block, first type "Feature Request:" and proceed with your request. A CCMC staff member will contact you if more information is needed or once a feature is added. You are also invited to contact CCMC staff directly.


Metrics

What is a metric and why do we need metrics?

A scientific metric as defined by the National Space Weather Program Implementation Plan has three elements:
  1. An output parameter from the model such as the electric field in the ionosphere,
  2. A satellite or ground-based measurement that can be used for comparison, and
  3. A quantifiable criterion that can measure the difference between the parameter from the model and the measurement.

It is important that there is an objective measure of the capabilities of scientific models so that the scientific and operational community will have confidence in the results of the model. Metrics also provide one measure of the long-term performance of the scientific model. Model developers can use the results of this testing to better understand the strength and limitations of the model as well as for the purpose of improving their models.

A single metric may be too simplistic and miss many features that the model correctly simulated. What additional testing are you planning?

We plan to do several metrics for each particular regime but metrics provide only one part of our overall validation testing. For this purpose, we maintain close collaborations with both science and operational communities. In addition to metrics, staff members at CCMC are required to also perform scientific validation studies. The community, through the use of runs-on-request provides additional testing.

How does CCMC pick the metric?

CCMC uses the National Space Weather Program Implementation Plan as a guideline for metrics. In addition, CCMC develops new metrics in cooperation with the scientific and operational community.


Community Feedback/Website Use

What is the best way to get feedback to the CCMC staff?

The best way to get feedback to the CCMC staff is to use the Community Feedback section of the CCMC website.

Go to the "Submit Your Question/Comment" link. This will take you to a Comments and Questions page. Fill in the requested information and submit. The submissions are e-mailed to the CCMC staff and are routed to the appropriate person(s) for action. If your submission is a question and not a comment, we will follow-up with e-mail and additional communications if necessary. You may also directly contact any CCMC staff member.

I've got a great question for this FAQ, where do I send it?

Please use the CCMC website to submit FAQ's. Go to the Community Feedback section of the website. Fill out the form and under Subject, choose "Other" from the pull-down menu. In the Comments and/or Questions block, first type "FAQ:" and proceed with the question.

There seems to be a bug in the data or visualization software online, what do I do?

On the CCMC website, use the Community Feedback section. Go to the "Submit Your Question/Comment" link. Once on the "Comments and Questions" page, fill out the form and under Subject, choose "Other" from the pull-down menu. In the Comments and/or Questions block, first type "Bug Report:" and proceed with your report. Please include a brief description of the bug, what you were trying to do when you encountered the bug, and any other pertinent details that may help us track or reproduce the problem. Additional information such as what hardware, software, and operating system you are using would be helpful in tracking down the problem. A CCMC staff member will contact you if more information is needed or once the problem is resolved. You are also invited to contact CCMC staff directly.

I would like a new feature added, what should I do?

On the CCMC website, use the Community Feedback section. Go to the "Submit Your Question/Comment" link. Once on the "Comments and Questions" page fill out the form and under Subject, choose "Other" from the pull-down menu. In the Comments and/or Questions block, first type "Feature Request:" and proceed with your request. A CCMC staff member will contact you if more information is needed or once a feature is added. You are also invited to contact CCMC staff directly.